We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

7 Tips for Preparing for an In-Person Job Interview

Close up view of job interview in office, focus on resume

Preparing for an in-person job interview can be intimidating. What should you wear? What should you bring? What will you and the interviewer talk about? Let’s get into it.

Learn About The Company and Your Role

The first (and most important) thing you should do to prepare for your in-person job interview is to learn as much as you can about the company and the role for which you’re interviewing.

You should walk into your interview with a solid sense of what the company does. Do they provide a service? Sell a product? Perform a specific government function? You need to be able to speak confidently about the company’s mission and goals.

Start your research by looking at the company’s website. You should also check out their social media accounts (if they have them) and any recent news articles about the company.

You also need to know what your role would be. Go back to the job description and take another look at the responsibilities and characteristics for which they’re looking. Scout out similar job postings from other companies to see what kinds of responsibilities they mention.

Once you’ve done your research on the company, you can get a better idea of how your role will support the company’s overall goals and mission.

Research Your Interviewer

Most in-person job interviews will tell you ahead of time who you’ll be meeting with and what their role in the company is. You can use this information to research your interviewer (or interviewers) and get a sense for what they do and how they do it.

Many websites have staff pages. Check out your interviewer’s role on the staff page. You can also head to LinkedIn to learn more about their experience and expertise (and whether you might have any connections in common). Knowing about your interviewer can help you feel more comfortable and prepared. You won’t feel like you’re meeting a total stranger and you’ll be able to have a more in-depth conversation.

Anticipate The Questions You’ll Be Asked (And Practice Answering Them)

Young smiling man sitting on couch opposite woman, holding clipboard

Anticipating the questions you’ll be asked during your interview can help you feel prepared and less caught off-guard. There are a number of ways to do this.

First, you can safely assume that most companies will ask “standard” interview questions—previous employment experiences; strengths and weaknesses; your personal goals; and so on. Practicing these questions ahead of time will help you give stronger answers.

And by practice, we mean actually practicing answering these questions out loud. Engage a family member or friend to help you out and provide feedback.

You’ll want to answer these typical interview questions honestly and succinctly. If, for instance, you have gaps in your employment history, you should explain why. Similarly, don’t shy away from discussing areas where you’re hoping to grow. Be honest in your answers.

Some companies might ask different questions than your standard interview queries. They might have you perform an aptitude exercise or ask out-of-the-box questions. If the company you’re applying at is on the larger side, you might be able to find information about the interview process on Glassdoor or through a Google search. Regardless of whether or not the company has a unique interview process, looking through Glassdoor reviews can help you feel prepared for what you’ll face when you show up for your interview.

Dress Appropriately

You should be sure to dress appropriately for your in-person job interview. You can get a feel for the company’s dress code by looking at their website. If you’re applying to a big corporation or a fancy law firm, you’ll likely need to wear a suit. If you’re interviewing at a tech company or something smaller and more casual, you might get away with wearing a business casual outfit such as khakis and a collared shirt.

Regardless of the specific dress code, you need to make sure that your clothes are clean and tailored. Use an iron to remove any wrinkles and make sure your clothing fits you well. Your overall goal is to look well put-together, so make sure your hair, shoes, and nails are neat, too.

If you’re unsure about a dress code, err on the side of dressing more formally. Wear a suit.

Arrive Early

applicants sitting in waiting room preparing for interview

You should always plan to get to your interview at least ten minutes before it’s scheduled to start.

Research the route you’ll take to your interview ahead of time. If you’re driving, consider traffic. Will it be heavy or light at the time of your interview? If you’re taking public transportation, make sure you know the route. Are there any transfers or service closures that will impact your ability to arrive on time?

Make sure that you set the interview for a time when you can easily arrive without much hassle. If you’re rushing to get to an interview after finishing up at your current job, you might be stressed out or run into an unforeseen complication. Pick a time that works for you so you can arrive comfortably early.

Ask Your Own Questions

While an in-person interview is a great opportunity for a company to get to know you, it’s also an opportunity for you to get to know the company. Interviewers not only expect you to ask questions, but they can also be put off if you don’t. After all, the interview is the chance for both you and your potential employer to figure out whether the job is a good fit.

Come to your interview prepared with your own list of questions. Your interviewer will likely ask whether you have questions, but you can also weave them into the rest of your conversation.

The questions you ask should be thoughtful and well-prepared. Here are some questions you might want to ask about your role:

  • What are the role’s day-to-day responsibilities?
  • What will you be responsible for producing?
  • What are the key indicators of success for the role?

You can also use your interview to ask questions about the company. Here are some questions you might want to ask about the company:

  • What is the interviewer’s favorite thing about working for the company?
  • What goals is the company working towards achieving?
  • How would the interviewer describe the company’s culture?

You want to emerge from your in-person interview with a solid idea of whether or not this role and this company are a great fit for you.

Follow Up With a Thank You

You should always follow your interview up with a quick thank you note to your interviewer. You can send this note the day after your interview.

Your note doesn’t have to be very long. Simply thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you and reiterate your interest in the position and the company.

If for whatever reason, you’re no longer interested in the role, you can say so in your thank you note. Thank the interviewer for their time and let them know you’ve decided to go in a different direction.

Job interviews can be scary! But they don’t have to be. The more job interviews you do, the better you’ll be. Review the tips outlined in this article as you prepare for your in-person job interview so that you feel comfortable and confident on the day of your meeting.

Hayley Milliman Hayley Milliman
Hayley is a former Teach for America teacher turned curriculum developer and writer. Over the past five years, she's written hundreds of articles on everything from education to personal finance to history. She's co-author of the book  Females. Read Full Bio »
LifeSavvy is focused on one thing: making your life outside of work even better. Want to know more?