Imagine waking up one morning to a phone call or email that you have a job interview scheduled at one of the many places you’ve applied to. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? But as the excitement wanes, you realize you need some solid interview tips on how to make a lasting first impression on your potential employer.
In this blog post, we’ve compiled a list of time-tested interview tips that are sure to help you impress your employer and land your dream job.
1. Find out about your interviewers
Your interview details will specify the names of all individuals who will be interviewing you. Before you start preparing your interview scripts, take some time to review each interviewer’s LinkedIn profile. Learn how to pronounce their names, review their employment history, and the impact they’ve made on the organization.
This type of research will allow you to prepare your own questions for the interviewers, get a fair idea of the type of questions you will be asked, and even have some additional topics to discuss. For instance, if one of your interviewers was recently promoted at the organization, congratulate them. This can be a nice ice-breaker before you dive into the more formal questions. It will also indicate to your interviewers that you’ve done your research.
2. Read through the job description
It might’ve been a while since you applied to the job, or maybe you applied to several jobs and aren’t really sure about the job for which you’re receiving the interview call. Make sure to review the job description to refresh your memory. Also, during the interview, you should focus on the job descriptions and how your skills align with the job role.
3. Do your research on the company
A job interview is not just your chance to show your eagerness for the job, but it’s also an opportunity for the interviewers to determine how much you know about what you’re getting into. Make sure to review the company’s website and social media pages to learn more about what they do. Such research will allow you to discuss how you will impact the company’s bottom line and leave a positive impression on your interviewers.
In the United States this year, according to Legaljobs, nearly 50% of recruiters have rejected job applicants after the first interview because the applicants didn’t have sufficient knowledge about the company.
4. Prepare and practice smart questions
There are two sets of questions you’ll need to prepare. First, think of all the questions your interviewers will ask you and how you will respond. Secondly, write down all the questions you should ask your interviewers at the end of the interview.
Questions your interviewers are likely to ask you:
1. Tell us something about yourself
2. Why are you interested in working for us?
3. What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
4. Why are you looking to switch jobs?
5. Tell us about a situation where you had to manage a conflict. What did you do?
6. If you’re selected, what will you bring to the table?
5. Interview tips: be punctual
Whether your meeting is online or in-person, you should be ready for the interview 5-10 minutes before the starting time. Make sure your webcam is working and there’s no noise in your background. Sit in a well-lit area, and keep your pets at bay! Test your audio and video equipment before the interview. If your interview is in person, take the commuting time and traffic into consideration.
6. Don’t make exaggerated claims
By the time you’ve reached the interview stage, your interviewers have already reviewed your resume and cover letter and they think you might be a good fit for this role. This is why you shouldn’t try to lie or exaggerate statements in your resume. Be honest, straightforward, and professional without sounding pompous. Remember, your interviewer will likely know the difference between fluff talk and genuine, meaningful interactions.
7. Be polite, yet precise when talking
Common interview étiquettes state that you should maintain eye contact and smile when talking. Talk about your knowledge and skills with reference to the job description, role, and responsibilities. Don’t talk over the interviewers (if you accidentally do that, you can apologize and let them finish their statement first). Don’t talk about things that are unrelated to the job role, unless your employer decides to ask a personal question (such as do you like pets?).
8. Take notes, if required
Note taking is probably the most useful skill learned during school years! If the interviewer is sharing important information, you should ask them if it’s okay for you to take some notes while they’re talking. Normally, interviewers won’t mind. In fact, this just goes on to show that you’re attentive and actually interested in the job, which could work well in your favor.
Questions you may want to ask your interviewers:
1. What does a typical workday look like in this job role?
2. What are some of the projects you’re working on that are relevant to this job role?
3. What environment do you have at this organization and department?
4. How will my performance be evaluated?
5. What is the biggest challenge I’ll have to face when I start working?
6. If this is an existing role, then why did the previous employee leave the organization?
9. Interview tips and tricks: close on a positive note
After the interview is over and you’ve asked your questions, make sure to end on a positive note. You should thank the interviewers for taking the time to interview you and share your enthusiasm for the next steps. You should also consider sending a positive email to the interviewers.
There’s no better feeling than receiving a job interview call. However, once the initial excitement is over, it’s time to start practicing.
Like most other facets of life, a job interview requires careful planning and lots of practice.
The trick to making a solid first impression is to know what you’re heading into, who you’re talking to, and what you’re worth.
Communication is a two-way street. If you’re not using your job interview to learn more about the organization, you might be at the losing end.