Preparing for a job interview can become very intimidating, but if you take the time to thoughtfully consider your goals and qualifications relative to the employer and the position, you’ll take a lot of stress off yourself and feel more relaxed when you attend the interview.

Here’s a few steps to preparing for an interview:

Carefully examine the job description

Use the posted job description as a guide, it will list the necessary qualifications, qualities and background that the employer is looking for in a candidate. If you are able to align yourself with these details, the employer will see that you’re qualified for the position. The job description will also give you ideas about the types of questions you will be asked during the interview.

Consider why you are interviewing, and your qualifications

Prepare yourself to explain your interest in the opportunity and why you are the best person for the role. You should have a good understanding of why you want the job and why you are qualified to get the job.

Perform research on the company and the role

Not only will researching your prospective employer help provide context for your interview conversations, it will also help you in preparing thoughtful questions for your interviewers.

Some of the aspects you should consider researching include:

  • The product or service
  • The role
  • The company culture

Always remember that the interview is just as much about you finding a good fit for your own work environment as it is about the employer finding the right candidate.

Consider your answers to common interview questions

It’s impossible to predict every question you will be asked in an interview, but there are a few common questions that are sure to pop up and that you can prepare answers to. You might also consider developing an elevator pitch that quickly describes who you are, what you do and what you want.

Here are a few examples of common interview questions you can expect:

  • Why do you want to work here?
  • What do you find interesting about this role?
  • What are your greatest strengths?

Practice your speaking voice and body language

First impressions last, and it is important to make a positive and lasting impression when you show up for your interview. Take some time before your interview to practice a confident, strong speaking voice and friendly, open body language – paying special attention to your smile, handshake and stride.

Prepare thoughtful questions for your interviewers

Having these questions prepared leaves a feeling of confidence with your interviewers(s) because it becomes clear that you have done your research on the company and the position.

Consider some of the following questions:

  • What does a typical day look like for the person in this position?
  • Why do you enjoy working here?
  • What qualities do your most successful employees have?

Conduct mock interviews

Just like public speaking, practicing interviews is the best way to relieve anxiety and improve your confidence. Practice may be tedious, but repeatedly experiencing the interview process will make you more comfortable and help you give the right impression.

Print hard copies of your CV

Chances are that your interviewers will already have hard copies of your CV, but it’s best to be prepared. Take at least three copies with you to ensure that you are able to hand them out to multiple interviewers and keep one for yourself.

Prepare your travel arrangements

If your interview is an unfamiliar area or even an entirely new city, it can be a source of anxiety to find your way around and make sure that you show up on time. To avoid becoming too anxious for your commute, prepare yourself to ensure everything goes smoothly on the day of the meeting. Here’s how:

  • Leave early
  • Save the interview contact information
  • Search the location in advance

Sell yourself

Most people aren’t comfortable with this idea of selling yourself – but the truth is, you have the skills and qualifications required to do the job (that’s why you were invited for an interview). Acknowledge and expand on your skillset and qualifications during the interview – it doesn’t have to feel like a sales pitch.

Get ready to follow up after the interview

Following up with the interviewer after you interview reminds the employer of your conversation, shows them that you are genuinely interested in the position and gives you the opportunity to bring up points you forgot to mention during the interview.

One last tip

It’s perfectly acceptable to pause for a moment and simply state “Let me think about that for a second” when you don’t know the answer to a certain question. The employer will appreciate you taking the time to give them a thoughtful answer.