6 Tips For Acing Your Job Interview
This can seem very daunting and stressful for some people but it is important to remember that this is an opportunity for you. This is your chance to literally bring your resume to life and sell yourself to your potential employer. Of course having such an opportunity can very well be stressful in itself, so here are some tips to help you hit a home run on your next job interview:
1. Know The Employer
Familiarizing yourself with the company and possibly individuals who are going to be interviewing you is fundamentally a must! Doing so will better equip you to answer on the spot questions along with helping you appear more as a natural within the interview seen.
Research the company that is interviewing you.
This is relatively easy to do and doesn’t take much time. In today’s world there is really no excuse for not being able to Google a few things about the company that you may not already know. Most importantly, you should find the companies mission and vision statement and have them memorized. You probably won’t be asked what they are, but it will keep you on track when answering and asking questions.
If you know who is interviewing you, research them.
It’s not weird, it’s smart. Although I wouldn’t go in there asking them about their wife and kids if you’ve never met them before. The purpose of knowing your employer is so that you have an idea of who you are about to meet. This is important because if you want to ace the interview you have to connect with the interviewer and get them to like you. The same way that knowing the company will keep you on track, knowing your employer will automatically start you in the right place.
2. Know Your Resume
Don’t just know your resume, BE your resume. You are a walking talking version of your resume in the employers mind. They’ve read about you on a piece of paper and now they are getting the chance to talk to the human incarnate of this great resume. LIVE UP TO IT. Another point of advice is to make sure you know how to make everything on your resume sound better in person. Practice explaining parts of your resume at home before going into the interview. Live up to your resume, and add the touch of personality that your resume is unable to have.
3. Master First Impressions
First impressions are extremely difficult to shake, and they are formed within the first few seconds of meeting someone. The first and easiest thing to do is to walk in with a smile. Not a creepy smile. A genuine “excited to be here” smile. Aren’t you excited to be there? Don’t suppress it, walking in with a smile versus a blank stare says everything the employer needs to know to make a first impression: you’re either excited and happy to be there or you’re nervous/unexcited for the interview. Both of the latter will set an unpleasant tone for the rest of the interview.
Have a firm handshake.
We’ve all heard this one before and here’s why it’s important: It transmits confidence, going back to the previous point. This is the only time you will physically connect with your interviewer, if you’re shaky or give a half-assed handshake, then they will feel you are either nervous or uninterested, both things you want to avoid at all costs.
4. Be Prepared For Questions
Know the questions often asked. The point is not to remember questions/answers and then recite them, but rather to familiarize yourself with these topics as if it were a hobby that you are interested in, so then you can comfortably talk in depth about the questions that you are asked as well as be able to naturally tailor your answers to questions that vary slightly.
Here are a few examples of common interview questions:
“Tell me about yourself.”
Almost always go with the elevator pitch here. An elevator pitch is a short (under a minute) explanation of who you are, what value you bring and what your goals are. Just like everything else, you should tailor this slightly for the job you are interviewing for. Your elevator pitch is something you should regularly practice.
“What did you do at your past job?”
Just like highlighting certain things in your resume, you want to make sure you point out the right things with this answer. This is a chance to go a little deeper into your resume and tell them things you were able to deal with that you may not have been able to explain in your resume. Don’t get too crazy though, they don’t want a long story about that one time you had to get food for everyone at the office and Janet swore she said “no tomatoes” but you KNOW she said nothing of the matter.
“What did you like and dislike about your past job?”
Don’t do it. Just don’t. I know you’re going to want to tell them all the things you hated about that job and you’ll tell them ‘that’s why I’m looking for a job here’. They DON’T want to hear you complain. They DON’T feel bad for you in any way. Some of those things may happen in this job and they want to know you won’t get upset easily. A positive attitude is everything. If you can, tell them you liked things that are similar to this new job, and pick something that you KNOW this company does better than your last employer for something that you didn’t like about them. Your interviewer will feel appreciated.
“What problems did you face and how did you handle them?”
They are NOT looking for how you solved the mystery of the missing sandwich. They want to know what problems the COMPANY faced as a business that you were responsible for solving. This is where you can weave in your boastfulness about some of the biggest things you did for the company. And yes, this would be a good thing to know before going into the interview.
There are many different questions you may be asked but these are good examples to show you how to conduct your responses.
5. Ask The Right Questions
Nearly every interview will end with “Well, do you have any questions for us?” This is a perfect opportunity to show your knowledge of the company. Ask a question about the company’s vision: if their mission statement is “Bring advanced technology to lower income households”, you could ask “what are some of the ways I will be helping to achieve this” instead of “what will I be doing”. If you’ve researched some new strategies the company is using, you could ask how the implementation of those strategies is going. You could even ask if they have plans for expansion or alteration of the company.
You DON’T want to ask these questions:
- Did I get the job?
- Anything about the company that you should already know.
- Anything that makes you sound lazy.
You DON'T want to say “No questions”. Here’s why:
- It makes you look uninterested.
- It doesn’t give them something to remember you by. They are doing a ton of interviews and they’re all pretty much the same. This is your opportunity to create unique dialogue and make yourself more likely to be someone they remember.
- It’s just a little awkward. And they’ll remember that.
Shake their hand.
As we’ve previously discussed, the handshake is very important and not just for first impressions but final impressions as well. The way someone feels about you as you leave is just as important as the way they feel when you walk in.
Send a follow up email, thanking them for the opportunity and their time.
This will not only come across professional, it will push you back into their mind as they go through their emails. Staying on the forefront of the employers mind is essential, and this is a courteous way to do so.
There is a lot of preparation that goes into acing an interview, but doing the right preparation will make a world of difference for you going into the interview. Not only will you actually be more prepared, but you will feel more prepared which will make you more confident, which employers love to see. Being more confident will help you to answer those questions well and improve all aspects of your interaction with the interviewer. Be your best self by being prepared, and you will start acing your interviews.