The ultimate guide to interview preparation

Job interview

Are you thinking of switching jobs? If yes, you might also be thinking about how to go about the interview preparation. You might have questions in mind like

  • Should I start giving interviews and then learn from the experience?
  • Should I prepare for a certain duration and then start giving interviews?

These are some of the questions we have all encountered in our careers. Let us go over the two interview preparation techniques one by one.


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Approaches to Interview Preparation

There are two approaches to interview preparation:

  • Reactive approach
  • Proactive approach

We will be covering both the approaches and going through the pros and cons of each approach.

Reactive Approach:

This approach involves giving interviews and then going through the interview again mentally to figure out exactly where you went wrong. After you come from the interview, note down the questions and prepare for the questions you weren’t able to answer. This way you are reacting to the feedback you received in the interview process.

Pros:

  • Minimum preparation – You need to do minimum preparation for the interviews beforehand as you’ll rely on the feedback for improvement.
  • Minimum research – Since you need minimum preparation, you won’t need to do minimum research regarding the questions.

Cons:

  • Long time for offers – It will take a long time for you to get an offer(or to get a good offer) because you are not prepared enough for the interviews. You will give interviews after interviews and learn from it. You’ll prepare for questions you weren’t able to answer in the previous interviews and this takes time. 
  • Lots of rejections – You might feel demotivated sometimes because you are giving interviews after interviews and still getting rejected.

Proactive approach:

This approach involves preparing for a good duration of time and then start giving interviews.

Pros:

  • Less time to get offer – Since you have already prepared a lot by researching and going through the materials, you are somewhat prepared for the questions no matter how difficult they might be. You are in a position to handle the situation better. So the time required to get offers is less.
  • High confidence level – Since you have already prepared a lot beforehand, you are a lot more confident and more likely to succeed.
  • Better compensation – If you are well prepared and are able to give accurate answers, you are more likely to get a better compensation than you would if you hadn’t prepared at all.
  • Multiple offers – Since you have prepared for a certain duration, you might get an offer in a few interview attempts. You can use your notice period to get offers from even better companies. And you might get better compensation too.

Cons:

  • More time for preparation – You might be required to invest a lot of your time(maybe days or even months) in preparing for the interviews. It might be physically and mentally exhausting. Some people might give up midway.
  • Lot of research required – Since you would be preparing beforehand, you will need to do a lot of research on the topics to prepare. And this is not an easy task. You will need to search on the internet or go through books or approach your friends for topics and tips for preparation.

Which is the right option for you?

So what is the right approach for interview preparation? The answer is not that simple. It all depends on how serious are you about changing jobs.

If you are evaluating the market and are not sure if you will be switching jobs, the reactive approach might be better. It does not take a lot of your time, and you learn about the expectations of the companies. But if you are serious about changing jobs, proactive is the way to go!

As you can see for yourself, the proactive approach has more pros and fewer cons. So it is the right approach for interviews. Obviously, interview preparation is not an easy task. It will take a lot of time and effort. But it will all be worth it in the end. It will also save you the trouble of going through a lot of rejections to get a decent offer. And I say this from personal experience. I have tried both approaches and I find the second one better personally.


Also check: How to crack technical interview – Google, Amazon & more


Essential Steps For Interview Preparation

Now that we have decided on the approach, you might want to know what you need to do before an interview.

1. Research about the company online

You should do a little background check about the company. This might help in answering questions related to the company should the interviewer ask anything related to the company. Googling about the company, visiting their website, visiting their LinkedIn page are some of the ways to search about the company.

2. Research about the role you are going to interview for

You should also do a little bit of research about the role you are interviewing for. It might help you gauge what the interviewer might expect from you. It’s possible that the skills you currently possess might be insufficient for the role you are going to interview for. You might need to study or prepare for the role, which can take time. So it’s better to start with the research early.

3. Research about the interviewer

You should do a Google search for the interviewer too if you know the name of the person who’ll be interviewing you. You can go to their LinkedIn page and find out about them. This gives you a little bit more idea about the person interviewing you. If you find out what background they belong to, you can guess the questions they might ask and prepare for them.

4. Prepare for the questions you might get asked in the interview

Since you know the role you’ll be interviewing for, you need to do some research on the questions you’ll be asked in the interview and prepare some rough answers for those questions. This might help you get an edge over other candidates. Suppose you are interviewing for a software role, you might need to study coding, problem-solving, and design-related questions.

5. Make sure you are early to the interview

It never hurts to come early to an interview. You might need to wait for a little while before the interview starts but it’s better than being late. Being late gives a really bad impression about the person.

6. Dress appropriately

This depends a lot on the type of role and the industry you’re working for, but dressing professionally for an interview is always a best practice that you should follow. A suit and a tie are best, but a formal shirt and trousers would also be okay.

7. Carry all required documents

You should carry all the related documents like your resume, experience letter, degrees, etc. to the interview. There’s a good chance you might not be asked about these if you are an experienced candidate. But it never hurts to be ready.

8. Rehearse for the interview

Before going to the actual interview, make sure you have a rehearsal or mock interview. This can be done with a friend or alone. There are a lot of online platforms which conduct mock interviews. You might want to try those out too. This practice is known to prepare the person for the interviews. It gives you a bit of much-needed confidence.

9. Believe in yourself

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right

Henry Ford

I am a strong believer in this saying. It emphasizes the importance of self-belief. If you are confident about something and you do it with the same confidence, you are more likely to succeed. So don’t be afraid or nervous during the interviews.

10. Don’t prepare till the last minute

This might seem odd but you should not prepare anything in the last half an hour before the interview. Listen to your favorite music or just sit on a bench and relax. You’ll be in a better mental state for the interview. It helps you calm your nerves, and you are better prepared to face the interview.

That’s about it, folks. If you find this article helped you in any way in your interview preparation, do let us know by leaving comments below.

Goodbye and Good luck!

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