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Tips to Prepare for a Job Interview (And How to Negotiate the Best Salary When You Get It)

Tips to Prepare for a Job Interview (And How to Negotiate the Best Salary When You Get It)

You have your degree, and are now ready to get your first “real” job. These tips will help you put your best foot forward and stand out against other new college graduates. Plus we included a few bonus tips to help you negotiate your best pay.

Interview Prep

The more prepared you are going into an interview, the more confidently you will present yourself. Some quick tips are: dress the part, make sure you know where you are going ahead of time, get a good night’s sleep, and have copies of your resume printed. In addition, keep the following tips in mind when preparing for your next interview:

Research the Company

It is crucial to know about the organizations you are applying to. Do research on their website, look through their marketing materials, see if there are any articles about them, and even speak to employees. This information will come in handy when you are asked “Why do you want to work for this company”

Identify What You Have to Sell

Identify what your top three skills or experiences are that you can offer the employer. Know these going into the interview and answer questions in a way that will highlight these.

Prepare Examples

Be ready to back up any claims you make in a job interview. Many people will say that they work well under pressure, or they are a strong problem solver, but few will have solid examples of when they displayed these skills, and can show how it had a positive impact on a project.

Be Ready With Intelligent Questions

Most interviewers will ask you at some point if you have any questions. Prepare some ahead of time, and try to jot some down while you are interviewing. Having these questions will demonstrate your interest in the position.

Rehearse Your Close

Just like a good salesman has their way to win the sale, you will need to prepare your close so you can win the interview. Have a summary prepared that emphasizes your strengths, and work in knowledge gained from the interview to demonstrate how your strengths will help the company.


This cannot be emphasized enough. Find common interview questions, and look for ones specific to your industry. Practice with a friend, or look to see if your school offers mock interviews at the campus career center.

Negotiating Your Salary


Know Your Worth

Do your research to know what the standard pay is in your area for your profession. If you will need to relocate, research cost of living for your new city to ensure your income will be sufficient. And remember, more pay isn’t always the most important. Ensure you will be satisfied in your new job.

Show Your Worth

Make a list of big projects you worked on, and your contributions to their success. Show a zest for learning by showing any certifications you have earned, or extra professional development you have done.

Don’t Forget About Benefits

Although it is nice to get a higher pay, don’t discount the benefits your employer offers. Things like health care, 401(k) matching, and pension plans can all go to help your paycheck go further. Others may offer more vacation time, or the ability to work remotely. Many HR departments can put together Total Compensation numbers to show what employer contributions add to your annual salary.

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