So you’ve finally gotten an interview for that career-starting position you’ve always wanted. All you have to do is nail it and you’ll be set! But you’re experiencing pre-interview jitters just like the best of us and you’re anxious.
Want to crush it at your interview and jumpstart your career? Here’s 10 top tips on how to ace your job interview!
1. Research the industry and company
A favourite question for interviewers is how you perceive his company’s position in its industry, who the firm’s competitors are, what its competitive advantages are, and how it should best go forward. For this reason, always make sure to do your homework about both the company and the industry it is in.
2. Clarify your “selling points” and the reasons you want the job.
Prepare to go into every interview with three to five key selling points in mind, i.e. what makes you the best candidate for the position. Have case scenario of each selling point prepared.
Also, be prepared to tell the interviewer why (and how much) you want that job – including what interests you about it, what rewards it offers that you find valuable, and what abilities it requires that you possess. If it’s apparent that you’re not interested in the job, chances are you’re much less likely to get that phone call.
3. Anticipate the interviewer’s concerns and reservations.
There are always more candidates for positions than there are openings.
An interviewer’s job is to screen people out. So put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself why they might not want to hire you, then prepare your defense.
4. Line up your questions for the interviewer.
Coming to the interview with intelligent questions for the interviewer demonstrates both your sincerity and the fact that you did your homework. Interviewers always ask if you have any questions, and no matter what, you should have one or two ready.
If you say, “No, not really,” he or she may conclude that you’re not all that interested in the job or the company. So make sure to prepare a few questions to ask!
5. Practice, practice, practice.
It’s one thing to know your answer to an interview question. It’s a whole other challenge entirely to say it aloud in a confident and convincing way. If the first time you say it is at the interview itself, chances are you’ll sound garbled and confused. So do it 10 more times at home before you “take the stage”.
Say your answers out loud. Even better – practise with a friend! Both of you would benefit greatly from being able to speak well in an interview.
6. Score a success in the first five minutes.
Some studies indicate that interviewers make up their minds about candidates in the first five minutes of the interview – and then spend the rest of the interview looking for things to confirm that decision! So what can you do in those five minutes to get through the gate?
Come in with energy and enthusiasm, and express your appreciation for the interviewer’s time. When an interviewer has been through a dozen solemn and monotonous interviews, being greeted with enthusiasm and excitement is definitely a pleasant and welcome surprise.
7. Be assertive and take responsibility for the interview.
Perhaps out of the effort to be polite, some usually assertive candidates become overly passive during job interviews. But politeness doesn’t equal passivity. An interview is like any other conversation – it’s a dance in which you and a partner move together, both responding to the other.
Don’t make the mistake of just sitting there waiting for the interviewer to ask you about that Nobel Prize you won. It’s your responsibility to make sure he walks away knowing your key selling points.
8. Think positive.
No one likes a complainer, so don’t dwell on negative experiences during an interview. Even if the interviewer asks you point blank, “What courses have you liked least?” or “What did you like least about that previous job?” don’t answer the question. Or more specifically, don’t answer it as it’s been asked.
Instead, turn it into a learning experience that you’ve come out of positively. Nobody expects every interviewee to be an optimist, but being able to learn from experiences is a very important trait.
9. Close on a positive note.
No matter how the interview ended, it’s always important to end on a positive note. Thank the interviewer for his or her time, and make sure to let them know how excited you are for this opportunity.
It’s not just good manners, but also leaves a good impression on the interviewer, which is important! You could even take a step further and send a Thank You email after.
Additionally, if he or she likes your matured attitude as well as your eagerness for the position, you’re more likely to get that offer.
10. Don’t give up!
If you’ve had a bad interview for a job that you truly think would be a great fit for you, don’t give up! Write a note, send an email, or call the interviewer to let him or her know that you think you did a poor job of communicating why you think this job would be a good match.
Sounds crazy, but if you don’t try, you’ll never know. And if the job means that much to you, then it’s definitely worth going to such lengths!
And remember…do it not just for the job, but for your career. This isn’t just a 1 year affair, but the 1 thing that could change your life. If nothing, that should be worth persevering for!