Cofounder of TalentSpark, Stephanie Parker, shares tips for preparing for a job interview in this exclusive blog.

Steps to Mentally Preparing for a Job Interview

Yogi Berra famously said, “90% of the game is half-mental.” In all competitive endeavors, participants must lean into their mental toughness and preparation in order to yield positive results. This truth remains just as pressing and timeless outside of sports. Mental health awareness has skyrocketed in recent years, and tastemakers across industries have placed more emphasis on the previously ignored mental considerations of the workforce.

When preparing for a job interview, you need to be knowledgeable, poised, and confident. However, these traits don’t come naturally to most. Thankfully, they can be practiced and honed through careful and focused effort. Here are six steps to mentally prepare for your next job interview.

1. Know Yourself

The focal point of your job interview will, of course, be you. While technical proficiency is a must, the majority of the questions and conversation will pertain to your personal and professional experiences. These talking points will be drawn explicitly from your application materials.

Your resume in particular is often the only window into your personality and background that your interview may have. Therefore, you should know exactly what it contains, what questions could naturally arise regarding its contents, and how to respond. If you know your resume like the back of your hand and are able to expand upon key details, you will be mentally prepared for more than 50% of the questions coming your way.

2. Know the Firm

Beyond your work experience, the interview will also reliably revolve around your fit for this particular firm. Have a clear understanding of the company’s core values and culture so you can relate your experiences and tailor your answers to the phrases that hit home for them.

Being prepared is your sharpest weapon in the interview arsenal, so do your due diligence as it pertains to your prospective employer.

3. Focus on Establishing Rapport

After you have mastered the “nitty gritties,” which should help you rest much easier, you can turn to the softer aspects of preparing for your job interview. Throughout your preparation and mock interview scenarios, your primary focus should be on establishing meaningful rapport with your interviewers. This can be done through the following strategies:

  • Don’t over-rehearse your answers to questions. Have a bulleted outline of your responses, and fill in the details with natural conversation that pertains directly to the firm and the individual interviewer.
  • Listen intently to your interviewer’s perspectives and word choice, and respond to them by using similar language and addressing their concerns directly.
  • Ask thoughtful questions throughout the interview.
  • Make eye contact, smile, and speak confidently and steadily.

If your interviewer leaves with a positive impression of your conversation ability, you are one step closer to landing the job. Focus on being a real person, and you’re a leg up on the competition already.

4. Expect the Unexpected

One of the more impactful ways you can mentally prepare for your interview is to come to terms with the fact that you can’t prepare for everything. Nervously completing dozens of practice interview questions with the anxious hope that your discussion will stay within the bounds of your interview prep materials is short-sighted and unhelpful.

Instead, focus on being able to calmly adapt to your interviewer. Practice articulating fresh thoughts as they come to you. Listen to the actual words your interviewer is saying, and try to think of your interview as a simple conversation. Relax, adjust, and react. When a brain teaser or tricky question comes your way, take a breath, think about what’s being asked, and know that you are not supposed to know the answer off the top of your head. Proceed confidently and methodically, explaining your thought process as you go.

5. Calm Your Mind and Body

In the days leading up to your interview, invest in techniques that relax your mind and body. Take a step back from your interview prep materials each day to refresh your mind with calming imagery and sounds. Meditating, spending time outdoors, or reading a fantasy novel are great ways to practice this.

Similarly, calm your body by relieving built up tension. Exercise is proven to relieve stress and better equip your mind for peak performance. Going for a light run or walk the morning of your interview can help jumpstart your mental processes and increase your day-of clarity.

6. Lean Into Your Resources

When preparing for your job interview, leverage the resources at your disposal to improve your chances and increase your confidence. Take advantage of free online courses and interview prep materials on YouTube. Tap into your professional network and ask for interview tips and honest feedback. Finally, work with a recruiter to hone your preparation and optimize your application package. 

By working with a recruiter, you gain access to a library of interview prep materials to set you apart. Recruiters are incentivized to find successful matches, so they are committed to you doing well in your interviews. Their professional guidance is borne from years of experience helping candidates, so lean on their expertise to increase your mental confidence.

Prepare For Your Job Interview With TalentSpark

In today’s changing labor market, you need a search partner that will help you prepare the right way. TalentSpark, Idaho’s premier boutique recruitment firm, takes a personalized, highly-tailored approach to every candidate’s unique situation. By working with a recruiter who understands your goals, experiences, and culture preferences, you can help bring your resume to the top of the pile. We will source the leads and make the introductions that fit your vision and amplify your career. Get in touch with us – we can’t wait to set your mind at ease.