Job interviews are tough.

I remember the interview for my first “real-world” job well. I was so nervous I thought I would pass out.

Even though nerves are completely normal, there are some ways you can prepare yourself and relax before the interview. It may help you to better focus on the questions and come across as more confident during your interview.

Image courtesy of Ambro/

Image courtesy of Ambro/

How to prepare for a job interview:

Do some research

You should always know the position and the company you’re applying to work for because you’ll most likely be asked why you applied. If you’ve done a little research you’ll be able to answer this question with an informed, detailed response. You’ll also want to have some questions ready to ask at the end of the interview.  It helps to see if questions pop up in your head while you’re reading about the company.

Practice answering questions

Think about any questions the interviewer will ask. Practice your answers out loud or write answers down; However, do not try to say exactly what you wrote during the interview because you may forget and lose focus.

Some common interview questions:

  • Describe a time when someone criticized your work?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • Why did you apply for this position?
  • Why are you the best candidate for this position?

Of course, you will never know the exact questions you’ll be asked during the interview, but it’s best to show up prepared for at least a few of the questions. It will calm your nerves to feel prepared, even if you are asked completely different questions during the interview.

Prepare your portfolio

It always looks professional and credible when you bring a hard copy of your portfolio with you to an interview. Even if you do not have a huge binder full of examples of your work, a few examples will still make a good impression.  Never wait until the night before your interview to have your portfolio ready because you may have to go to OfficeMax or another printing store for better quality print.

Lay out your clothes

What you wear is important because you need to have a professional appearance for an interview. Also, knowing what you’re wearing ahead of time will keep you from being late to your interview and will make the day easier for you. If this is your first interview right out of college, you may need to think ahead and buy some dress clothes in advance. What you choose to wear often depends on the position, but usually the best choice is a women’s dress suit or dress pants with a blouse.

Practice communication skills

If you are someone who tends to look down or away while you talk to someone, you’ll want to practice making eye contact. You should also prepare to boost your energy level for the interview, especially if you are applying for a customer service position. For any position, if you have high energy, the interviewer will be able to tell you are eager to get the job. Be enthusiastic, but don’t go too overboard with it.

Take deep breaths before the interview

Once you feel prepared, now it’s time to shine! As the time for your interview approaches, if you’re feeling nervous, be sure to take deep breaths to calm your nerves.

Always remember, the interviewer is not judging you on every single word. Just be sure you provide detailed, appropriate answers to questions that show you have the skills and ambition to do the job.

Keep in mind, sometimes you can do an interview perfectly and you may still not get the job. Just do you best, follow up with a thank you, and try not to stress about it too much.

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