50 Job Interview Tips
When it comes to job interviews, there's one situation we all dread: You're happily chatting with the hiring manager in front of you, sharing your experience and listing your skills... Then suddenly, you answer a seemingly harmless question and there's a deep, ominous pause. You know you've said something you shouldn't have, but no matter how hard you try, you can't figure out what, exactly, turned the interview sour so quickly. Unfortunately, the reality of job interviews is that they are sometimes loaded with “trick” questions, and a single mistake can cost you your chance to land the job of your dreams. A lengthy list of job interview tips is therefore a must—in order to succeed, you need to research how to ace an interview and safeguard yourself against common mistakes. The Interviewee's Master List: 50 Essential Job Interview Tips Before the interview: 1. Figure out the “dress code.” Dressing for job interviews used to be relatively straightforward: You picked your best formal attire, practiced flawless personal grooming, and made a polite, confident entrance. Today, things are not always so simple; while some workplaces still prefer that candidates show up in a traditional business suit, others feel that doing so is overkill (and may assume that the candidate is rigid, inflexible, or otherwise unsuitable for the position being offered). Your best bet is to research the culture of the organization you're applying to and make sure that your choice of interview outfit reflects said culture—and the role you're applying for—as accurately as possible. First impression is everything. Your professional appearance plays a major role in hring decisions. Hiring managers need to be able to visualize you in that position they are trying to fill. No matter which kind of attire you select, however, it's essential that you pay extremely close attention to even the smallest details where personal hygiene is concerned. For example, don't ruin perfectly-brushed teeth by eating before your interview and don't smoke prior to entering the building either. 2. Make a list of all your major accomplishments. Don't risk leaving out a key detail about what you've achieved in your career thus far—make a list of all your relevant accomplishments and then prepare a few “talking points” explaining each one. 3. Research as many common interview questions as possible. The best way to learn how to interview is to look up the actual questions you're likely to be asked during the interview (and how you should respond to them). Do an online search for the 50 most common interview questions and answers, then write down your own personalized responses to each question. 4. Identify your goals and desires and match them to the goals of your prospective employer.
During your interview, you will want to both demonstrate a desire to grow with the company and confidently explain how you plan to add value to the organization over the long term. As such, you should make sure to assess the organization's goals and practice explaining why and how your professional ambitions will align with them. 5. Read the company's website thoroughly. Taking a cursory look through the “FAQ” section of the company website simply is not enough, according to job hunting experts. Read through each section of the site and, if the company has a blog, dedicate time to reading it. Pay particularly close attention to any relevant data you find, e.g. earnings calls and quarterly reports. 6. Sign up for Google alerts. Staying up to date on what's happening in your industry is absolutely essential when you're job hunting—but it can also be extremely time-consuming. Fortunately, Google alerts—a service that searches for relevant headlines for you and then notifies you of them—can help to expedite your research efforts. 7. See if you can identify key players in the organization, then look them up on social media. Browsing key players' Twitter accounts, LinkedIn accounts, Facebook pages, etc., can yield valuable insight into how the “higher-ups” at the organization think and what they are looking for in an employee. You will also look more knowledgeable if you can name a company's key players during the interview. 8. Try to get a sense of company culture. This one can be tricky, but it's very important that you try to understand a company's corporate culture before you're interviewed. Knowing a company's culture will help you to choose which traits and qualities you should emphasize during the interview, how you should act, and (as mentioned in tip #1) it can help you to dress appropriately. To get a sense of company culture, you should assess the overall “tone” of the organization's website, look at the social media accounts of its current employees, and—if possible—ask a current employee what it's like to work at the firm. 9. Ask someone to help you practice your questions and answers. This is both an effective method for memorizing your answers and one of the best ways to calm pre-interview jitters. Conducting a “mock interview” will also teach you how to use data (and other research material you have collected) organically in conversation. 10. Visualize a successful interview. Though this sounds “gimmicky,” visualization truly works; our brains have such an incredible capacity to accurately create model scenarios that vividly imagining them counts as a form of “practice.” So profound is the ability that, as Australian psychologist Alan Richardson proved with his famous basketball experiment, basketball players who practice a certain shot only in their minds for weeks leading up to making the shot were found to shoot almost as well as the players who had physically practiced it. 11. Practice speaking in front of a mirror to check your posture and body language, or record yourself on camera. You may sound confident, but if your gestures seem furtive or hesitant, it will sabotage your image. It's therefore important to verify how you come across visually as well and make any necessary changes before you're interviewed.
12. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. “Strength and weakness” questions are an inevitable part of any interview, so you will want to have a clear picture of yours before you walk through the door. Additionally, you should write down how you plan to build on your strengths and provide examples of how you have successfully worked to overcome your weaknesses. 13. Create a 30-60-90 day employment action plan. Your 30-60-90 day employment action plan should outline what you plan to accomplish within the crucial first 90 days on the job. It should show the hiring manager that you understand what the job entails and how to competently perform the job, as well as conveying the value you will add to the organization. 14. Develop questions to ask your interviewer at the end of interview question period. If there is one truly fatal common interview mistake, it's failing to ask any questions during the “question period” at the end of the interview. “‘Nope, I don’t have any questions.’ I don’t care if you have talked to thirty people at the company by this interview,” says Liz Wessel, CEO and cofounder of WayUp, “If you’re hungry, you should want to know every single detail about the company. To me, not asking a question means that you are not interested enough to have done your research prior to meeting me, and you did not think critically about the interview process as a whole.” The questions you ask should demonstrate your interest in working for the company; they should also display your knowledge of both the company and your industry. Never ask “obvious” questions (things that could be answered by looking at the company website) or generic questions (“When do I start?”, “How much will I get paid?”, etc.) 15. Write out an engaging summary of your professional life. Your interviewer will likely open the interview by asking you to say a little something about yourself—and the last thing you want to do is either ramble about your personal life or simply repeat the experience summary on your Resume. You should therefore prepare a brief but engaging summary of your professional life thus far, preferably written in “story” format. It should cover your relevant education and experience while also explaining why you chose the industry you did. 16. Practice traveling to the location where you will be interviewed. Arriving late to an interview practically guarantees that you won't get the job, so it's advised that you take a “test run” to the interview location at least a few days prior to the interview. Time the journey and then plan to leave early on the day of the interview (doing so will ensure that poor traffic or weather conditions don't make you tardy). 17. Attend an interview workshop or seek career counseling. It never hurts to polish your interview skills—especially if you can't find a mentor to help you conduct practice interviews. 18. Plan ways to deal with your pre-interview jitters. Nerves often flare up just prior to a job interview, so it's a good idea to think of effective antianxiety rituals (e.g. meditating, squeezing a stress ball, chewing mint gum) and perform them just before you interview.
19. Prepare a reference list. Though you have no doubt included references with your Resume, being able to provide additional references if asked will make you look more credible and prepared. 20. Schedule your interview effectively (if possible). The person interviewing you probably has a lot of other duties and projects to attend to besides hiring on a new employee, so it's vital to pick an interview time when he or she will be relatively “fresh” and not overly tired or distracted. According to the career advice website Glassdoor, the best time to be interviewed is 10:30 AM, preferably on a Tuesday. 21. Prepare any documents you will need. You will need to bring your social security card and a driver’s license (or other form of photo ID) to every job interview you attend. You should also bring a copy of your employment action plan and five copies of your Resume. During the interview: 22. Greet your interviewer confidently. Walk into the room while maintaining good posture and making eye contact, then shake the interviewer's hand firmly but briefly. 23. Wait to be offered a seat. It's a small gesture, but waiting for your interviewer to offer you a seat before you sit down exhibits excellent manners. 24. Remain on your guard. Though it's important to appear relaxed and friendly in the eyes of the hiring manager interviewing you, you need to be careful not to entirely let your guard down. As unfortunate as it is, some interviewers will attempt to win your trust and then press you for information that it's best not to share, such as your current or former supervisor's flaws. 25. Demonstrate problem-solving skills at every opportunity. Hiring managers are always looking for someone who can think quickly and responsively. As such, you should never rush through apparently “random” questions (especially questions like, “What would you do with a million dollars?” or “How many cars are on the road in the United States?”). You should also be able to provide examples of how you solved problems that came up during projects at your previous place (or places) of work. Give work related problem-solving examples using the PAR(P=problem, A=action, R=result) problem-solving formula. 26. Be concise, direct, and specific when answering the interviewer's questions. Try to follow the “60 second rule” that states no answer should require more than one minute of the interviewer's time. Avoid using “flowery” descriptive language or vague language. 27. Maintain eye contact, especially when answering difficult, probing questions. Maintaining direct eye contact with your interviewer both shows confidence in your abilities and proves that you have nothing to hide. This is especially important when you are asked about past dismissals or negative experiences with former bosses or coworkers.
28. Don’t bring up salary. Bringing up the issue of salary makes it look as though you're only interested in the money that comes with the job, not the job itself. Let your interviewer bring up the matter of monetary compensation. Always research the salary range before your job interviews. 29. Try to avoid using “filler” words such as “like” or “um.” Take adequate time to consider each of your answers before you speak aloud; it's better to pause thoughtfully than force yourself to respond immediately, then stumble over your words. 30. Make sure that you convey enthusiasm for the position. No matter how skilled and experienced you are, if you don't seem to really want the job, it's unlikely that you'll get hired for it. 31. Avoid sounding “rehearsed”. Don't be afraid to deviate somewhat from the answers you have prepared and practiced; it's important to interact naturally with your interviewer. Just remember to adhere to the “golden rules” of interview etiquette: Be positive about your abilities at all times, say nothing negative about anyone else, don't fixate on rewards (money, vacation time, and so on), and be polite. 32. Look for opportunities to showcase your knowledge of the company and your industry. Whenever you have a chance to mention industry-specific data or speak about the achievements of key players in the company or your industry, you should do so. You can never look too knowledgeable. 33. Never speak negatively about anyone you have worked for or worked with. Even if your interviewer presses you to reveal the flaws of your former boss or coworkers (or speak badly about the last organization you worked for), avoid doing so. If you speak ill of your past employer, the hiring manager will assume you'll one day speak ill of their organization as well. 34. Try to subtly mirror your interviewer's tone and body language. This will both build a rapport between you and the interviewer (research suggests that people trust others who sound and behave like they do more quickly) and make you look like a good fit for the company's culture. 35. Don't be afraid to turn questions around and interview your interviewer. If you appear interactive rather than reactive (i.e., you ask questions as well as responding to them), you will seem more focused and confident. Likewise, this technique can help you to navigate difficult questions; for example, if your interviewer asks what kind of salary you expect, you can turn the question around and ask them what kind of salary they offer for the position. 36. Be honest at all times, but be tactful. You should never lie during an interview, but it is (in some circumstances) permissible to omit information. Anything that will stain your reputation or the reputation of someone else is better left unsaid. You may also wish to avoid mentioning if you have a friend or relative in the organization. If you mention a friend make sure they are a valued employee within the company and highly respected. Research company policy regarding hiring relatives. 37. Listen carefully to each question you're asked. Sometimes interview questions have a hidden meaning or intention; for example, when an
interviewer asks what kind of person you'd rather not work with, he or she is usually actually trying to detect your own difficult qualities. It's therefore important to think carefully about what the interviewer is trying to assess before you answer, especially if you're asked a question you haven't prepared for. 38. Donâ€™t interrupt the interviewer when he or she is speaking. While this sounds like common courtesy, some job seekers get over-eager and forget to wait their turn to speak. Likewise, nervous individuals tend to leap into answering questions too quickly. Remember to let a few seconds pass before you answer a question, just to be sure your interviewer is done speaking. 39. At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer for his or her time. This is another small gesture, like waiting to ask to be seated, that demonstrates excellent manners. 40. Ask for the interviewerâ€™s business card. Having your interviewer's business card will ensure that you remember his or her full name, job title, and phone number. Asking for it also conveys a desire to follow up on the interview at a later time. 41. Before the interview ends, ask the interviewer if there's anything he or she would like you to clarify. No matter how clearly you have conveyed your points, it's easy for details to get missed during lengthy conversations. Don't leave your interview without asking your interviewer if you need to elaborate on anything you have said. 42. Donâ€™t try to prolong the interview. Remain vigilant for signs that the interviewer would like to close the interview and don't push for more time. Remember, your interviewer may be tired or busy and it's important to respect that. 43. At the end of the interview, ask the interviewer about the next step in the hiring process. Never simply assume that you will go on to be hired immediately if you have had a positive interview experience. Often you will be asked to attend more than one interview before you receive a job offer. 44. Ask for the job. This seems obvious, but it's astonishing how many people forget to simply ask for the job as the interview wraps up. Ask for the job . Not in a desperate way , but summarize your talents, skills, experience and the value that you will bring to the company and ask the hiring manager if he or she would give you the opportunity to work for the company in the position you are interviewing for. Be silent and wait on their response. It is very powerful for a Hiring Manager to hear a job candidate tell them that they want the job. Say it with enthusiasm that you want to work with the hiring manager. After the interview: 45. Write down your impressions of the interview as soon as you get home. Writing down your thoughts and impressions will help you to retain valuable information that may be useful during subsequent interviews.
46. Review your performance. Even if you don't get the job, reviewing what you did well and what you did poorly during the interview can be useful as it will help you to improve your performance in other interviews. 47. Write a thank you letter. This is not only polite, it's a valuable opportunity to reiterate your value to the organization (using value-added statements that emphasize your skills, experience, and goals). Don't forget to ask for the job once again in your thank you letter. Never mail or email a generic thank you letter. Always state in the thank you letter the value you will bring to the company as an employee. This will make you stand out with hiring managers. 48. Give yourself 24 hours before accepting or declining any position you are offered. Committing to a job is a major life decision, and as such, it's best not to leap into it. Review the position and your interview experience carefully before accepting or declining the position. 49. Allow adequate time between interviews. Before you move from one interview to the next, you will want to leave a gap of at least a week to research, practice, and prepare. 50. Continue your job search. No matter how wonderfully you feel you did during your interview, it's important to continue your job searchâ€”just in case. With the 50 job interview tips mention above, you should be able to ace any interview that comes your way, no matter whether you are an experienced interview veteran or a recent college graduate. Good luck on your job interviews. Get hired for the jobs you want. Robert Moment is The Get Hired Expert and author who specializes in helping ambitious people get hired for jobs and make more money. Visit http://www.howtointerviewtips.com and learn how to ace a job interview. Robert is the author of the following books, How to Ace an Interview : Job Interview Tips You Need to Stand Out and Get Hired for Jobs and How to Write a Resume:Winning Resume Writing Tips and Secrets to Get Hired for Jobs. Sign-up for the FREE 7 Day e-course titled, How to Interview and Get Hired.