How To Ace the Job Interview
Regardless of education level, past work experience, capabilities or skill set, job interviews can be daunting. If you tend to perform poorly in interviews, you may miss out on a career opportunity and job that you are actually wellqualified for – no matter how well you present yourself on paper or online.
However,if you incorporate these 7 interviewing tips, you will be much more likely to make a positive impression and prove that you are the best candidate for the role.
Walking into an interview unprepared will NEVER achieve the results you want or need. In fact, it is better to over-prepare for an interview than to wing it. Plan your interview strategy and then work your plan.
The first and most critical step is to be prepared to answer the ‘commonly asked’ interview questions that every employer will ask in some form or another. For example, “Tell me about yourself.” and “What are your greatest strengths / weaknesses?”. It is easy to blow the entire interview if you are unprepared to respond to these basic and most commonly asked questions.
Next, form a list of role-specific interview questions based on the position and industry.. Take plenty of time to consider how you will answer each question. Write down your responses and then edit them several times. Conduct a role-play and practice saying your responses out loud. Keep all responses as concise and impactful as possible and ALWAYS relate the responses to the specific job requirements. Every response should be focused on demonstrating how your experience and background have equipped you to succeed in the position for which you are interviewing.
Consider working with a career coach who will provide expert advice about the most effective ways to respond to an employer’s questions, common interview mistakes to avoid, and interview best practices.
From an employer’s perspective - there is NOTHING more frustrating or a bigger waste or time and resources than interviewing an applicant who is unprepared. And a lack of candidate preparation will create a negative impression on the employer. .
Read and re-read the job description until you have practically committed it to memory. View the company’s website to learn about the company’s unique value proposition, products & service offerings, mission / vision, and core values. Use platforms like LinkedIn to view the public profiles of current employees to get a sense of the company culture. Read reviews about the potential employer on Google, and GlassDoor.com..All of this information will equip you to respond appropriately to interview questions and demonstrate that you have conducted thorough research about the company, job and industry
Although it is extremely important to spend time thinking about how to respond to a particular interview question, it is critical to test your skills and techniques with actual interview practice. Without practice…,you will never know how you might react in a true interview situation.
Ask a trusted friend or a skilled career coach to conduct a mock interview with you. This practice session will help you identify any areas of opportunity for improvement, difficult questions that need more practice or a better response, , as well as any negative interview habits related to non-verbal communication like poor posture, fidgeting,and use of inflection / tone of voice.
Be open to your interviewer’s feedback and constructive criticism and continue practicing until you feel comfortable.
Your words as well as your non-verbal communication are making an impression on the potential employer. Every word and movement from your posture to your facial expressions to the way you hold your hands create either a positive or negative impression and can lead employers to make assumptions about your personality, character, and capabilities. .
Rely on the feedback of your friend or coach to pinpoint non-verbal cues such as poor posture or speaking habits that cause you to appear to lack confidence or be unprofessional. . Record the mock interview practice session to review later, so you can see yourself as an employer does…and make notes about any issues or concerns you see, so that you can work to improve your performance.
No matter how well-prepared you are…there is still a high probability that you will encounter one or two questions that will catch you off guard during the interview.
When you hear those types of questions, it is best to slow down and give yourself time to think before you respond. Even just a few moments can give you the time you need to think about and determine the best response. .
Avoid an awkward silence by repeating the question. Take a deep breath, say “hmmmmmm…”, and then respond.Such phrases feel natural and can buy you a little time you need to ponder the question and develop a legitimate response.
In addition to a few copies of your cover letter,resume, and references, be sure to bring a written list of questions for your potential employer. This interview is just as much about them interviewing you as YOU interviewing THEM.
For each interview, craft your own personalized set of questions for the employer. A few good question to ask during the interview may be:
It really is a good idea to actually WRITE (or type) your list of questions on physical paper. You may think you will be able to remember your questions well enough, but on the day of the interview, your nerves may cause you to draw a blank.
First impressions are certainly important. But final impressions are equally as critical.
Tell the employer that you want the job”. Remind them that you believe that you are the best candidate for the job. Thank them for their time and the information that they shared with you about the company and the role
Endwith a remark that you “look forward to hearing from them” to exude confidence and leave the potential employer with no doubt that you are interested in the opportunity.
After the interview, send a follow-up email within 24 hours to all interviewers to thank them once again for their time and consideration.Remind them that you are the best candidate for the role and you really want the job. Then, write a hand-written thank you card and get that into the mailbox within 24 - 48 hours after the interview to reinforce the positive impression that you created during the interview.
Do you have an interview coming up that has you feeling a little uneasy? With the proper perspective, preparation, and practice, you will be more likely to be invited back for second and third interviews – and ultimately receive a job offer.