BY ALISON DOYLE
Even when you have gone on more interviews than you can count, job interviewing never seems to get any easier. With each job interview, you are meeting new people, selling yourself and your skills, and often getting the third degree about what you know or don’t know. And, you need to stay upbeat and enthusiastic through it all. This can be a challenge, especially when you’re interviewing for a job you would love to get hired for.
That said, there are ways to make a job interview feel much less stressful. Just a little preparation time can go a long way. The more time you take in advance to get ready, the more comfortable you’ll feel during the actual interview.
Remember, though, that a job interview is not an exam: you don’t need to study for hours on end. Rather, you just need to do due diligence in researching the company, understand exactly what they are looking for in a new hire, and ensure that you’re able to discuss your experience and what makes you a great fit for the job.
It is a good idea to focus on your communication skills in particular, so you can speak clearly and concisely about the assets you can offer the employer.
Ultimately, the key to effective interviewing is to project confidence, stay positive, and be able to share examples of your workplace skills and your qualifications for the job. Take the time to work on your interview skills so that you can develop effective strategies to use in all of your interviews.
With some advance preparation, you’ll be able to nail the interview and showcase the experience that makes you the ideal candidate for the company’s next new employee.
Interview Tips That Will Help You Get Hired
Here are some job interview tips that can help you interview effectively. Proper preparation will help alleviate some of the stress involved in job interviews and position you for a positive and successful interviewing experience.
1. Practice and Prepare
Review the typical job interview questions employers ask and practice your answers. Strong answers are those that are specific but concise, drawing on concrete examples that highlight your skills and back up your resume.
Your answers should also emphasize the skills that are most important to the employer and relevant to the position. Be sure to review the job listing, make a list of the requirements, and match them to your experience.
Even the most well-prepared response will fall short if it does not answer the exact question you are being asked.
While it’s important to familiarize yourself with the best answers, it’s equally important to listen carefully during your interview in order to ensure your responses give the interviewer the information they are looking for.
Also, have a list of your own questions to ask the employer ready. In almost every interview, you’ll be asked if you have any questions for the interviewer. It is important to have at least one or two questions prepared in order to demonstrate your interest in the organization. Otherwise, you might come across as apathetic, which is a major turnoff for hiring managers.
2. Develop a Connection With the Interviewer
In addition to indicating what you know about the company, you should also try to develop a connection with your interviewer. Know the interviewer’s name, and use it during the job interview. If you’re not sure of the name, call and ask prior to the interview. And, listen very carefully during introductions.
If you’re prone to forgetting names, jot it down somewhere discreet, like in small letters at the bottom of your notepad.
Ultimately, building rapport and making a personal connection with your interviewer can up your chances of getting hired. People tend to hire candidates they like and who seems to be a good fit for the company’s culture. Here’s how to get the hiring manager on your side.
3. Research the Company, and Show What You Know
Do your homework and research the employer and the industry, so you are ready for the interview question, “What do you know about this company?” If this question is not asked, you should try to demonstrate what you know about the company on your own.
You can do this by tying what you’ve learned about the company into your responses. For example, you might say:
I noticed that when you implemented a new software system last year, your customer satisfaction ratings improved dramatically. I am well-versed in the latest technologies from my experience with developing software at ABC, and appreciate a company who strives to be a leader in its industry.
You should be able to find out a lot of information about the company’s history, mission and values, staff, culture, and recent successes on its website. If the company has a blog and a social media presence, they can be useful places to look, too.
4. Get Ready Ahead of Time
Don’t wait until the last minute to pick out an interview outfit, print extra copies of your resume, or find a notepad and pen. Have one good interview outfit ready, so you can interview on short notice without having to worry about what to wear.
When you have an interview lined up, get everything ready the night before.
Not only will planning out everything (from what shoes you will wear, to how you’ll style your hair, to what time you will leave and how you’ll get there) buy you time in the morning, it can help reduce job search anxiety, and it will also save you from having to make decisions, which means you can use that brainpower for your interview.
Make sure your interview attire is neat, tidy, and appropriate for the type of firm you are interviewing with. Bring a nice portfolio with extra copies of your resume. Include a pen and paper for note-taking.
If you’re interviewing virtually, have all the technology set and ready in advance. Do a trial run to be sure everything is working properly, and you’re comfortable with it.
5. Be on Time (That Means Early)
Be on time for the interview. On time means five to ten minutes early. If need be, drive to the interview location ahead of time so you know exactly where you are going and how long it will take to get there.
Take into account the time of your interview so you can adjust for local traffic patterns at that time. Give yourself a few extra minutes to visit the restroom, check your outfit, and calm your nerves.
6. Try to Stay Calm
During the job interview, try to relax and stay as calm as possible. Remember that your body language says as much about you as your answers to the questions. Proper preparation will allow you to exude confidence:
- As you answer questions, maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
- Be sure to pay attention to the question so that you don’t forget it, and listen to the entire question (using active listening) before you answer, so you know exactly what the interviewer is asking.
- Avoid cutting off the interviewer at all costs, especially when he or she is asking questions.
- If you need to take a moment to think about your answer, that’s totally fine, and is a better option than starting out with multiple “ums” or “uhs.”
Check out these tips on avoiding job interview stress to help keep your nerves calm. If the thought of a job interview puts you in panic mode, reviewing these interview tips for introverts will be a great place to start.
7. Follow-Up After the Interview
Always follow up with a thank-you note reiterating your interest in the position. You can also include any details you may have forgotten to mention during your interview.
It’s worth the extra effort. A Robert Half survey reports that 80% of hiring managers said it was helpful or somewhat helpful to receive a thank-you note after an interview.
Avoid These Common Interview Mistakes
What shouldn’t you do when interviewing? Here are the most common job interview mistakes, blunders, and errors a candidate looking for employment can make.
Take the time to review these mistakes before your interview, so you don’t have to stress out about blunders after it.
Successfully Handle Any Type of Interview
Review tips on how to handle interviews that are different from a typical one-on-one meeting. These include tips for phone interviews, second interviews, lunch and dinner interviews, behavioral interviews, interviewing in public, and more advice for interview success.
Also review these signs that your job interview went well, so you can see what skills you may need to brush up for next time.