Welcome to the first edition of Career Coach’s Corner. Each month we will focus on a different career-related topic and provide insight to help you excel in your career. This month’s topic is preparing for job interviews.

One of the most challenging aspects of the job search is securing an interview. If and when the opportunity to interview is extended, many job seekers feel a sense of accomplishment (and relief) that they have gotten to this point in their search and are excited for chance to showcase themselves. For others, the prospect of interviewing for a position can create anxiety and stress. In both cases, preparation is key to the success of the interview. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be in the interview and hopefully, any anxiety you feel will diminish.

Here are five tips to better prepare for an interview:

Know the style of interview:

Find out the format of the interview and get some information about who will be involved. Is it a one-on-one or panel interview? Who is going to be there? Ask these questions to get a better understanding of the environment you will be in. The more information you gather, the better you can anticipate preparing for the interview.

Understand the job:

Get familiar with the job description to uncover details about the position and learn how it plays a role in the progress of the organization. If you know someone inside the company, ask him or her for further details about the position, the supervisor and how he or she manages staff. Understand the general responsibilities of the position, but also know how the role fits in to the overall organization.

Research the company:

Do your homework on the company by researching its website, LinkedIn profile, social media content and any recent news about the organization. Get a feel for the company mission and vision statements. This type of information can give you great insight into the values and core beliefs of the company, guide you on how to formulate your questions about company culture and prepare you to answer the question “What do you know about the company?”

Find out about your interviewers:

If you know who will be conducting the interview, learn something about them by researching their LinkedIn profiles and using Google to search their web presence. You can lessen the anxiety of meeting people for the first time by learning about their educational background, outside interests and anything you may have in common with them.

Prepare your answers but don’t script them:

Understand the type of questions you’ll be asked and prepare how you will answer, but avoid scripting your answer. You don’t want to come across as robotic and completely devoid of a personality. Instead of rehearsing your answers, be prepared with all-star stories for the types of questions you may be asked. For example, if you are asked a question regarding communication across departments, recall a story or anecdote in which you excelled in this arena. Know what you will say when asked, “Tell me about yourself.” Think about this question and how it pertains to the skills and experience most important to the company. This type of information can be uncovered by thoroughly reviewing the job description prior to the interview. 

If you’re interested in getting one-on-one career search guidance or counseling, please contact Eric Deovlet. manager of career and industry, via email at deovlet@chapman.edu or by calling (714) 744-7090.