6 Rules to Follow When Preparing for a Job Interview

There is a very common reason people fail at job interviews - a lack of preparation. Here's how to prepare for it and nail that job interview!

So, you are going to be interviewed for that job you really wanted? Congratulations!

Now, before that date rolls around, you want to be sure you got everything covered.

Here’s a checklist of everything you need to pay attention to.

Rule #1: Do your research

Which means: come prepared!

You do not, and I mean you do not come to an interview without any previous knowledge of the company, the CEO, their goals and plans for the future.

Not knowing the answer to a basic question concerning the company will certainly make you look sloppy and irresponsible. You don’t want that to be the interviewers’ first impression of you, right?

What you want is to show that you’re thorough, committed and more importantly – that you know why you want this job.

Keeping that in mind, a brief 10-minute online research into the company you’re about to interview for can get you far.

Rule #2: Learn how to present yourself in an attractive and interesting way


The interviewer will already have gone through your CV and motivational letter before meeting you, so don’t think they know nothing about you. They wouldn’t have organized the interview in the first place if they didn’t think you were fit for the job!

So no worries there.

However, the interviewer will want to hear about you from you. Be sure you can say 3-4 phrases that summarize where you have been, where you are now and where you want to go from there.

Be sure not to repeat what you have already said in the motivational letter. Use fresh ideas and simple phrases. No need to seem super intelligent and well read. Just be yourself.

Also, don’t be afraid of a little humor – it can do miracles in situations like these. It will show the interviewer you are an actual living person, and not a robot.

Rule #3: Be prepared for basic questions

Believe it or not, this is the interviewers’ breaking point as to whether or not you will get the job.

There will come a time in the conversation when the interviewer will ask you why you want this precise job and no other and what made you choose their company. The answer might seem obvious in your mind, but it might be harder to verbalize it than you think.

So before showing up before the interviewers, be sure you know this answer yourself. It doesn’t have to be a complicated one, but it needs to come from you. It is the only way it can be genuine. 

#4: Own it!

man and woman shaking hands

Be confident. Nothing is more appealing than confidence.

This means looking the interviewer straight in the eye, even though it is intimidating in the beginning. If there is more than one interviewer, be sure to acknowledge each of them by looking at them briefly from time to time.

They will appreciate this more than you know. Also, don’t be too serious, but don’t keep a smile on your face the entire time. Knowing how to balance everything out is key.

More importantly, don’t let yourself be thrown off balance by questions that you don’t expect. And there will be those, don’t you worry.

They actually want to see how you react when you don’t know the answer to a question. In the meantime say something like: “I need a moment to formulate a response/ I haven’t analyzed that particular question, but my opinion is…”

Rule #5: First impression is everything

This might seem harsh or shallow, but the way you look tells a lot about you. It really does.

Would you employ someone with messy hair and a dirty shirt? Well, believe it or not, neither would your potential employer!

For women, make sure your hair is clean and well coiffed. I suggest you put it up in a chignon, it will give you a more polished look.

Your make-up should be discreet. For example, I strongly discourage red lipstick on a job interview. Not many of us can pull off that look and still seem professional.

You can’t go wrong with a clean cut white shirt, a jacket and a pencil skirt. It might be a cliché, but it just works! As shoes go, I don’t suggest heels if a) you don’t know how to walk in them and b) if they’re too high.

A nice low-heeled shoe works fine, but smart flats are always my way to go.

For men, I suggest you shave that beard off! Men are sexier with beards, I give you that, but will look much neater without them. It grows back, I promise.

Next, make sure you don’t put too much cologne. Smelling good is a plus, smelling from a mile away is repulsive. Less is more boys, less is more.

Rule #6: Believe and you shall achieve

The most important thing you can do to succeed is visualizing yourself nailing that interview.

Imagine yourself entering the room and blowing the interviewers away!

With that image in your mind, the actual interview will seem only as a repetition of what you already know will happen.

The interviewers will feel your confidence as much as your insecurity. They know very well that job interviews are stressful, so they will tolerate initial nervousness and/or fidgeting.

However, after a couple of minutes, they will expect you to loosen up and that is exactly what you need to do. Relax, and try resting your hands on your lap instead of waving them around.

When your body eases up, your mind will follow and focus on getting those answers right.

Remember: this is not a matter of life and death! You have nothing to lose, but only to gain. When you start thinking this way, you will start taking job interviews more as a challenge and less as a dreadful ordeal. Good luck!

About the author


I am a 21-year-old Political Science student with a passion for languages, the media and psychology. In my future career, I wish to help others communicate better and lead more fulfilling lives, and what better way to start than journalism.

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