Are you on the hunt for a new job? Your performance in a job interview is often where you make-or-break an opportunity for growing your career in a new position. Navigating the job market can be an intimidating undertaking, but with the right tools you can ace a job interview every time.
Whether you are just beginning your career or brushing up on the skills you already have, these tips will give you a solid foundation for any interview.
Although there is no way to anticipate everything that will happen during an interview, you can still prepare ahead of time.
Ask a friend or family member to practice basic interview questions so you can get the hang of answering them. You can even film yourself answering practice questions if you want to assess your performance as a whole. Avoid sounding scripted but make sure you are confident in your answers ahead of time.
Even though you often can’t know exactly what you’ll be asked in an interview, there are plenty of staple questions available online.
A strong résumé is one of the most crucial parts of the process of apply for a job. Chances are, your résumé is a big part of why the company to which you applied wants to interview in the first place.
When you go in for your interview, be sure to bring an extra copy of your résumé for the interviewer. When I interviewer potential employees, I’m always surprised when an applicant comes in without a copy of their résumé. I’m a busy guy, and I don’t always have time to print off your application materials.
My first question in most interviews is, “Did you bring a copy of your résumé?”
If you can answer yes to that, then we’re off to a good start.
Padding your résumé or embellishing your skills during an interview may be tempting, but will hurt you in the long run. Be honest about the skills you have mastered and what you are still learning. Acing an interview won’t matter if you don’t have the skills to do the job.
Before you go in for an interview, do your research. A great way to impress the interviewer and potentially ace a job interview is by knowing your stuff.
What position are you applying for? Knowing the ins and outs of the work you will be doing will help you ace a job interview.
Your interviewer will probably ask you why you are applying for the position. If you don’t understand what the position is, you won’t be able to answer those questions.
Maybe even more important than knowing the position is knowing the company. Doing research on the company, its mission, its founders, etc. will work to your advantage during the interview.
Interviewers are looking for people who are passionate about the company and its objectives. They will want to know why you want to work there over any other company. If you don’t know anything about the company and what it does, how will you answer those questions?
Your experience in the field will take you far, but taking an interest in the specific position and company you are applying to will give you an advantage over other applicants.
It’s easy to get caught up thinking about all the answers you want to be ready to answer, but remember that interviewers want you to ask questions, too. Not only does this show that you are enthusiastic about the position, but it also shows that you are willing to learn.
While preparing to ace a job interview, come up with a few questions you can ask after the interviewer is finished. The more relevant to the company and your specific position, the better.
And remember, most people like to talk about themselves, their jobs, and their lives. Having a question or two prepared to ask at the end gives the interview a chance to talk about their experience, and will help you leave a good impression.
Bring a notepad and a pen to every interview. When you ask questions, take notes on the response. This will give the interviewer the impression that you are prepared, and that their answers to your questions really matter to you.
Taking notes will also be helpful to you, particularly if you’re making a choice between multiple companies. You can keep track of the different benefits and responsibilities attached to each position, and make an informed decision by referring to your notes.
Attire is a crucial to trying to ace a job interview. Always dress professionally for an interview, but also consider the work environment.
When applying to a more traditional company, standard business attire will most likely be appropriate. If you are applying somewhere more alternative, researching the company and getting a feel for the environment will help you pick suitable attire.
If you’re unsure of the company’s dress code, I feel that it’s always better to err on the formal side of your closet. Regardless of what you wear, you should look polished and professional.
Most days in my office, I end up wearing jeans. I’ve noticed that some employees who come to interviews may feel that they overdressed if they are in a suit. But I always appreciate it when a potential employee comes dressed professionally–it tells me they care enough about getting the job to dress the part.
Body language says a lot about you to an interviewer. How you carry yourself sends a message. Even though you may be nervous, don’t forget to slow down and be conscious of your body language.
Posture signals attentiveness to your interviewer. Sitting up straight and avoiding slouching shows that you are focused and interested in the interview and the company.
While you should obviously steer clear of a staring contest, it’s important to make eye contact with the interviewer. If you avoid looking them in the eye, the interviewer might assume you aren’t confident in your answers, or that you aren’t paying attention to what they’re telling you.
Although a handshake is a small part of an interview, it holds significance. Your handshake communicates confidence and makes a first impression. Apply the same rules to handshakes that you apply to eye contact—your handshake should be firm, but not aggressive. You want to convey confidence, not force posturing or arrogance.
The old adage “if you’re on time, you’re late” still applies to job interviews. Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early to your appointment time to show that you care about punctuality and that you’re earnestly pursuing the position.
If there is one thing you absolutely need to ace a job interview, it’s a positive attitude. It’s likely that you’ll have to answer some tough questions about times that things haven’t gone smoothly at past jobs or the reasons you’re looking to leave your current position.
Even when discussing negative things, emphasize positive points. For instance, if you’re discussing a failed project, mention how you learned lessons from your experience that contributed to the success of another endeavor down the road. If you’re leaving your current position because you feel you’ve hit a dead end with the company, or the culture is a bad fit, be sure to emphasize the reasons why you feel this new position will better suit your needs.
No matter the topic at hand, staying relaxed and positive will put the interviewer at ease and also give the impression that you are confident and ready to move forward.
Applying for a job can be intimidating, but if you go in with the right tools it will be easier. Being prepared, having the right attire, and remembering good body language will help you make a solid first impression and give you a leg up on your competition.
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LAWYER & ONLINE ENTREPRENEUR
After graduating from law school and passing the bar, I struggled to find work, pay my bills, and make ends meet. That's when I decided to take control of my future and start working for myself. Now, several years and a handful of companies later, I'm sharing how I launched a successful business, and how you can do it too.