Acing the job interview: Pre-Interview Prep

Angie Solis, Head Editor, INALJ Missouri 

Acing the job interview – Part 1 of 4: Pre-Interview Prep

AngieSolisRecently, searching for a job has brought me to really work on perfecting my interview skills. There is a lot of content online that may be maddening to search through and decipher. The whole interview process can be stressful, confusing, scary and frustrating. But, the more you prepare the better chance you have of getting the job. This is the first in a 4 part series on my best tips for acing that big interview to land your next job!

First things first, is this the job for you? Analyzing the job will help you to understand who employers are looking for and if your qualifications match the job. says that you need to know what the company is seeking in a candidate. Start by making a list of skills and qualities listed in the job description and see how you measure up to those skills. Prepare to explain how you can show that your skill set falls in line with what the company requires and highlight this when needed. has a great description on how to analyze a job description so you know what you are applying for and how to make your past experience work for you.

Now you know when a job is right, next you need to research, research, research! Research the company you’re applying to, as this is often a vital and important element to acing the job interview that many applicants may forget or not fulfill completely. Not sure where to start? Well you’re not alone. In my own experience this was the hardest part of preparing for an interview because I wasn’t sure what I should be looking for.

Start your research by visiting the company’s website to view the Company’s Mission. You will also want to check out their recent achievements. Take the time to understand their products/services as well. While many of us are applying to libraries you still want to be familiar with programs and services they offer. Find out if they have any goals or new projects in the works. If the company/organization website doesn’t have all this information, use a search engine to find some of these answers. This can also help you to find if there are any recent news stories or articles about the organization. Check with job specific discussion boards and social Media sites. If applying to a library check the city/county or school website for more information.

LinkedIn lists 10 things to learn about your possible next employer that includes: When and why the organization was founded. Who is your prospective boss? What is his or her background? How long has s/he been in this role? and What kinds of community/diversity/socially responsible/earth-aware initiatives does the company champion? You’ll learn about these things on the firm’s own website.

So now that you’ve analyzed the job till it has no secrets and researched the company until you know them as well as a sibling, it’s time to prepare for the interview. The best way to prepare is to practice interviewing. Practice with a friend, practice with the mirror, just plain practice. Start by attempting to anticipate questions from the interviewer. Get an inside look by checking Glassdoor for an Interview Edge. also has an interview questions repository that provides actual questions that have been compiled into a handy dandy list. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses and practice how you will articulate them. Dreading certain questions? Write them down along with their answers so that you’ll be prepared for anything and alleviate some anxiety. Once you know that you have an interview, if it hasn’t already been communicated, find out what kind of interview you are going to. The type of interview can make all the difference and you don’t want to be surprised when you get there.

Once you’ve gone through the most challenging elements of the interview, practice answering the questions out loud so that you can have an easier time remembering the responses. This will also help you to be more at ease because you won’t be answering them for the first time. Being prepared and practiced will help you to be more confident in your interview, making it more likely that you’ve aced it!

Find all the links mentioned here plus more on my Pinterest board, You’re Hired!

I hope some of these tips or links have helped you to begin your interview prep. Tune in next time to find out how to be the best you leading up to and the day of the interview.