Going for a job interview can be one of the most stressful parts of the professional world.

sweat1

The enclosed space. The one on one conversation. The constant questions. Not to mention you feel the need to be perfect. However, it does not have to be stressful. Here are 5 tips on how to prepare for a job interview and get you on your way to land the dream job.

1) Do your research

Make sure you know everything there is to know about the company you are applying to. They will likely ask you something relating to their company to make sure you know who they are and what they stand for. This will prepare you for that. Besides, if you know know what they do and what they’re looking for, you can sell yourself using specific details that speak to their needs. Plus, as an added bonus, you can answer other questions by including information about the company.

2) Ask your own questions

The one question that will put you ahead of the competition is, “What are you looking for in a candidate for this position?” Not only does the question show you’re a straightforward man, you can use their answer to tell them exactly why you’re the right person for the job.

Remember as well to keep it human and to have a normal conversation. Recently I was in an interview and I asked the women interviewing me how she was doing and she told me no one she had spoken to that day had asked her that. Make sure you ask questions back, it lets them know you are paying attention. Besides, in the setting of “normal conversation” she will get a better idea of who you are as a person.

3) Practice your answers

With most job interviews you can assume the types of questions they will ask you. Practice your answers to those questions. And try to remember to include why YOU are the best person for the job, not just that you have the qualifications. Pro tip: practice general ideas, not an actual script. Since you can’t really plan the outline of a conversation, attempting to recite something you memorized will be both difficult and noticeably disingenuous.

4) Dress for Success

Dress yourself up. You might be the most intelligent and most qualified person in the room, but unfortunately, if you don’t look the part you won’t get the job. As Malcolm Gladwell points out in his best-seller Blink, how you look is a key decider of whether you get the job–to the extent that short people almost never make it to executive positions–and most employers are going to judge you based on the outfit you wear to your interview.

5) Follow up!

Most people see the interview as the final step to getting the job but it isn’t. Follow up with an email or with a phone call and thank the person who interviewed you for the opportunity. Following up also gives you an opportunity to convey any information that you might have missed during the interview and shows the interviewer that you’re thorough and confident.

Breathe. Stay calm. Most job interviews are set up to be a conversation. This is not an interrogation. Just listen to the questions and answer them honestly and calmly.

Now suit up, and go get it!