You’ve landed your dream interview. What now?

After all the LinkedIn connections, cold emails, and what felt like 1000 job applications, you are about to give
up all hope. Suddenly, you receive an email from your top company. The email reads:

“Congratulations Julia! After our most competitive application process to date, we have deemed you worthy and decided to extend to you the privilege of interviewing for a Full-Time Analyst position at Southgate & Company. You were provided this opportunity as a stand out amongst thousands of highly talented applicants. You should be very proud. Making it this far is truly an honor.”

You can’t help but to allow your lips to form a smile as you ask yourself “am I really that good?” ignoring the fact that the email is most likely generic and sent to everyone the company finds remotely talented enough to interview. Your smile quickly vanishes as you read the next line, finding out the interview is in a week and you have no idea what to do.

Whether you’re a college graduate looking to kick start a career, or an adult looking to provide for your family, the job recruiting process can be one of the most stressful things you do. You don’t want to put in all the time and hard work just to be unprepared at your final round interview. Here some important tips on how to prepare before and then effectively execute on the big day:

Know what you applied for

You would be surprised at how many people completely overlook this. Start off by knowing the company. Go on the company website and read everything. Pay especially close attention to the pages that talk about what the company does and who they are. By doing your homework, you can learn a lot about the values of the company and the type of individuals they like to recruit. Once you have a good idea about the identity of the company, spend some time reading the job description and learning about the role. If you have time, talk to some people who held the role at some point. This will give you a really good idea about what the job entails along with an inside perspective on the company culture.

Know the crowd

At the end of the day, the job offer comes down to what the people interviewing you thought about you. If you can, try to find out names or the demographic of people interviewing you. Through your due diligence, you can find out things you have in common or even learn about what type of interview to expect. If your interviewer is someone in HR, you know the interview will be behavioral, focusing on your resume and testing your company knowledge. If the interviewer works in an entry-level position, you can expect some technical questions related to the role. With senior executives, you can usually expect a conversational interview where they are trying to get to know you while gauging your talent.

Perform mock interviews

Practice makes perfect. Call up your friends, family, and anyone else who is willing to ask you questions and give feedback. Set up as many 30-minute mock interviews as you can and continually practice answering different types of interview questions. You can usually find common questions related to your role online. You would be surprised how much just a few practice rounds will polish your answers and boost your confidence. Also, make sure to be selective with the feedback you accept. For example, if you have spent a lot of time perfecting your answer about what XYZ Corporation does with multiple XYZ employees and then your jobless Aunt tells you that you should change your answer, you should probably use your own judgement there.

 

Dress accordingly

Don’t show up wearing sweats on interview day. You can give up one day of being comfortable to look presentable. Always make sure to one-up the dress code unless it is business formal. In that case, get your suit dry-cleaned and choose your colors strategically. Go conservative with a blue or black suit. For guys, you can even get creative and choose your tie based off of color psychology. I usually go with a blue tie. Blue makes you seem more trustworthy and responsible, causing the interviewer to unconsciously trust you more.

Mentally prepare

Although frequently overlooked, this is arguably the most important thing to do. Recognize your personal brand and try to leverage what makes you unique. Your mentality going in will usually make or break your interview. If you enter the interview with the thoughts that you are going to perform terribly you probably will. Be confident. Recognize that you have done everything you possibly can to adequately prepare for the big day. There is no one else more fit for the role than you are. You are talented and prepared. This is actually going to be fun and not scary because you are going to perform exceptionally well. Now the interview can’t come soon enough because you are so excited to blow the interviewer away and accept the job offer.

Last but not least: Have Fun

This may sound cliché, but have fun with it. There is no point in going into and leaving the interview miserable. Make it fun and, even if things don’t work out, make it a learning opportunity. It is just another experience that will shape you and change your perspectives.

Soon, you’ll have the following email hit your inbox from your top company:

“Julia, we would like to extend you a full-time offer to join Southgate & Company. Everyone was blown away by your performance during the final round interviews. Congratulations! We look forward to having you at the firm.”

 

It’s never too early to start preparing! Give it your all and kill it on the big day.

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