How to Answer Interview Questions & Land the Job You Want

interview preparation tips

For many people, a job interview can be an unsettling experience. But if you prepare well by following the guidelines listed below, the experience can be enjoyable. If you emerge from an interview having enjoyed yourself and sensing that the interviewer did too, chances are good you’ll land the job.

The key to a good interview is to be authentically you, not the person you think the interviewer is looking for. Be professional and pleasant, answering all questions thoughtfully and honestly.

“The most important component of the interview is your likability,” says Michael Beygelman, CEO of talent search and acquisition platform provider Joberate. Your likability depends a lot on coming across as an authentic, enthusiastic and confident person. Strive to be relaxed.

Learn about your potential employer

Some preparation is important before the interview to demonstrate your understanding of the company. Make sure you know exactly what the company does and ask yourself how the position you are interviewing for fits into the big picture.

You should have more than a general idea of the company’s business, though. Dig into recent news about the company. Knowing what recent headlines the company has made will give you talking points.

Other ways to research the company: An increasing number of employment-related websites offer company profiles, in addition to listing job opportunities. These sites—among them, Glassdoor, Indeed and Jobster—also provide unvarnished assessments from current and past employees. LinkedIn is another good resource. You can learn about your interviewer’s background and interests through his or her LinkedIn profile.

Online CEO ratings are also helpful. They can provide a litmus test of what it might be like to work for the business. Profiles of top executives offer a window into a company’s management style and its workforce culture.

Make the interview a two-way discussion

Along with doing research so that you will feel informed and have a better idea of whether the company is a good fit, you should have a strategy for the interview discussion itself. Rather than merely talking about your accomplishments, highlight how you overcame challenges you confronted on previous work assignments. The idea is to break down the interviewer-interviewee wall, making the interview a two-way discussion.

You might also consider bringing along samples of your work, in case the interviewer asks about a particular project on your resume.

Be yourself

Interviewers are not just looking for someone who will excel at the job, but someone they will enjoy working with and who comes across as real. You should be courteous and professional at all times. Remember to be aware of your body language and tone of voice.

Ultimately, interviewers are looking for someone who is enthusiastic about the job, has the skills to do it well, and—most importantly—is someone they sense will be a pleasure to work with, day in and day out.