How to Ace Your Next Job Interview

Job Interview Tips

We all hate a job interview. I guess there may be that strange individual out there who loves winning over a skeptical potential employer, or just loves performing for anyone. This is a rare gift, if that’s the case.

For the rest of us, there isn’t a more uncomfortable task than trying to win a job you desperately want or need. A job interview is like a blind date crossed with an college oral exam. All the focus is one you and trying to impress some professional critic. Of course, the hardest time to impress someone is on cue.

When interviewing for a job, the best you can do is to treat it like any other test you’ve taken. Good preparation is how you give yourself the best chance of making a good impression. So do your homework on the company and be prepared to give thoughtful, confident answers.

1. Dress The Part

The first impression you give will be your appearance, so dress your best. Wear professional business clothes and carry a professional looking binder or notebook. Look prepared and diligent. Have a copy of your resume, along with a pen and paper.

Your appearance will shade all other impressions made at the interview, so you want to shade them in a positive light. Once you move on to the actual interview, that is when you can stand out.

For more information, check out our article on how to dress for a job interview.

2. Research For the Role

Learn everything you can about the company. Go to their website and read the “About Us” section. If there are links to press releases, read every one of these. View any other content which gives information on the company. Look for quotes from company executives.

This allows you to learn about the culture and “office speak” of that particular company. It also shows the successes the company deems important, as well as the challenges it faces. If you walk into the interview with an idea of where the company is headed and can speak the interviewee’s language, that will be impressive.

3. Know Your Audience

Learn everything you can about the person interviewing you. Find out what their position is and what their exact duties are. If you can, learn about their interests and hobbies outside the company. Study any press releases or other mentions about this person on the internet.

The more you know about your interviewer, the better prepared you will be to face their questions. Also, you can ask pertinent questions which get the person talking about himself or herself. People love to talk about themselves, and this will contribute to an overall positive interview experience for the interviewer.

4. Prep For the Exam

Anticipate the kind of questions you will be asked and be prepared to handle them confidently. When you answer, look comfortable and maintain your posture. Look the interviewer in the eye. If you aren’t confident that the answer is the best, do not betray that to the interviewer. It’s natural to want to convey that you are smart enough to know you gave an imperfect answer, but this will come across as being anxious or nervous.

If you give a less than perfect answer, know that the test covers a lot of territory. Move on to the next question and forget what was last said. Don’t let one question ruin your concentration for the next series of questions.

No matter what questions are asked, sound positive. Even if you are asked about your weaknesses, find a way to make this sound like a strength. Let your interviewer do the work of being critical about you. A job interview is like trying to pick someone up in a bar; confidence is better than introspection.

5. Don’t Ramble

Give full answers to questions, but don’t ramble on too long. The interviewer has to listen to the boss ramble, but doesn’t want to hear it from potential employees. This shows a lack of clarity or even decision making ability.

6. Ask Questions

From studying about the company, you should have a small list of questions. After you’ve answered some questions, you might be asked if you have any of your own. Be prepared to ask good questions. If this opportunity is not forthcoming, then sprinkle one or two questions into the course of the dialogue. You’ll look more interested if you seem curious about the company.

Appropriate questions include the company’s yearly or long term goals, topical issues addressed in press releases or what your duties might be in the company.

7. Look Interested

No matter what you do, don’t look distracted. If you don’t appear interested in the company, it won’t be interested in you. Be enthusiastic, but don’t be too enthusiastic. Knowing something of the company helps in this way, because you’ll be able to speak intelligently on the subject of the company without reaching for something.

8. Don’t Name Drop

Talk about yourself, not the people you know. The company isn’t hiring whoever you find important enough to mention. If you are going to drop a name to impress the interviewer, make certain the anecdote is to the point and actually answers a questions. Name dropping isn’t nearly so bad when it is done naturally and doesn’t appear to be bragging.

9. Follow Up

Send a thank you card to the person who interviewed you. If there is an email address available, send a short thank you via email. This keeps you in the mind of the interviewer and makes sure they know you are interested. Don’t be too pushy, but let them know you haven’t given up on the job.

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