The Best Job Interview Tips Everyone Should Follow
If you have a big interview coming up for a job you really want, your excitement may be tinged with apprehension. Maybe you’re just starting your career, so you’re unfamiliar with the interview process, or maybe this opportunity represents a major change in your life, so you feel less confident than usual.
Maybe you just want this job badly. Regardless, all those nerves are making it difficult to see clearly and strategize.
No matter what kind of job you’re applying for, the best interview preparation practices are more or less the same. Here are the essential tips and strategies to help you ace your next job interview.
Are you ready to get the job you want? Let’s get started with these essential job interview tips!
The Essential Job Interview Tips
Do your research on the industry and the company
You may be asked about the company’s position in the industry, its competitors, its competitive advantages, and how the company should proceed. Therefore, avoid researching a dozen different industries in depth. Instead, narrow your job search to just a few industries.
Describe your “selling points” and why you want the job
You should prepare three to five key selling points for every interview, such as what makes you the best candidate. You should have an example of each selling point in mind (“I have excellent communication skills.
For example, I convinced an entire group to…”). Prepare to explain why you want the job, including what interests you about it, what rewards it offers that are valuable to you, and what abilities it requires.
It doesn’t matter how good you are if the interviewer doesn’t think you’re really, really interested in the job.
Be prepared for the interviewer’s concerns and reservations
There are always more candidates than openings for positions. In order to screen people out, interviewers look for ways to do so. Imagine yourself in their shoes and ask yourself why they might not want to hire you (“I don’t have this,” “I’m not that,” etc.).
Have a defence ready and, say: “I know you might think I am not the best candidate because of [their reservation]. You should know that [reason the interviewer shouldn’t be overly concerned].”
Become familiar with common interview questions
There are a hundred or more “common interview questions” in every “how to interview” book. How do you prepare if there are so many?
Think about which questions you’re most likely to encounter based on your age and status (about to graduate, looking for a summer internship). During the interview, prepare your answers so you won’t have to fumble for them. Start preparing for common interview questions here.
Prepare your questions for the interviewer
Prepare some intelligent questions for the interviewer that demonstrate your knowledge of the company and your serious intent. Interviewers always ask if you have any questions, and no matter what, you should have a few prepared.
If you say, “No, not really,” he or she may conclude that you aren’t interested in the job or the company. If you could design the ideal candidate for this position from the ground up, what would he or she be like?
It’s all about practice
A mental answer to a question like “Why should we hire you?” is one thing; saying it out loud confidently and convincingly is another. You’ll sound garbled and confused the first time you try it, no matter how clear your thoughts are! You’ll sound a lot smoother and more articulate after doing it 10 times.
However, you shouldn’t practice when you are “on stage” with a recruiter; rehearse before the interview. What is the best way to practice? Try interviewing two friends in a “round robin”: one person is the observer, and the “interviewee” receives feedback from both the observer and the interviewer. Continually switch roles for four or five rounds.
Make a list of your selling points for this position
It’s essential to think carefully about what skills, accomplishments, and interview answers will resonate with your interviewers most for this job, even if you’re an experienced interviewer. What are your management skills? How creative are you? Review your research and determine what makes you most qualified.
Make sure your outfit is ready
Dressing appropriately for a job interview is extremely important. To avoid scrambling, choose an outfit a couple of days in advance so that you have everything you need and your clothes are clean and ironed.
As you dress, make sure your hair is neat and tidy, and your makeup enhances your appearance without being too dramatic. Don’t know what to wear? Check out this guide.
You should be prepared to tell the interviewer about yourself
Your “Tell me about yourself” answer should be tailored to this job and company for every interview. Almost all interviewers ask this question or something similar, like “Walk me through your resume,”-to start off the conversation, so you want to be prepared.
You should know why you are interested in this position at this company
You’ll likely be asked why you’re interested in this particular role and company. To make sure that you can answer this question, identify a couple of key factors about the job and the organization that aligns with your skills, interests, and/or work style and get you excited about the position.
(And if you can’t, you shouldn’t be in the interview!) You can use this to inform your answers to other questions, even if you’re not asked about it specifically.
Consider your salary expectations
You can also calculate how much money you’d like to make in your next role by thinking about your qualifications and conducting plenty of research. While you probably don’t want to discuss salary during the early stages of an interview, an interviewer may ask you about your salary expectations.
You’ll also be in a stronger position if you receive an offer and want to negotiate (which you definitely should).
Make a note of important numbers and details
Numbers are important! Use revenue figures, engagement numbers, budget or team sizes, or percentages of time saved to show your impact. Including numbers when discussing your responsibilities and accomplishments or answering behavioral interview questions is a great way to tell a hiring manager why you’re so awesome.
Consider your body language
Learn what certain body language conveys. Pay attention to what you’re communicating through your posture and stance.
Think your movements through ahead of time so you aren’t distracted (or distracted) during the interview. (For example, sitting with your arms and legs crossed sends a message that you are closed-off and defensive.)
If you’re on video, think about how you’ll show that you’re actively engaged. For example, place your Zoom window near the camera so that you don’t look away from your interviewer or show that you’re listening without cutting off the microphone by making non-verbal gestures.
Make a list of references
It’s a good idea to prepare a reference list, regardless of whether you think you’ll be asked for one. Make sure to include the name, title, organization, division, or department, telephone number, and email address of each reference, along with a brief explanation (e.g., “Carlton was my team leader for two years, during which we collaborated on four major product launches).
When it comes to in-person interviews, bringing a hard copy is a good idea, and when it comes to later rounds, being ready to send the file as soon as you are asked is also a good idea.
If any technology is needed, test it
Whether you’re conducting your interview over the phone or over the computer, make sure your hardware, software, and network connections are working smoothly. Use headphones with a microphone if possible, and make sure they’re connected before the interview begins.
Make a plan for where you want to go and how you will get there
Plan your route ahead of time (including where you’ll park) whether you’re driving or taking public transportation. If you need to buy tickets, add money to your metro card, fill up your tank, or do anything else that could slow you down on your way to your interview, do so now.
Be prepared for delays in traffic and transit by knowing how long it should take you to get there.
Prepare yourself by calming your nerves or getting pumped up
It’s important to get yourself in the right frame of mind as soon as possible before your interview (or as close to it as possible). Plan ahead to use whatever tools you need to deal with your nervousness.
Consider what works for you out of these methods. There may be a friend who can pump you up (or talk you down) over the phone or text or a song that always makes you feel like you can do anything.
You might need to do some breathing exercises or give yourself a pep talk in the car. Whatever you need to do to get mentally ready, set aside some time to do it.
After the interview, send a thank you letter
During the interview process, ask for each person’s business card so you can follow up individually with a thank you email. Send follow-up emails the same day if you interviewed in the morning.
The next morning is fine if you interviewed in the afternoon. Utilize the notes you took during the conversations to differentiate each email.