Congratulations! You got the interview. After the initial excitement has worn off, you will probably end up feeling nervous or anxious. There is no need for that, however. Tell yourself out loud, yes actually do this, “If I prepare beforehand, I will be prepared and fine during the interview.” Say it one more time. Perfect. You are already part of the way there! Now, follow this timeline below, and you will be well on your way to a successful interview that hopefully comes with a job offer!

Within the Week Before the Interview

One week before your interview, you want to practice mock interviews with some caring individuals that you know. Have them ask you the following top ten interview questions, which you should know the answers to by heart.

  1. Can you tell me a little about yourself?
  2. What are your strengths?
  3. Five years from now, where do you see yourself?
  4. What do you know about our company?
  5. What do you know about the job position at hand?
  6. What are your weaknesses?
  7. Why should we hire you?
  8. Why do you want to work for us?
  9. What type of work environment do you prefer? What hours do you want to work?
  10. Describe a time when you had a difficult situation at work and how you handled it.

Read through these interview questions and write out formal answers to each one. Practice reading these out loud and memorize them. Here are one hundred common interview questions that you can review, as well.

The Day of the Interview

When preparing for an interview, you need to start with when you first wake up in the morning. Let’s say your interview is at 10:00AM. When you get up, what do you do? You get dressed for the day. Make sure to dress one step above the dress code they ask for. So, if they ask you to dress business casual, dress professionally. Make sure to pack your phone or tablet in case you need to take down contact information during the interview, but keep them on silent and stow them out of sight in case that is not necessary, which most times it is not. Bring a portfolio with you. This portfolio should have a notepad inside with places to stow pens/pencils. There should also be a place you can stow away papers and business cards inside. Also, make sure to pack seven copies of your resume and cover letter. You should have them stapled and ready to hand out to each person who interviews you. It never hurts to have extra copies left over at the end! You can even give some extra copies to your potential employer in case they want to share them with anyone else at the company.

During the Interview

Keep your answers brief and to the point. Talk about what the specific company is looking for in their job posting and try to convince them that you harness those qualities.

Do not talk about your personal or professional stories that do not relate to the question asked nor the job position. They are not looking to hear a long-winded story that rambles and is not succinct.

At the End of the Interview/After the Interview

Make sure to thank each individual interviewer for his/her time and ask for his/her business card. Take the time to write each individual an email or handwritten letter, thanking him/her for his/her time and effort in interviewing you. Make sure to note a few things you each discussed that you enjoyed and restate your eagerness to accept a job offer from them. Include your name and contact information for any follow-up they have, and state how you hope to hear from them soon.

Interviewing does not have to be difficult. By following these guidelines, you will see that interviewing is as simple as preparing beforehand about what they might talk about during the interview and acting the part while they interview you.