Acing the job interview – Personal and Professional Interview prep

by Angie Solis, Head Editor, INALJ Missouri 

Acing the job interview – Personal and Professional Interview prep  Part 2 of 4


Last time we talked about Pre-Interview Prep to be the best interviewee you can be. Now that we have mastered the skills to prepare for anything an interviewer is going to throw at you, it’s time to have a little “you time”. Preparation for an interview doesn’t start with just knowing how you are going to respond to questions during an interview. Yes, that part is going to help get the job, but a lot more goes into the process than that. Now, we’re going to talk about how to prepare to showcase the best you.

First, we’ve gotta talk about choosing the right interview clothes. The first impression for any interview will be what you look like, including what you wear. I can’t stress enough that having your outfit prepared and ready to go before the day of the interview will save a lot of headache and stress. In regards to the outfit I think some of us are thinking, it’s 2014 and the world is changing so interview clothes should be as well, right? It’s a new age but that doesn’t mean that interview wear should be any more relaxed. But that also doesn’t mean that you can’t look good when going to an interview either. If you opt for a more traditional flair a two-piece suit is your best option. Make sure the suit fits nicely as an ill-fitting suit can just make you look sloppy instead of professional. Pair a suit with a nice tailored shirt or a feminine top for the ladies. For the guys, make sure the tie is not wild or overly-bright as that’s the first thing that most people notice about a suit. If a traditional suit isn’t your forte guys can check out these alternatives. Ladies also have plenty of modern options too, ranging from statement dresses to sweaters paired with dress pants. Keep away from large jewelry pieces and keep colors neutral. My interview staples are a nice two-toned dress with a modern blazer along with simple but pretty earrings and a pin my mom gave me. On an even more personal note, my mom always told me to wear a nice pin with a little red in it so there would be something for the interviewer to remember me by. There are so many options when thinking about interview attire (traditional and modern) so always ask a friend or colleague if you’re unsure about your outfit of choice.

Now that the hard part is figured out, you want to make sure to feel your best and look your best. To accomplish this you’ll want to get a good night’s rest and eat a healthy breakfast. I think these steps are often overlooked because it can be so nerve wracking getting yourself prepared for an interview. I get so anxious the day before and the day of the interview that I don’t want to eat, sleep or even think. But it’s the real world and you have to actually do all of those things. To get the most out of your brain, [try to] get a solid night’s sleep. I know it’s easier said than done but it will do you a world of wonders and help you feel and look refreshed.

On the morning of the interview, you will also want to make sure to eat a healthy breakfast. Plus, I wouldn’t just make sure you have a great breakfast, I would start by having a great dinner the night before. Stay away from fatty foods and those that might make you bloat. If you are thinking about how much your stomach hurts, your full attention won’t be where it should be, which is on the interview. What should you eat? LinkedIn suggests protein for energy, Antioxidants and Omega-3 for clarity and nuts for stress. For breakfast try eggs and a tasty parfait made with yogurt, blueberries and nuts. For dinner opt for a tasty dish of chicken or salmon and quinoa with a spinach salad or seasoned vegetables. Not only will you feel great for your interview, but you’ll feel amazing for the rest of the day!

Last time we talked about ways to succeed in an interview. I think it is also important to know how to fail. Knowing ahead of time how you can blow an interview will help you to avoid those little mistakes that could cost you the big job. We all know that arriving late is a big no-no, but did you know arriving too early can cost you the job before you even interview? And, we all know that asking questions is a must. Well, be careful not to ask too many questions or your potential employer may look for someone who didn’t hijack the interview. Before you step out the door, make sure to know how to fail so you can be sure to succeed. Need answers? Check out Job Searching on for 50 of the biggest interview mistakes or for the 9 most common interview mistakes which includes appearing too arrogant or too disinterested. Now that we’re all pros, just for a laugh be sure to check out the all-time worst interview mistakes.

I think we are making great progress. We’re looking and feeling great, we know how to fail so that we can succeed, so now, we want to get to know our portfolio and have all documents ready to go for the big day. Be sure to know what to bring to the interview. Even if nothing is specifically requested by the interviewer or hiring manager, I think it is better to be prepared as it’s going to make you look even better than I know you already are. Always bring copies of your resume. You may end up going home with those copies but it’s better to have them ready in case someone asks. Another handy tip is to bring a pen and notepad. Having these things ready screams that you are prepared and organized and that you have thought ahead. Another thing you want to print is your list of references. Have a professional list ready to go at a moment’s notice so that you don’t have to scramble or try and remember someone’s information that has offered to give you a great reference. Also, if you thought of some great questions for the interviewer, write them down to be sure you don’t forget them. Just another way to show your potential employer that you’re prepared and ready for anything. Store all these things in a professional portfolio or folder.

Now that you look and feel your best, you’re prepared to highlight all your best skills and you’ve got everything to WOW your judges, it’s almost time for the interview. I hope some of these tips or links have helped you in preparing yourself for a great interview. There’s still more to learn so tune in next time to find out how to handle the ins and outs of the interview day!

Remember, you can find all the links mentioned here plus more on my Pinterest board, You’re Hired!