Interview Tips Table of Contents:
- Preparing for the Interview Tips
- The Day Of: Tips for the Few Hours Prior to the Interview
- Tips and Advice for Acing the Interview
- Tips for Answering Interview Questions
- After the Interview Is Over
Do you have a job interview lined up and worried about how it’ll go?
Not to worry!
Whether it’s your first job interview or you’re an interview veteran, this article is packed with interviewing tips that are sure to help you land the job.
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Here are our best interview tips for acing your important job meeting:
Tips on Preparing for the Interview
1. Know the Job Description Inside and Out
Preparing for an interview happens as soon as you find a job offer you’d like to apply for, in a sense. While you don’t get a cheat sheet on what questions will be asked in an interview, you do have the job description, which is pretty close.
In the job description, the hiring manager is telling you exactly what kind of person the company is looking for, from the skills needed to fill the job to the past experience they’d like you to have. So, though it can’t guide you in answering all of the interview questions, it does give you a sense as to what they seek in a candidate.
2. Research the Company
Before you go to your interview and speak with the hiring manager, be sure to know as much as possible about the company. This will give you a better understanding of the company culture and goals, and it enables you to customize your replies to best answer the interview questions thrown your way.
Related Read: How to Research a Company for Employment Success
3. Investigate Who’ll Interview You
Additionally, research your interviewer, if possible. With this info in your arsenal, you can comment on their love for baseball or compliment them on their vocational successes, for example. Knowing a bit about the person interviewing you can help ease tension, highlight your enthusiasm for the chance to be hired, and simply impress them with your depth of knowledge.
4. Practice Common Interview Questions
Interviews are all about the employer getting to know you, of course, and interview questions will take up the majority of your time while there. While you can’t know all the questions interviewers will ask at the interview, you can practice some of the most popular ones asked at most interviews.
Common interview questions include:
- Why do you want to work at this company?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- Tell me a little bit about yourself.
- Why should we hire you?
- What are your strengths?
- How well will you be able to perform the job duties?
- What are your weaknesses?
- What do you do in your spare time?
- What motivates or inspires you?
5. Have a Few Good Questions to Ask the Interviewer
They invite you to an interview seeking to get to know more about you and whether or not you’ll be a good fit for them, but it’s about you, too. Make sure to ask a few questions of your own at the interview. Not only will it help you determine if this is really a place you want to work at, but interviewers expect you to ask questions at an interview. Usually, towards the end of the meeting, they’ll say something like, “So, do you have any questions for me?”
Here are a few great questions to ask at an interview:
- Are there additional steps in this interview process?
- If hired, what will my daily routine be like?
- If hired, what will I be expected to accomplish in my first few months?
- What does a successful candidate look like to you?
The Day Of: Tips for the Few Hours Prior to the Interview
6. Get a Great Night’s Sleep
Okay, well technically you’ll do this the night before, but getting a great night’s sleep is a crucial part of doing well at an interview, just as it is with college exams. It’s well known that a lack of sleep affects job performance, but it can also affect your job interview performance, and not in a good way.
Wind things down early on the evening before, and don’t have a late coffee or too much alcohol which might keep sleep away. Also, stay off your phone or computer an hour before bed so the blue light doesn’t ruin your chances of getting some Zs.
7. Plan to Arrive Extra Early
One of my favorite interview tips is to arrive early. But, I’m not talking about just 5 or 10 minutes ahead of time. I’m talking like a whole hour early, if possible.
My advice is to arrive at the interview building an hour before the interview, and then go sit down at a nearby cafe or diner. This way, you can calm your nerves, reduce your heart rate after the commute, gather your thoughts, run over your notes once more, and just be sure you don’t have something unexpected get in the way of your big day.
8. Have 5 Physical Copies of Your Resume & Cover Letter
Print out 5 copies of your resume and cover letter and carry them to your interview. Physical copies may not be necessary, but it’s useful just in case. And, why not show them you’re prepared? Also, in case it might be a group interview, having 5 copies ensures you have enough hard copies of your cover letter and resume to pass around.
9. Bring the Right Items to an Interview
In addition to bringing physical copies of your resume and cover letter, there are several other items to bring along. Pack your purse or briefcase with a pain reliever in case of a pre-interview headache, napkins in case of any spills, and wet wipes to dab your sweaty brow and palms. Take a pen or two in case you need to sign any documents, and your phone charger just to be safe.
Related Read: What to Bring to an Interview?
10. Don’t OD on Coffee
If you rely on caffeine to start your day, you definitely shouldn’t skip it. If you’re like me (and I hope not, in this case!), you could get a migraine if you don’t get your coffee fix soon after you wake up. However, just don’t overdo it. Too much caffeine will get your heart racing, your anxiety up, and cause you to sweat more. On top of that, it may have you needing the restroom at one of the most inopportune moments of your professional life. Have one small cup and wait until after the interview for any more.
Tips and Advice for Acing the Interview
11. Smile & Be Friendly With Everyone You Meet
You’re there to make a good impression with the interviewer, of course, but don’t brush off the company’s other employees. Whether it’s the receptionist at the front desk or a business analyst you pass on your way to the interview room, give everyone a friendly smile and a nod or wave. Not only might these people have some sway in whether or not you get hired, but they’ll hopefully be your future colleagues, after all!
12. Start With a Positive Comment
When you first shake hands and sit down at the table with your interviewer, start everything off with a positive comment. Say something like, “Thanks so much for the opportunity; I was really looking forward to this particular interview!”
First impressions are key, and this will immediately show them some of your excitement, positivity, and enthusiasm for the job. And, it could lead to follow-up questions which you’re sure to nail, given that you researched the company and know the job description inside and out beforehand!
13. Take Notes
Taking notes in a small notebook at your job interview is one of the best interview tips out there. You’ll score some points with the hiring manager by showing off your work ethic and organization as you jot down what they say. Also, it’s a great way to write down any information they give you, especially when you’re asking the questions.
Also, since you’re bringing your notepad, have it prepopulated with prompts for questions you want to ask, any points you wanted to mention, names for references, and choice achievements from your university days or past work experience.
14. Pay Attention to Your Body Language
Your mouth may be answering the questions, but other parts of your body communicate, as well. Make eye contact to appear honest and confident, and give a firm handshake before and after the interview. Enunciate your words when responding to their queries, and sit up straight to look professional.
15. Be Ready for Their Reservations
While you may dream of going to an interview and the hiring manager falling madly in love with you (as a candidate, that is) by the middle of your meeting, it usually doesn’t work this way. HR reps and hiring managers will likely have their reservations and a few concerns about you, just as with any candidate they’re considering. Know your weaknesses and anticipate any hesitation or concerns they might have in hiring you. That way, you’ll be able to immediately speak to it if and when the moment arrives.
Tips for Answering Interview Questions
16. Don’t Diss Your Old Company
Talking negatively about your former employer, however justified you believe it may be, is always in bad taste. It shows disloyalty, which might make them hesitate to be the next employer you talk bad about. Also, it raises questions about your past situation, and it could give them the sense that you’re simply a potential problem they’d best steer clear of.
17. Use the STAR Method to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions
Behavioral interview questions are one of the common types you’ll be given at your meeting, a question they ask to see how well you’d behave in certain situations based on how you handled similar situations in the past.
There’s a great trick to answering them correctly every time: the STAR method. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result, and it helps you form a response to their question exactly to their liking. Here’s what it looks like:
- First, think of a challenging situation from the past.
- Describe the tasks you were responsible for.
- Detail the actions you took to remedy the situation.
- Identify the results of your actions.
Simple, right? And, the great thing is, it works every time!
18. Show, Don’t Tell
When the interviewer asks you about your skills or your past experience working with such-and-such, don’t just say you’re great at it. This doesn’t really tell them anything. Rather, give concrete examples with quantifiable results to prove you’re as skilled or experienced as you say.
19. Don’t Ask About Salary or Benefits
Asking about your pay, benefits or perks, or things of this nature always feels a bit presumptuous, at the very least. Save these questions for a follow-up email later, or reread the company’s job description to see if you missed it. When the time comes and they offer you the job, then you can ask any final questions you have about the pay or perks before accepting their offer.
20. Don’t Lie!
Lying is a no-no at interviews, as you might imagine. While you may impress them for that moment with your lie or embellishment, it’s sure to get found out eventually, which will hurt more in the long run. Stick to the truth!
After the Interview Is Over
21. Don’t Let Your Guard Down
Once the interview is over, you’ll likely feel a wave of relief at having made it through in one piece. But, just because you’ve left the room, it doesn’t mean they’re done assessing you. Be kind to anyone you encounter on the way out, and don’t immediately pull out your phone and start texting. Wait until you get home to do your little happy dance (or any eye rolls you may have wanted to give during the interview).
22. Write a Thank You Email After the Interview
After waiting a day or two following a job interview, write a thank you letter as an email to the hiring manager. Tell them that you appreciate their time, and that you have your fingers crossed about their answer. Be courteous and enthusiastic, without being pushy. Not only will this give you bonus points towards your candidate score, but it may also serve as a gentle reminder for them, letting them know that you are still there and waiting for their decision without being impolite about it.
23. Prepare for Any Followup Interviews
You might have prepared well for this interview, but don’t slack off just yet. Your interview process could have two or three interviews, and they’re usually each harder than the last. To make sure you’re ready for any second interviews or third interviews, read our guide.
Related Read: How to Prepare for an Interview
24. Ask for Feedback
While following the interview tips above will definitely help you improve your chances, there could be any of a number of reasons for you not getting the job this time around. Instead of wondering what went wrong, ask them! Send them an email politely requesting their feedback and ways you could improve in the future, and use their advice the next time around.
25. Don’t Get Discouraged!
The interview process may be tough, and it can easily get discouraging. But, try not to let it get you down, even if you get a negative response. Most people need to go to multiple interviews before getting employed, so it’s important that you keep pounding the pavement until you get there. If you keep it up and keep following our successful tips for interviewing, you’re bound to get a “yes” in no time!
Well, that’s all our interview tips and tricks for now, and we hope they help you to ace your next interview! Got any questions, feedback, or other tips for interviews we should include on our list? Let us know in the comments below, and thank you for reading!