Job Seeker 101: Interview Prep

By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars


If you’ve started the process of applying to jobs, you should hopefully begin to receive feedback from companies. While a few weeks can seem like a lifetime, the right opportunities will arise at the right time and, soon enough, you’ll receive an interview request. When this happens, you will probably experience two feelings: excitement and panic. 

Once the initial shock wears off, there are a few things you’ll need to do. After scheduling the interview and finalizing details, it’s time to prepare. As we’ve discussed before, doing your research is essential as a job seeker, but interview prep is equally as important.Whether you’re meeting is in-person, via phone or skype, these three steps are necessary in nailing your interview and differentiating yourself from the other candidates.

Start off by doing research on the most commonly asked interview questions – although these are often very basic, they can also trip up interviewees if not prepared. Next, take a moment to review the job description. Looking at the requirements and qualifications should give you a better idea of what the day-to-day will look like. The employer will almost always ask questions that relate back to the application.

Once you’ve compiled these questions, take time to draft answers – while there isn’t technically a “correct answer” to every interview questions, there are “best ways” to answer. With each answer, try to incorporate some of your relevant experience and relate it back to your ability to succeed in this position. To avoid sounding overly scripted, we suggest jotting down the main points you want to get across in the interview. From there, it’s time to start practicing the actual interview.

There are a handful of ways you can practice interviewing effectively. For starters, we suggest simply sitting in front of the mirror and answering the questions. Once you’re comfortable, have a friend or family member ask you the questions. While this can be awkward, it is important to take this seriously, so be sure to enlist someone you can trust to keep a straight face and provide honest feedback.

Once you have a few rounds of practicing under your belt, it’s time to bring out the camera. When you set up the camera, be sure to get a wide enough shot so that your whole body is in the frame. Not only will this help increase your performance level, but it is also something you’ll need to watch back for evaluation. As you do so, try not to be too hard on the things you can’t change and focus on the ones you can. 

Once you’ve mastered answering your questions eloquently and correctly, the next step is to brush up on overall interview etiquette. This is where your recorded interview comes into play. As you watch, take notes of things you did well and things you can improve upon – start at the very beginning. How did you enter the room? Did you shake hands with the interviewer(s)? The first impression truly matters, so you’ll want to display confidence.

Next, watch your body language throughout the interview. As you know, body language plays a major role in conveying the right message. Of course, you’ll also want to sit up straight and make eye contact with whomever is speaking (or who you’re speaking to). But you’ll also want to make note of what you are doing with your hands and feet. If the chair swivels, are you moving too much? Even the smallest details can reveal nervousness.

Once you’ve completed the above steps, you should be well on your way to acing the interview. If you happen to have multiple interviews lined up, we suggest going through the same process for each one. There may be some overlap, but every company and every job is different, which also means that every interview will be different. No matter what, be sure to write a thank you note for every interview – but that’s a topic for another time!