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How Long to Prepare for an Interview?

Successful interviews are predicated on a candidate’s ability to prepare fully beforehand.   As most job postings have a slew of successful and capable applicants, you will need a way to differentiate yourself and ensure that you present yourself in the best possible manner.  When asking how long to prepare for an interview, it is best to understand that each candidate is different, and the time needed to fully prepare will vary from candidate to candidate.

In a recent poll, nearly 64% of candidates indicated that they had prepared between 0-1 hours for an interview.  Nearly 27% indicated that they had spent between 1-2 hours preparing for an interview and 9% with over 2-hours preparing.  Although there have not been any studies completed which shows greater success in an interview when preparing for longer hours, it can be reasonably assumed that additional preparation may be a precursor to interview success.

What Goes Into an Interview?

While no two interviews are exactly the same, there is a general theme and flow of most interviews which candidates should be prepared for.  Most interviews will begin with an introductory phase, where you will be greeted by the interviewer and led to the meeting room where the interview will be held.

From there, the interviewer will ask you a list of prepared questions.  These questions can range in topic and is highly dependent on the role and the title of the position.  We’ve compiled a pretty hefty list of commonly asked interview questions which most employers look to ask interviewees.

The next phase of the interview is the interviewees time to ask questions of the interviewer.  Generally, an interviewee should look to ask a minimum of three questions, but no more than five.  These questions should be prepared beforehand and should be related to the role and the responsibilities of the role.  Interviewees should steer clear of asking personal or human resource level questions during the initial phase of the interview.

The last stage of an interview is the closing.  This is where the interview comes to an end and the interviewer will give some detail on next steps.  The interviewer may, if the interview went well, indicate specifics and how the process will continue.

How Long to Prepare for an Interview?

How to Prepare for an Interview – Your Resume

As there is no template for the questions that will be asked, it is best to review and prepare for all possible scenarios.  We highly recommend preparing at least one-hour for an interview, which will help you to feel more confident and prepared.  Not preparing for an interview can leave you scrambling for questions to ask or on how to answer certain questions.  This can derail your chances at being offered the job opportunity.

To prepare for an interview, you should begin with your own resume and experiences.  Make sure you have a full understanding of the details of your resume and can speak to specific experiences or achievements.  You should be able to explain any gaps in employment or any inconsistencies that an interviewer may inquire on.

When reviewing your resume, be sure to go into detail on your accomplishments and achievements.  You will also want to review your skills section and ensure that your knowledge of those systems and applications is up to date.

How to Prepare for an Interview – The Company

Perhaps just as important as reviewing your own resume is reviewing the company where you are interviewing.  A common interview question that interviewers ask is, “why do you want to work here” or “what do you know about our company?”  The reason this is asked is because the interviewer wants to ensure that the candidate has a level of excitement and eagerness about the opportunity.  They are looking for a candidate who looked to apply to the company and not one who merely sent out an application because they saw the job posting.

When studying and reviewing the company, be sure to go through their website and have an understanding of their offerings.  You should also check out their Glassdoor profile and see what their employees say about them.  Lastly, try to review any publicly available financial information.  You should look to gain a holistic understanding of the company and all their services and offerings.

How to Prepare for an Interview – Your Questions

A prepared interviewee is one who has a list of questions ready to ask at the end of the interview.  Interviewers have come to expect to be asked questions from the interviewee.  Questions indicate a level of interest and curiosity and not having any can be a poor sign and one that indicates a lack of preparedness.

Go through the company website and what you know about the role and the department that you are applying to.  You should look to write down three questions related to the role and the company and what the expectations of the role are.

How Long to Prepare for an Interview?

How to Prepare for an Interview – The Process

While slightly vague sounding, the process is simply a mental one.  You should prepare yourself mentally the night before an interview by ensuring you have everything needed.  Be sure to print out additional copies of your resume and hold them in a professional folder.  You should also ensure that you have your bag packed for the interview and include a notebook, pens, business cards, and other essentials for the interview.

Lastly, look to prepare for the interview by getting a good night’s sleep.  Being well-rested and attentive will help you during the interview and the interview process.  You should always look to calm your nerves beforehand, which will help you answer the interviewer’s questions.

Conclusion

Understanding how long to prepare for an interview is highly dependent on the role and title of the interview.  However, we always and highly recommend preparing for at least one-hour the day before the interview.  Be sure to go over your resume and the basics of the company and the job position which you are applying for.

You should review a list of commonly asked interview questions to help you prepare for possible questions which may be asked.  In addition, be sure to prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer towards the close of the interview.  Lastly, prepare your mind and body for the interview by going to bed early and having all necessary and essential documents ready to go.

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