3 Great Tips for a Successful Job Interview
If you have an upcoming job interview, you probably already know that you should research the position and the employer so that you have a thorough understanding of the workplace culture, the business objectives, the company’s place in the industry, the responsibilities you’ll have, and skills you must bring to the table.
Not only will this research prepare you to tailor your answers to the specific needs of the company, but your knowledge of the business and its mission is also likely to impress the interviewer. In addition, the information you find will help you come up with questions for the interviewer to show that you’ve done your due diligence and are serious about the job—you should always have some meaningful questions of your own prepared to demonstrate your enthusiasm and engagement.
You probably also know that you should approach the interview with a positive attitude and showcase your best qualities—remember that it’s all about selling yourself as an employee and as a person, so don’t be shy about highlighting your top skills. However, do be careful not to descend into arrogance. The line between confidence and arrogance is a fine one to walk, so if you’re not sure how you’re coming across, try a mock interview with one of our job success experts.
Dressing appropriately for the occasion, being mindful of your vocabulary, and being aware of your body language are all great tips for interview preparation, but the best one we can give you is to practice. Practice does make perfect, and when you’re well-prepared, you’re less likely to scramble for answers to tough questions and more likely to speak about yourself, your goals, and your expectations with confidence. Practice can take various forms, be it looking up the most common interview questions and formulating your answers to them, doing mock interviews and recording them so you can evaluate your performance, or trying on your interview outfit to make sure it’s comfortable and compliments you. Practicing will also help your answers flow more smoothly and prepare you for even the toughest and most unexpected questions.
You can practice your answers to common interview questions alone, maybe recording yourself in front of a mirror, but you can get much more out of this exercise by doing it with another person. It could be a friend, a colleague, or an expert who can conduct a mock interview with you and offer constructive feedback. Our specialists will not only help you improve your interview skills but also boost your confidence, which is vital for succeeding in a job interview.
So, how can you maximize your chances of acing your job interview?
1. Make a strong impression in the first five minutes
Most interviewers and hiring managers have busy schedules and will be meeting with multiple job applicants in a day, so you should aim to make a strong impression in the first five minutes. The interviewer’s first impression of you will likely have a great impact on how the meeting proceeds and what happens next, so make sure to put your best foot forward. You want to not only be memorable (for all the right reasons!) but also prove that you’re the top choice for the position. So, how can you score a win when you’ve just walked through the door?
First, pick an appropriate outfit—something professional that also looks good on you, that compliments rather than overshadows you, but make sure it’s comfortable; otherwise, it will be hard to present a confident front.
Once you’re facing the interviewer, a positive attitude can do wonders, and your knowledge of the company and the position will definitely give you a leg up. Introduce yourself with a smile and a firm handshake, and thank them for their time. Say something good about the company and mention how much you’ve been looking forward to this meeting and to learning more about the role. Prepare a few selling points that showcase your skills, specifically those that match the job requirements. Essentially, present yourself as an enthusiastic candidate who’s grateful for the opportunity to interview for the job and confident in their abilities to do it well.
If the first question they ask is, “What can you tell me about yourself?” use this as an opportunity to explain why you’re the best person for the job—don’t go sharing your entire life story. This question isn’t really about your family history or your hobbies but who you are as a worker, how you’ll fit into the company, how this job would impact your life, and how your goals align with theirs, so make sure you seize this opportunity to sell yourself and make a great impression right from the start. Obviously, you should always tell the truth, but aim to align your answer with the company’s goals. There are multiple sides to everyone, so present the side of you that best reflects what the company wants.
2. Be assertive and sell yourself
Although it’s important to be polite, don’t let yourself slip into passivity. The interviewer might be doing most of the asking, but remember that this is still a conversation between two people trying to assess whether they’re a good match. Therefore, when the time is right, make a point of sharing your greatest professional achievements, your aspirations, and any awards or recognition you’ve received for your work. Employers don’t want passive workers—they look for driven individuals who are confident in their skills and can take the initiative when needed. Of course, you don’t want to be too forceful or aggressive—find the ideal middle ground and position yourself there.
Don’t let the interviewer intimidate you, ask you inappropriate or illegal questions about gender, religion, or sexual orientation, or try to turn the meeting into a tug-of-war. This is your interview, and it’s your responsibility to make sure the other person walks away knowing everything they need to know about you. If the interviewer does start throwing inappropriate questions at you, react professionally and confidently, standing up for yourself without getting angry or aggressive. If you don’t get the job, don’t sweat it—that likely wouldn’t have been a great work environment anyway.
3. End the interview on a positive note
Regardless of how you feel the interview went, you should always end it on a positive note. It may have gone much better than you think, and you certainly don’t want to let your negative perception sour things at the end.
Thank the interviewer for their time and the opportunity to make your case for employment, express your excitement and enthusiasm for the position, and explain why you believe you’re the ideal candidate. This will not only reaffirm your interest in the job but also help the interviewer remember you when the time comes to make a final decision. That final statement you make, the note on which you end the interview, could give you an edge over another candidate, so put some thought into how you will close the meeting. The first and last moments of an interview are likely to be the most memorable ones, so be mindful of how you start and end yours.
Preparing for a job interview is absolutely essential for professional success, especially if you tend to get nervous in high-pressure situations. Confidence is a skill that can be learned and practiced, and the best way to boost yours is to rehearse for your upcoming job interview. Practice will also help you formulate better answers and navigate challenges you may face during your interview as it won’t feel like an entirely new experience. To learn more about how our experts can help you land your dream job, check out our services for job success and take the next big step in your career today!