Career Advice

The Ultimate Job Interview Preparation Guide

A Guide to Acing Your Interview and Negotiating Your Job Offer

Acing a job interview has as much to do with the way you prepare as it does your poise and confidence in the interview chair.

You should spend the time leading up to your interview learning as much as you can about the company you’re applying to, from the company’s culture to the interview questions that are likely to be asked. If your research is thorough, you will be in a great position to ace your job interview and get the job you’ve been dreaming of.

This guide will cover: How to use Glassdoor to prepare for and ace your interview, common questions in the interview, how to practice your interview anecdotes, interview advice from recruiters, how to dress for the interview, how to spot interview red flags and what to do after your interview.


Guide Overview
  1. How to Ace the Interview Using Glassdoor
  2. Prepare for Common Questions
  3. Practice Your Anecdotes
  4. Read Advice from Recruiters
  5. How to Dress
  6. What Hiring Managers Expect
  7. Interview Red Flags
  8. What to Do After the Interview  

How to Ace the Interview Using Glassdoor

Job interviews can be challenging if you don’t have all the information you need, but Glassdoor has extensive information on thousands of companies, from salary ranges to interview questions to reviews from current and former employees. In fact, people who apply via Glassdoor are 2x more likely to be hired because of fit.

We’ve put together a video series on using Glassdoor to Ace the interview with career coach and founder/CEO of WorkItDaily.com, J.T. O’Donnell.

This series will show you how to use Glassdoor as a resource for:

  • Familiarizing yourself with the company
  • Preparing for your interview and preparing questions to ask during the interview
  • Knowing what to evaluate about the company to decide if it’s a good fit for you
  • Managing your expectations with research to know exactly what it’s like to work for this company
How to Ace the Interview Using Glassdoor

Prepare for Common Questions

Before you set foot in your interview, you should prepare by testing yourself with interview questions that are commonly asked in the company’s industry or, better yet, commonly asked in the company’s interviews.

Use Glassdoor to search interview questions that are asked at the company you’re interviewing with, to get insights into the exact questions recruiters and hiring managers will ask.

Here’s an easy cheat sheet:

Prepare for Common Questions

Practice Your Anecdotes

It’s one thing to say that you work well on a team, but another entirely to share an anecdote about how you held a team together during a crisis.

Interviewers will ask for anecdotes that demonstrate qualities essential for the job you’re interviewing for, so prepare to provide anecdotes for prompts like these:

Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of.

Always talk about an accomplishment that displays skills that are required by the job you are interviewing for.

Tell me about a time you made a mistake.

Choose a mistake from the beginning of your career that led to an important lesson being learned and useful experience being gained.

Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.

Make sure not to cast blame on others for and focus on the solution you provided.

Give a time when you went above and beyond the requirements for a project.

First, define what was required of you and then define how you went beyond these requirements.

Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.

Blaming or bad-mouthing isn’t the right route to take. Focus on how you worked together with your boss to move past the disagreement and reach an understanding.

What are some of your leadership experiences?

Don’t get caught up in just listing every leadership role you’ve ever had — think about the ones where you truly made a difference.

Practice Your Anecdotes

Read Advice from Recruiters

Recruiters read thousands of resumes and interview hundreds of candidates per year, so reading advice from recruiters will serve you well.

Take a Look Behind the Scenes

“Before you apply for a job, not only check out the company website, but find them on social media to get a sense of what the culture is like. Austin Graff, Talent Acquisition & Branding Specialist at The Washington Post

Double Check the Job Description

“Job seekers should take a thorough look at the job description, sometimes job titles can vary from company to company and it’s important the job seeker know what the job entails.” Mary Ellen Appel, Recruiter at TruGreen

Apply to Companies That Match Your Values

“As a job seeker you should research potential employers and know if the organization represents your own personal values.” Yvonne Vitale, Talent Acquisition Consultant at Kaiser Permanente

Read Advice from Recruiters

How to Dress

The expectations for what is appropriate to wear to a job interview will depend on the company you’re applying to, and you should find out what these expectations are before the interview.

Consider the Company

Check out the office photos of a company shared by employees on Glassdoor to see what the company culture, its people and the work environment look and feel like.

Plan a Dress Rehearsal

Don’t wait until the morning of your interview to make sure your clothes fit and match.

Consider the Effects of Video

If you’re preparing for a Skype interview or any other type of video interview, test your interview outfit to see if it looks strange on camera.

Don’t Overstress Your Outfit

Don’t spend too much time focused on your clothing, as you don’t want to procrastinate on preparing for the actual interview itself.

How to Dress

What Hiring Managers Expect

What hiring managers expect from an ideal candidate will depend on the job and the level of experience that the job requires. However, all hiring managers will expect you to demonstrate your value in the interview in the following ways:

Emphasize your achievements at past jobs

Conveying to your interviewer that you were an effective employee in the past is perhaps the most important message to get across, because this is a clear sign that you’ll be an effective employee.

Present your unique value proposition

Your past work experience should have molded you into an employee with a unique set of skills and capabilities that set you apart from other candidates. Now, it’s up to you to bundle all of these valuable traits together and present them as your sales pitch on why you should be hired.

Showcase your hard skills and technical expertise

Many job interviews de-emphasize soft skills and focus on what you can actually do as an employee. Those who show a superior technical proficiency will be the ones who edge out a win here.

What Hiring Managers Expect

Interview Red Flags

Just like recruiters and hiring managers look for “red flags” in candidates, you should be looking for red flags in the interview that this company isn’t right for you.

Job Description Amnesia

Watch out for interviewers who dance around specifics or seem to have forgotten the role they’re hiring for.

Company Culture Conflict

If you notice that a company presents a great public image but you experience something radically different, that’s a red flag.

Repetitive Questions

Repeated questions can imply that the interviewer is “dialing it in” or does not have specific questions for you as a candidate.

Lack Luster Leadership

According to Glassdoor research, the number one factor of company culture that matters most to a satisfied workforce is the opinion of senior leadership. Be sure to ask questions about the company leadership and read reviews of the CEO on Glassdoor.

Future Fuzziness

Similar to leadership, one thing to dig into while you’re interviewing is the company mission, goals and roadmap. If the future is fuzzy to those within the company, that may be a red flag that the ship is either shaky or sinking.

Unpreparedness

A lack of preparation by your interviewer is a red flag, and only you can decide how important that red flag is to your final decision of whether to take the job.

Drawn out Interviews

If you’re an informed candidate, you should move through an interview process faster and a good company that really wants you should find ways to remove hurdles and bottlenecks that may cause you to decline an offer.

Interview Red Flags

What to Do After the Interview  

After your job interview, it’s in your best interest to ensure that your interviewer remembers you by following up and thanking them for the opportunity.

Follow up

Be sure to get the contact information of your interviewer at the end of the interview and follow up with a brief message expressing your interest and gratitude for the interview opportunity in following days.

Say thank you in a personal way

Saying ‘thank you’ in a meaningful way makes a huge impression, especially on busy interviewers.