10 Tips for What to Do Before an Interview (With Importance)
Updated 16 June 2023
It can be exciting to receive an invitation to attend a job interview. You may have an interest in understanding more about the steps you may take to prepare yourself. Being well-prepared may help you increase your chances of having a successful interview and outperform the other candidates. In this article, we discuss what to do before an interview, including some tips and examples for your reference.
10 tips for what to do before an interview
In establishing what to do before an interview, every individual is different and may have their own preferred preparation style. It may be helpful to seek advice from your peers, friends and seniors on how they prepare for an interview. To help you start your interview preparation journey, here are some preparation tips for your reference:
1. Research the company
A useful tip to prepare for an interview is to research the company before attending the interview. For example, you may research the background of the company, its history and the key management personnel in the company. Knowing the company's mission, vision and values may also be beneficial. If the company has specific selling points such as contributing back to the community, be sure to note those aspects prior to the interview.
Doing the relevant research shows the interviewer that you're serious about having the job and have an interest in the job. Committing time and effort to understanding the company can also give you an idea of whether the company culture suits you. If there are any client, customer or employee reviews, study them and identify any recurring themes that might affect your decision to work with them. To research, you may wish to reference the company's official website before going to visit other third-party review sites.
2. Research your interviewer
It's also a good practice to research your interviewer ahead of time. This means searching the public profiles of the interviewer, understanding their role and position in the company and forming an understanding of their job scope. It often helps to find attributes or experiences you have in common with your interviewer and mention it during the interview. For example, if you mention that you both went to the same university, it may help the interview begin on a positive note. To research, you may visit professional social media profiles and scan through their interests.
If the hiring manager doesn't mention the name of your interviewer, consider contacting the company to ask for the name of the interviewer. Alternatively, you may wish to prepare for a number of possibilities by researching on key hiring personnel in the company. Company interviewers are typically the hiring manager, the direct manager in the new position or other talent recruitment specialists in the company.
Related: How To Prepare for an Interview
3. Prepare answers to questions
A common interview preparation step is to prepare answers to questions. This entails searching the types of questions you may answer during the interview and preparing your response for these answers. Consider searching for questions which are specific to your job position in addition to generic interview questions. You may wish to ask others for feedback on your answers to create the best answers possible.
Here are some common generic interview questions:
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Tell me about a time when you met a difficult colleague.
Why do you want this job?
Why do you want to work for this company?
How do you think you can contribute to the team?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Who inspires your work ethic?
4. Conduct a mock interview
If time permits, consider conducting a mock interview. Ask a family member or trusted friend to role-play with you. They can ask you questions, and you can practise answering them. At the end of the role play, ask for feedback and how you may improve your demeanour and answers. This cycle of positive feedback can help you gain confidence before your interview and reduce any stress in connection with attending an interview.
If you prefer practising alone, you may wish to role-play in front of a mirror so that you can see yourself. Alternatively, you may record yourself and watch the playback to look for areas of improvement. Either way helps you get the valuable pre-interview practice.
5. Prepare the relevant documentation
As part of your application process, you may have certain documents and other resources available for the interviewer to review. Regardless of whether the company has a copy of these documents, prepare physical copy sets for the interview. This is for the interviewer to reference on the day of the interview. They may not have the chance to review your materials beforehand, and showing them these items during the interview gives them the chance to ask you more questions about your expertise and realise your fit for the role.
While companies may prepare these documents for the interviewers, it's best to have some copies readily available in case the interviewers request for copies. Also, remember to have a copy for yourself so you can refer to the specific items your interviewer mentions. This is a good opportunity to show the interviewer or hiring manager you think ahead and prepare for multiple outcomes.
6. Eat a healthy meal before the interview
Eating a healthy meal may help boost your performance at the interview. The right nutrition can give you the energy to think quickly and answer challenging questions. Consider eating more food rich in healthy oils and fats, fibre and protein.
You can also be mindful of what you eat if you're wearing the clothes for your interview. Try to avoid food that may easily spill on your interview outfit or plan to eat before changing into your interview outfit to prevent last-minute messes.
7. Prepare your interview outfit
To help you look like a good fit for the role and to leave a good impression on the interviewer, consider preparing your interview outfit ahead of time. Make sure that your clothes and socks match. Also, choose a set of clothes that are appropriate for the role. For best results, choose clothes that are a step above the role's normal standards. For example, if the role requires business casual attire, pick business professional attire for the interview, for example, a suit and tie or skirt and blouse.
You may also wish to ensure that the clothes are clean and well-ironed. Having wrinkle-free clothes may help you leave a good impression on the potential employer. Additionally, you can pack personal items for small touch-ups just before your interview.
8. Visit the interview location beforehand
Visit the interview location before the interview itself to familiarise yourself with the surroundings. Locate the nearest public transport options and ensure you know how much time it takes to travel there. This can help to reduce stress with unfamiliar locations and reduces the chances of you being lost or running late on the day of the interview.
To help you locate the best route, you may wish to use mobile applications that monitor local traffic and map out your travel route. You can factor in extra time if your interview is during lunch hour, as people may travel in and out of that area. It may also be advisable to have a backup transportation plan in case your intended travel route is not available on the day of the interview.
9. Turn off your mobile phone before the interview
Right before the interview, remember to turn off your mobile phone. You may bring your mobile phone into the meeting room or other interview venue, and it's best if the phone stays silent during the duration of the interview. If you opt to leave your phone on, you can check that you switched off your alarms to avoid unnecessary distractions during the interview. Vibrations may be acceptable if they aren't noticeable by the interviewer and don't interrupt the flow of the interview.
10. Consider your body language
You can take this opportunity to work on your posture, appearance and non-verbal communication. For example, you may find that you can use your hands more when conversing or reduce your fidgeting. Working on these aspects can improve your quality as a candidate and may help you progress to the next stage in the hiring process.
Why is it crucial to be well-prepared for an interview?
Interviewing is a skill, making practice essential in becoming a better interviewee. The more you rehearse, the better you become, which can increase your chances of standing out from the other applicants. Interview practice also gives you the chance to learn how to answer questions related to your role.
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