Manage your interview nerves by preparing thoroughly.

According to at least one recent survey, more than 90% of job candidates experience some level of stress and anxiety when they are interviewing for a new job. Moreover, 29% of job seekers report that job interviews make them more nervous than any other experience. Fortunately, there are ways to prepare for an interview, alleviate that stress and nervousness, and focus on making the best impression possible. 

In this post, we will examine ten tips that can help you to ace any interview and give yourself the best chance of landing your dream job. We will also include vital links to other important posts that can offer even more specific advice to meet your interview preparation needs.

1. Plan to adjust for the specific type of interview you will face

Job interviews used to be conducted almost exclusively in-person. Obviously, that has changed in recent years, as phone interviews and video interviews have become far more commonplace. If your interview is conducted in any manner other than an in-person meeting, make sure that you know the best practices for doing well in that type of interview environment. These posts can provide greater insight into phone and video interviews:

2. Take time to thoroughly research the company

Never show up for an interview without a solid understanding of the company. Take time and thoroughly research the company's website to learn about its history, philosophy, and products or services. Try to identify their biggest competitors and target markets, so that you can better answer any questions the interviewer may ask. Use that research to craft a list of reasons why you want to work there.

3. Familiarize yourself with the job description

You should also study the job description carefully, making note of the skill requirements and expected duties. How does that job description align with the company's stated mission, and how can you provide value to that position if the company hires you? Create a list of previous accomplishments that help to demonstrate why you are the best candidate for that job.

4. Examine your resume

Naturally, you should have tailored your resume to fit the position you are seeking. Still, you will want to revisit that resume before your interview to ensure that you can use the meeting to further highlight those important points from the resume. In addition, you will want to think about what you learned from past job experiences and how those lessons can benefit your prospective employer.

5. Practice responses to common interview questions

Make sure that you are prepared for unexpected questions during your interview. To avoid that uncomfortable feeling, you should practice your responses to the most common questions hiring managers and recruiters may ask. To learn more about how you can answer many of the questions you are likely to face, check out our great post, Your Interview Questions Answered — Expert Q&A Part 1 and Part 2.

As a rule, you can prepare for about any type of question by focusing on your own skills, strengths, and values. If you know yourself well enough to know what you can do and why you do it, then even the most unexpected questions will answer themselves.

6. Make note of questions you want to ask the interviewer

Most interviewers will make a point of asking whether you have any questions for them. You should always have at least one or two questions that you are prepared to ask. If there is any information about the company or job that you could not learn from your research, be sure to ask. However, do not ask about things like time off, pay, timelines for advancement, or similar concerns. All of that can wait until they offer you a position. You can and should ask questions related to the job role, duties, and expectations, like:

  • “What metrics would you use to determine success in this role?”

  • “What would you identify as the most difficult aspect of the job?”

  •  “What do you like best about this company?”

7. Prepare everything in advance

Always have everything ready for the interview prior to your meeting. Do not wait until the day of the interview to decide which clothes to wear or which questions to ask. You will want to have all those details completed well in advance of the interview so that you can focus on making your best possible pitch.

8. Visualize for success

Many athletes and top businesspeople use visualization to help them achieve success. You should do the same. Take time in the days leading up to your interview to just be still and picture yourself engaged in a successful interview process. In your mind, picture yourself answering questions in a confident and engaging manner. This practice can help you to calm your nerves and feel more confident about your ability to present yourself in the best possible light.

9. Clear your schedule and make the interview a priority

Make sure that your schedule is clear of other demands during the hours leading up to and immediately after your scheduled interview. If you have children you need to pick up from school, arrange for someone else to do it. If you have pets, make sure that they are cared for by another family member or friend. The interview must be your priority if you want to succeed.

10. Follow interview etiquette

Have a concrete plan in place to ensure that you are adhering to proper etiquette during your interview. For example:

  • Plan to arrive at least five minutes early for any in-person interview

  • Wear appropriate attire that is clean, in good repair, and professional in appearance

  • If you encounter other employees, be sure to treat them with respect and professionalism

  • Leave your phone turned off during any interview

  • Focus on using a firm handshake when you meet the interviewer

  • Maintain good posture and speak with a clear voice

  •  Always thank the interviewer when the meeting is over

  • Follow up with a thank you note


In a competitive hiring environment, you need every advantage you can get if you want to land a great job. Fortunately, these ten tips can help you to properly prepare for that important interview and increase your chances of getting hired.

You've identified what you want from a new job. Now it's time to make sure you dazzle the interviewer. Learn more about our interview-coaching services.

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