How to Ace Your Next Job Interview
4 min read
Interviewing can be a tough, anxiety inducing process. With loads of questions, talking to strangers, and trying to impress future bosses, it can be a daunting experience for the college grad to the experienced professional. Furthermore, interviewing in the US for jobs is a much different process than interviewing in other parts of the world (we’ll talk about this at a later time). Nevertheless, a lot weighs on how well you do in your interview. So here are some tips to help you improve your interviews — in the US — and land your next job.
1) Be on time. The saying goes: if you are early, you are on time; if you are on time, you are late; and if you are late, don’t even bother to show up. If you can arrive 10-15 minutes early, excellent but at least don’t be late.
2) Dress simple in a basic suit. For your first or second round of interviews, a simple suit will do the trick. Add a pair of clean flats or heels to finish off your professional look. No need to feel like you have to look extremely fancy or trendy.
3) Come prepared by knowing some background on the company, memorize your resume, and know why you want the job.
4) Always ask questions. Towards the end of the interview, you will probably be asked if you have any questions. Part of your prep work should include preparing thoughtful questions like the below. Have at least 3 planned questions ready to go. This is a good way to show you are actively interested in the role. Also, try to come up with a few content specific questions for topics that were brought up during the interview.
What do you look for in an employee?
How would you describe your management style?
What do you like most about the company?
5) Make eye contact. Even though you may be nervous, try to connect with your interviewer as often as possible by looking him or her in the eyes. This shows strength and assuredness which is a plus when people are looking for confident employees.
6) Be genuine in your answers. A lot of us have been asked, what is your greatest weakness during an interview. I find it helps just to answer the question in a prudent manner and add how you are working to improve that weakness. For example: Time management — I like to complete one task before switching to another, but I realize this is a weakness of mine, and I’m learning how to better organize my schedule, so I can rotate between projects and be more efficient.
7) It’s okay to deviate from your resume. When you get the question, tell me something about yourself, really tell them something! It can be a fun fact, an aspiration, or talk about your favorite hobby. For example: I’ve been to 5 continents and have visited over 25 countries. Or I tried out for the USA Olympic figure skating team when I was 16. Tell them something that is not on your resume so they can get a better feel of who you are.
8) Take notes. Even if you only write down two sentences and a name, at least act like you are invested in what the other person has to say by having a notepad and pen ready.
9) Be natural. It is a good rule of thumb to be as natural as possible. If you are a person who smiles a lot or has a good sense of humor, don’t shy away from that. Be your natural self as much as possible. Not only does that lighten up the mood but also provides a glimpse of your sparkling personality.
10) Listen, pause, talk — in that order. Listen completely to what the person has to say. Then pause for a moment after they are done speaking before you begin to talk. Pausing prevents you from unintentionally interrupting someone. This sounds easy enough but when we are nervous, sometimes, we blurt answers out without fully listening.
11) Follow up the next morning. Don’t wait, send an email out the next morning recapping the meeting and why you’d be a good fit for the position. Also, include in your follow-up email a memorable detail about the individual from the interview. (That is why I would suggest taking notes.) That way they will feel like the job really is important to you — which it is.