How to Prepare for a Job Interview

How to Prepare for a Job Interview
JobStreet content teamupdated on 20 November, 2023

Preparing for a job interview is crucial for success in today's competitive job search market. It will raise your confidence and boost your chances of making a strong impression. It will also help you stand out from the rest of the competition. And during the interview, you will have better control over your performance. This includes the way you carry yourself, the way you answer questions, and the way you connect with your interviewer. 

Remember, knowledge is power and practice makes perfect. Here are two examples, for starters. Knowledge refers to learning more about the company and the job description. Practice which pertains to rehearsing common and tough interview questions. Suitable attire can, likewise, make or break your job interview. There’s a lot more, and they’re all in this competitive guide. 

This article contains the most important interview preparation tips and advice. It will help you prepare for your interview in the most effective manner. Our tips will also give you the advantage you need to impress your potential employer. And your chances of getting hired will surely increase. Now, let’s start getting you ready for that interview! 

Researching the company

an employee conducting research on their laptop

Before heading into an interview, it's crucial to research the company you're applying to. Go to the company website. Learn about their mission, vision, values, and goals. Get to know their products and services. Look up recent news about them or things they’ve done well. All these can help you understand the company better. 

While researching, pay attention to the company’s culture and work environment. Look for any information that can help you gauge whether you would be a good fit within their team. Studying the company will give you helpful knowledge.

Researching the company allows you to tailor your questions and answers to their goals and values. Demonstrating your knowledge about them can show your genuine interest in the role and impress the interviewer. This is part of how to prepare for a job interview. 

Understanding the job description

To prepare for a job interview, it is essential to understand the job description. Take the time to analyse the requirements, responsibilities, and qualifications listed. Identify the key skills and attributes the employer is seeking.

Knowing the job description helps you match your answers to the job's needs. It lets you show how your past work and skills fit the current job well. This way, you can show the interviewer you're a good match for the job.

Look for any specific keywords or phrases mentioned in the job description. These keywords are often used by hiring managers to screen candidates. Incorporate them into your responses during the interview to show that you meet their criteria.

Knowing the job description helps you show off your skills. This can improve your shot at getting the job you’re vying for. 

Reviewing your resume and cover letter

The resume and the cover letter are both important tools for you to show your best skills and credentials. They help your prospective employer form their first impression of you. Thus, it's essential to review your resume and cover letter as part of preparing for an interview.

As you review your resume, re-familiarise yourself with all the details. The interviewer will likely ask you to expound on the experiences and achievements listed on your resume.

Get ready to talk about what you did in your past jobs. Think about any major projects you participated in and what you did in them. What skills did you use or learn from these? Also, think about your big wins - things you did that had good results. 

Being ready to discuss these points shows you know your skills and what you've achieved. It will also help the interviewer see why you're good for this job. For more tips, here’s how you can write a good resume that will win you those interviews.

Your cover letter, on the other hand, has likely shown the prospective employer just why you're interested in this particular role and company. As you review it, focus on your motivations and commitment. Use your cover letter points as evidence to prove you're the best fit for this job during the interview.

Practising common interview questions

Practising the usual questions lets you make your interview answers better. It also helps you get used to speaking about your skills and past work. Practise answering them out loud or with a trusted friend or family. Research and compile a list of frequently asked questions.

Some common interview questions you may encounter include:

  • "Tell me about yourself."
  • "Why are you interested in this position?"
  • "What are your strengths and weaknesses?"
  • "Describe a challenging situation you faced and how you resolved it."
  • "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

When you prepare for common interview questions, you can plan quick and clear answers. This way, you can show why you're right for the job. 

Preparing for behavioural interview questions

Besides common interview questions, many employers use behavioural questions to assess a candidate's past behaviour and predict future performance. This is another part of how to prepare for interview questions and answers.

Through these questions, the interviewer can have an idea of how you acted in your past job. They can also have an idea of how you will act in the future. When you give real examples of your past actions, the employer can find out how you solved problems, how you worked in a team, and how you adapted to changes. 

To get ready to answer behavioural interview questions, use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your responses. You can prove your skills and qualities to potential employers by preparing specific examples.

Dressing for success

men dressing smartly for their job interview

First impressions matter, and your choice of attire plays a significant role in how you are perceived during a job interview. This is a critical aspect of how to prepare for a job interview. Wearing smart clothes shows that you take your job interview seriously. It can make a great first impression right from the start!

Consider the company's culture and dress code when deciding what to wear. Opt for a business suit in more formal industries like finance or law. In creative or casual environments, a smart-casual outfit may be more appropriate.

Avoid wearing excessive jewellery or strong fragrances, as they can be distracting. Dressing for a job interview allows you to project confidence and professionalism. Take note of your body language, too.

Arriving early and being prepared

Punctuality is crucial when it comes to job interviews. Arriving late is one of the red flags employers will look out for during the recruitment and hiring process. Aim to arrive 10-15 minutes early to allow time for any unexpected delays.

Use this time to compose yourself, review your notes, and gather your thoughts. Arriving early and being well-prepared sets the tone for a positive interview experience.

Before you go to your interview, have some extra copies of your resume in line with what to take to a job interview. Include a list of people who can vouch for you, known as references.

If you have any papers or documents that show you can do the job, have these prepared in case the interviewer wants to see them. Bring a notepad and pen to jot down important information or questions.

Being prepared reflects your discipline, foresight, and attention to detail.

Understanding the interview process

One of the most important interview preparation tips is to familiarise yourself with the interview process to feel more at ease during each stage. This is a significant part of how to prepare for an informational interview.

Interviews may include multiple rounds, such as phone screenings, panel interviews, behavioural assessments, and even a meeting to discuss salary expectations. Understanding the interview process helps you mentally prepare for each step and adjust your strategies accordingly.

During the initial stages, focus on showcasing your qualifications and suitability for the role. In later rounds, highlight your compatibility with the company's culture and values.

Tailor your responses to the specific interview format and stage. Understanding the interview process allows you to anticipate what to expect and present yourself effectively.

Researching the hiring manager

In the process of getting ready for an interview, pay attention to the importance of researching the interviewer. Knowing who will be conducting the interview can help you establish a connection and tailor your responses. Researching the interviewer demonstrates your proactive approach and genuine interest in the opportunity.

Look for the interviewer's professional background, their role within the company, and any shared interests or connections. Professional networking platforms can be valuable resources for this information.

Use the gathered insights to find common ground or ask relevant questions during the interview. Researching the interviewer allows you to build rapport and stand out as the ideal candidate.

Following up after the interview

shaking hands after a job interview

Following up after an interview is a courteous and proactive step that can leave a positive impression on the interviewer. Send a personalised thank you note or letter within 24 to 48 hours expressing your appreciation for the opportunity to interview. Following up after the interview shows your gratitude and reiterates your interest in the position.

In your follow-up communication with the hiring manager, briefly highlight key points discussed during the interview and reaffirm your qualifications and enthusiasm for the role. Keep the tone professional and your style concise.

Following up after the interview conveys your professionalism. It also shows your interest in the job and your attention to detail.

Dealing with nerves and anxiety

Part of getting ready for an interview involves dealing with nerves and anxiety. However, managing these emotions is important to perform at your best.

Take deep breaths, practice relaxation techniques, and maintain a positive mindset. If you can deal with nerves and anxiety, you can present yourself confidently. You can also convey your qualifications in an effective way.

Prepare well in advance, practise mock interviews, and visualise your success. Remind yourself of your skills, experiences, and achievements. Remember that the interviewer is interested in getting to know you better, so be authentic and let your true self shine through.

Dealing with nerves and anxiety empowers you to showcase your abilities with clarity and composure.

Handling difficult interview questions

Difficult interview questions may catch you off guard, but you can navigate them successfully with the right approach. Difficult questions are designed to assess your critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and how you handle pressure. Handling difficult interview questions demonstrates your ability to think on your feet and adapt to challenging situations.

When faced with a difficult question, take a moment to gather your thoughts. Ask for clarifications if needed, and provide a structured response. Focus on highlighting your relevant skills and experiences and how you overcame similar challenges in the past. Handling difficult interview questions showcases your resilience and ability to handle tough situations.

Showcasing your skills and experience

During the interview, it's crucial to effectively showcase your skills and experiences. Highlight relevant achievements, projects, or tasks that demonstrate your capabilities. Emphasising in-demand skills like management and communication allows the hiring manager to see how you can contribute to their organisation. This process is part of how to prepare for interview questions. 

If you don't have direct experience in a particular area, focus on spotlighting your transferable skills or provide examples from previous jobs or other situations where you demonstrated similar abilities.

Be confident in expressing your potential and willingness to learn and grow. Showcasing your skills and experience highlights your unique qualifications and leaves a lasting impression.


In conclusion, getting ready for an interview is a crucial step towards securing the career opportunity you desire. It demands careful planning, attention to detail, and a proactive approach.

By following these common job interview questions and preparation tips, you can navigate the interview process and increase your chances of success. Remember to prep interview questions, arrive early and be prepared.

Also, don't forget to research the company thoroughly, align your skills with the job description, and practice answering both common and behavioural questions. Arriving early and being well-prepared showcases professionalism and sets a positive tone for the interview.

Furthermore, understanding the interview process allows you to tailor your responses effectively to each stage.

Learning how to prepare yourself for an interview can be a transformative journey, unlocking your true potential and presenting you as a stand-out candidate in the eyes of potential employers.

Still mulling over “how to prepare myself for an interview?” To assist you further, delve into these must-read job interview tips to land your dream job.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

  1. What should I wear to a job interview?
    Dress in a professional manner that aligns with the company's dress code or industry standards. Research the company culture to understand its dress code.

    ⁠When in doubt, it's always safer to overdress than to underdress. A polished appearance shows respect for the hiring manager and the company and boosts your confidence. If you're doing a video interview at home, make sure you dress professionally, too. You'll be safe if you're doing a phone interview!
  2. How early should I arrive for a job interview?
    Ideally, aim to arrive 10-15 minutes early. This gives you time to gather your thoughts, calm your nerves, and get familiar with the location. Arriving too early can potentially inconvenience the interviewer, and arriving late can create a negative first impression.

    ⁠If you're having an online interview, log on a few minutes early to make sure your technology is working properly.
  3. What should I bring to a job interview?
    When considering what to take to a job interview, it’s important to bring a copy of your resume, a list of references, and any other documents such as certificates, portfolios, or transcripts that support your application. Always bring a notepad and pen for taking notes.
  4. How do I follow up after a job interview?
    Send a follow-up email within 24 hours after the interview to express your gratitude for the opportunity and reinforce your interest in the role. Restate how your skills and experiences align with the job requirements.

    ⁠If you discussed any personal connections or shared interests during the interview, it's a good idea to mention those as a reminder of your conversation.
  5. What are some common interview questions?
    Some common interview questions include: "Why do you want to work for us?", "In what kind of work culture do you do your best work?", "How do you handle stress in your previous job?" and "What motivates you?".

    ⁠These questions test your self-awareness, your career aspirations, and your interest in the role and company.
  6. How do I handle difficult interview questions?
    Stay calm and take a moment to think before answering. It's better to pause and collect your thoughts than to rush into a poor answer.

    ⁠If you are unable to come up with an answer, be honest about it, but try to redirect the conversation towards your strengths or areas you are knowledgeable in. Employers appreciate honesty and the ability to handle pressure.
  7. How do I manage nerves and anxiety during a job interview?
    Thorough preparation is key to managing nerves. You can do this by knowing your resume inside and out, learning about the company, and rehearsing answers to common questions. This helps you feel more in control and less nervous.

    ⁠As an extra preparation tip, give yourself lots of time to get ready and reach the place on the interview day. This way, you won't be rushed and will feel calmer.
  8. What if I don't have experience in a certain area?
    If you lack experience in a certain area, focus on the transferable skills you have or experiences in your personal life that can be applied to the role. Discuss your ability to learn quickly and your willingness to undertake training or further study.

    ⁠Provide examples from your past where you've faced a steep learning curve and succeeded.
  9. What if I don't know the answer to a question during the interview?
    If you don't know the answer to a question, be honest and upfront about it. However, show your problem-solving skills by discussing how you would find the answer. This shows initiative and a willingness to learn, valuable qualities in any employee.
  10. How do I research the company and interviewer?
    Start your interview prep by going to the company website. Look at their latest work or projects. Check out their social media for more insights. This helps you understand what the company does and what they value.

    ⁠To learn about the person interviewing you, look at their profile on professional networking sites. Knowing about the company and the hiring manager can help you answer interview questions better.
  11. How to prepare for the next job interview after rejection?
    After experiencing job rejection, it's important to learn from the experience and use it as a chance to improve. Reflect on any feedback you received, if available, and identify areas you can work on. Stay positive, focus on your strengths, and practice answering common interview questions.

    ⁠Improve your communication skills and do thorough research on companies you apply to. Networking can also be helpful. By learning from the past and staying persistent, you can increase your chances of success in the next job interview and find the right fit for your career goals.

Browse top search terms

Did you know many candidates preparing a resume also research their industry by exploring top search terms?
Did you find this helpful?

Subscribe to Career Advice

Get expert career advice delivered to your inbox.
You can cancel emails at any time. By clicking ‘subscribe’ you agree to JobStreet’s Privacy Statement.