Our Top 10 Job Interviewing Tips
Once you have successfully mastered cover letters, resumes, and job applications and are being selected for interviews, it’s time to understand how to succeed in the job interview so that you are ever closer to your goal of obtaining one or more job offers.
- Conduct Research on the Employer, Hiring Manager, Job Opportunity: Success in a job interview starts with a firm foundation of knowledge on the job-seeker’s part. You should have thorough background knowledge of the employer including their history, the requirements of the job, and the background of the person (or people) interviewing you. LinkedIn is the ideal platform for getting to know the interviewers. The more research you conduct, the more you’ll understand the employer, and the better you’ll be able to answer interview questions as well as ask insightful questions.
- Review Common Interview Questions and Prepare Responses: Another key to interview success is preparing responses to expected interview questions. Your goal is to anticipate the types of questions you may be asked, preparing detailed yet concise responses, focusing on specific examples and accomplishments. A good tool for remembering your responses is to put them into story form/ real examples that you can tell in the interview. No need to memorise responses in fact, it’s best not to, but at least develop talking points.
- Dress for Success: Plan out a wardrobe that fits the organisation and its culture, striving for the most professional appearance you can accomplish. Remember that it’s always better to be overdressed than under, and to wear clothing that fits and is clean and pressed. Keep accessories and jewellery to a minimum.
- Arrive on Time for the Interview and Prepared for Success: There is no excuse for ever arriving late for an interview other than some sort of disaster. Strive to arrive about 15 minutes before your scheduled interview to complete paperwork and allow yourself time to get settled. Arriving a bit early is also a chance to observe the dynamics of the workplace.
- Make Good First Impressions to Everyone You Encounter: The fundamental rule of interviewing: Be polite and offer warm greetings to everyone you meet from the receptionist to the hiring manager. Employers are often curious how job applicants treat staff members and will often ask the receptionist how you interacted with them— and your job offer could easily be spoiled if you’re rude or arrogant to any of the staff. When it’s time for the interview, keep in mind that first impressions the ones interviewers make in the first few seconds of greeting you can make or break an interview.
- Be Authentic, Upbeat, Focused, Confident, Candid, and Concise: Once the interview starts, the key to success is the quality and delivery of your responses. Your goal should always be authenticity, responding truthfully to interview questions. At the same time, your goal is to get to the next step, so you’ll want to provide focussed responses that showcase your skills, experience, and fit with the job and the employer. Provide solid examples of solutions and accomplishments but keep your responses short and to the point.
- Remember Body Language, Avoiding Bad Habits: While the content of your interview responses is paramount, poor body language can be a distraction at best or a reason not to hire you at worst. Effective forms of body language: smiling, eye contact, solid posture, active listening, nodding. Detrimental forms of body language: slouching, looking off in the distance, playing with pen, fidgeting in chair, brushing back hair, touching face, chewing gum, mumbling and annoying habits.
- Ask Insightful Questions: Studies continually show that employers make a judgement about an applicant’s interest in the job by whether or not the interviewee asks questions. Thus, even if the hiring manager was thorough in his or her discussions about the job opening and what is expected, you must ask a few questions. The smart jobseeker prepares questions to ask days before the interview, adding any additional queries that might arise from the interview. Have these written and refer to them during the questioning.
- Sell Yourself Throughout and then Close the Deal: An adage in interviewing says the most qualified applicant is not always the one who is hired which means the hired candidate is often the jobseeker who does the best job in responding to interview questions and showcasing his or her fit with the job, department, and organisation. Some liken the job interview to a sales call. You are the salesperson and the product you are selling to the employer is your ability to fill the organisation’s needs, solve its problems and propel its success.
- Thank Interviewer(s) in Person, by Email, and Postal Mail: As you have already seen from previous tips, common courtesy and politeness go far in interviewing; consequently, the importance of thanking each person who interviews you should come as no surprise. Start the process while at the interview, thanking each person who interviewed you by name. Writing thank you emails and notes shortly after the interview will not get you the job offer, but doing so will certainly give you an edge over any of the other candidates who did not bother to send thank yous.
Final Thoughts on Job Interview Success: Succeeding in job interviews takes research, practice, and persistence. The more effort you put into your interview preparation, the more success you’ll see in obtaining job offers — especially if you remember and follow these 10 job interviewing tips.