There are a lot of job interview guides out there, but these 10 tips are all you need to know.
Sweeping a hiring manager off their feet is a great achievement, but pre-interview jitters can make even seasoned job seekers fumble during a big audition. The best interview tips may vary in their techniques, but they all exist to help you bring your best self to the table.
The easiest way to calm your nerves and ace your next job interview is to walk in 100% prepared. Following these 10 tenets will help you quash any anxiety you may be feeling and nab that coveted reward we call a job offer.
1. Do your research
Learning as much as possible about a company’s services, products, customers and competition will give you an edge in understanding and addressing the employer’s needs.
Go beyond reading what’s on the company’s website, read news coverage of the company, check out the company’s social media feeds, and brush up on the key players—i.e., the company’s executive team.
2. Look sharp
There’s certainly no shortage of advice out there about what to wear—and what not to wear—to interviews, but it’s best to dress conservatively.
Unless you work in a creative industry, the employer wants to know that you dress professionally—plain and simple As long as you look presentable, the interviewer is going to be paying attention to what’s coming out of your mouth, not what you’re wearing.
Some job seekers make the mistake of donning distracting attire. Don’t do anything to the extreme, unless you know that that’s the culture at the company. Wearing too much perfume, too much makeup, too many designer logos—those are the things you want to avoid.
3. Don’t show up empty-handed
Part of arriving fully prepared entails bringing all the things that you need to make a great first impression. Make sure to take the following items with you to job interviews:
- Several copies of your resume. You may meet more employees that you originally expected to, says Rachel Loock, a career coach at the University of Maryland.
- Business cards. Providing a business card allows you to establish yourself as a professional.
- Portfolio/work samples. This is a must in creative fields like advertising, journalism, graphic design, architecture, or fashion.
- References. If the interview goes well, the hiring manager may ask you for them on the spot.
- Pen and notepad. Taking notes shows you’re actively listening to the interviewer and engaged in the conversation.
- Photo ID. You may need to provide identification to enter the building.
For any more tips on what to bring with you to the interview, just click the link.
4. Arrive early
The last thing you want to do is show up late (or not at all), so get to the building 10 to 15 minutes before the interview. Moreover, having extra time means you can take a few minutes in the bathroom to check how you look—tuck in your shirt, fix your tie, comb your hair—and fine-tune the image that you want to present.
5. Project enthusiasm
The hiring manager will want to see that you’re passionate about your field and the job that you’re applying for, so bring some energy to the room. A firm handshake and plenty of eye contact demonstrate confidence. Speak distinctly in a confident voice, even though you may feel shaky.
6. Listen carefully
Learning how to listen—really listen—is a powerful thing. Some ground rules to follow: don’t interrupt when the other person is talking; maintain good eye contact, lean forward, and face the speaker directly; and put away your cellphone—“no exceptions,” says Casey Carpenter, a trainer and coach with D.C.-based communications training firm Global Public Speaking.
7. Give specific examples
“The purpose of a job interview is for the interviewer to assess your skills,” says Tucker, “and anecdotes serve as affirmations that provide proof that you actually have the skills that you say you have.”
9. Ask questions
Hiring managers often conclude job interviews by giving the candidate a chance to ask them questions. While you may be tempted to skip this part and run for the exits, it would be a terrible mistake. Take full advantage of this opportunity. A few recommendations:
- Why is this position open?
- What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 90 days?
- Are there opportunities for additional training and education?
- What do you enjoy most about working here?
- How is performance measured in this role?
Sometimes the questions can be a bit out of the blue and completely non-related. For tips on how to prepare for some of these, just click here
9. End on the right note
An essential step to nabbing a job is following up with the interviewer. Your last question during an interview should always be, What are the next steps from here?
10. Ace the follow-up
Following up is a critical part of getting hired, yet it’s often overlooked. The goal is two-fold: to stay top-of-mind and restate your interest. For example Hi Tom, I’m just writing to let you know that I am still very interested in the position. Please let me know if I can offer any additional information, such as letters of recommendation, that might be useful.
Want more interviews? Do this
It’s important to appear confident and cool for the interview. One way to do that is to go on an ample number of interviews so you get comfortable with the process. Could you use some help in that department? Why not get in touch with Inspired on 0121 778 6999, you can get job alerts sent to your inbox the moment they become available. The more exposure you can get, the sooner you’ll find yourself back in the interview seat—and then at the company itself.