A job interview can be a nerve-wracking experience whether you have sat through several of them or you’re headed to your first one. The best thing you can do to increase your chances of getting employed is to make a great first impression. To help make the process less intimidating, the following will teach you how to prepare for a job interview so that you can go into your interview with better confidence.

How to Get Ready for a Job Interview

One of the necessary steps to take when learning how to prepare for a job interview is researching a company’s dress protocol. This can allow you to better understand the type of people the company is looking to hire because, truth be told, your appearance is the first thing an interviewer takes into consideration.

How to Dress for a Job Interview

Your clothing depends on the type of job you are interviewing for. Some companies do require a conservative attire, much as it has been for decades. However, there many industries nowadays that have a laidback style. Regardless, it is important that you don’t go to the interview too dressed up or too casual.

Formal Interview

  • Shirt: Women should go for a simple blouse. For dress shirts, be sure they are button down and long sleeved. You may opt for a quality sweater, preferably one with a collared dress shirt underneath.
  • Pants and Skirts: Dress pants are appropriate as long as they fit and coordinate with everything else. When it comes to skirts, keep to a reasonable length. No shorter than the knees is standard.
  • Suits: A suit is a good job option for men and women. The suit should fit correctly. For example, too big can make you appear sloppy.
  • Dress: Focus on statement dresses. You want to avoid a deep neckline and be sure that the length is proper.
  • Shoes: Moderate shoes are best. For women, if you decide to wear heels, it helps to stick to a conservative height.

When putting together an outfit, consider going light on jewelry. You want to make an impression, but you don’t want to be distracting. If you’re going for the suit option or wearing a dress shirt, it doesn’t hurt to throw in a tie, but be sure it’s not flashy. Colors should be neutral and solid like white, blue, black, gray, or navy.

Casual Interview

  • Shirt: A button down, long sleeve or short sleeve, is a good choice. Cotton blouses work well here also. In this case, a t-shirt with a blazer looks good.
  • Pants and Skirts: You can go for jeans here, but opt for darker ones. You can pair them off with a nice belt. In addition, khakis or slacks work. For skirts, consider something casual, but not too short and still moderate in color.
  • Dress: You can go for a dress you wear out to lunch or for taking a stroll around the park. Again though, nothing short and avoid going too deep with the neckline.
  • Shoes: Simple flats can work. Ballet shoes are a good choice for women. Pairing a good pair of dress boots with jeans can make for a compelling outfit as well.

If you want jewelry, simplicity is still key. You do have more freedom with colors though. Neutral tones are good, but you can go for slightly brighter ones. You can play with patterns too (e.g. plaid), but don’t go too heavy with them.

Grooming

Good grooming is vital when headed to a job interview whether you are going into a formal job or a more casual atmosphere. Be sure that both you and your clothes are clean. Wash your face well before you leave the house. If you have to use some lotion, perfume, or cologne, don’t go for something with an overbearing scent.

Avoid selecting clothes that have any sort of stains. Also, go over your clothes well to check them for any holes or missing buttons when it comes to dress shirts and pants. As for your shoes, they should be clean and free of any scuffs or other indications that they are well worn.

Out of everything you can learn about how to prepare for a job interview, grooming should be at the top of your mind because if you enter an interview appearing less than clean, you may lose the job before you’re ever asked a question.

Pro tip #1! If you’re unsure about your breath, it doesn’t hurt to pop in a mint. You can chew gum while you wait, but don’t go into the interview chewing it as it can be too distracting and considered rude.

Hair & Makeup

Like your clothes, interviewers will notice your hair and the makeup you wear. However, you don’t want them focusing on it. No matter how you decide to style your hair or wear your makeup, understand that less can be better in this case.

Hair

If you want to tie your hair back, a well-combed, neat ponytail is a good choice. You can go for a stylish bun or a side bun. Be sure that it is tied back well so nothing falls in your face to distract the interviewer. For those that go for braids, be sure the hairstyle is not too over-the-top. Braiding it into a side ponytail style maintains a professional appearance.

You can always wear your hair down if it is long or medium-length, but again, keep it out of your face as much as possible. Parting it off-center can help with that. This styling works for straight and curly hair.

Short hairstyles are the easiest to keep out of your face. However, just remember to not look messy or unkempt.

Makeup

Match your makeup to your skin tone so that it doesn’t stand out in the worst way. Try going for a soft look. For example, don’t extend your eyeliner beyond the outer edge of your eye. When it comes to your lips, nude lip gloss is a good choice, but a proper red lipstick that isn’t too bright can work also.

Do away with any heavy or bright eyeshadow if you want to wear it. Natural tones are best because you don’t want your interviewer’s attention to keep going to your obnoxious eyeshadow.

How to Research a Company for a Job Interview

An important part of the process of learning how to prepare for a job interview is researching the job you’re applying for. Interviewers appreciate well-informed candidates as it shows a true desire to work for the company.

A great place to begin your research is on the internet. Head to the company’s website and read up on their “About Us” page. This can teach you more about their goals and the type of company they strive to be. Continue searching the website to learn more about the position you’re after so that you can perhaps ask a few questions during the interview.

Another good way to research a company before the job interview is to speak with current and former employees. They are the best way to gather some inside knowledge about what it is like working at the company. If you know anyone that works there, you can talk in person. However, you can always visit sites such as Glassdoor to find more feedback.

Pro tip #2! Don’t forget it’s not just you that’s interviewing, you also need to find out more about the company – so look over some questions. Asking your own questions makes you come off as professional and interested in the actual job.

How to Prepare for Job Interview Questions

Now that you’re aware of how you should present yourself and how to research the company, it’s time to focus on the questions. It’s all too easy to fumble over questions, which can make you appear to lack confidence and preparedness. To avoid that, go through a practice interview with a friend or family member.

Look at common interview questions and practice your answers. For example, a question just about every interviewer asks is: “Why do you want to work for us?”. This is where researching the company can come in handy. Mention how much you appreciate the work they have done for the industry, for the community, the benefits offered, etc.

Focus on other common questions such as “Why should we hire you?”, “What are your weaknesses or strengths?”, “What can you offer us that others can’t?”, and more.

To repeat, learning how to prepare for a job interview question is best done by practicing. Go over your answers with someone else and ask if they make sense. Also, ask about how confident you sound in your answers and whether you come across as stiff or more personable.

Pro tip #3! Remember that 70% of a job interview is in the act, so you’d probably be interested to see how to act at a job interview.

Wrap Up

It may take some time to learn how to prepare for a job interview, but in the end, it is worth it if you are able to approach your interview more knowledgeable than before in addition to looking your best. There is no guarantee that you will get the job, but making a lasting, good first impression is certainly a step in the right direction.