An interviewer determines whether you are suitable for a job opening by asking only a few questions. You have to demonstrate industry knowledge, functional skills and a compatible personality with your responses and body language. Even more important is being able to present that information, your past achievements and present strengths to the organization in this short amount of time.
Here are a few tips to follow when preparing for a job interview:
- Know yourself
Understanding your strengths, weaknesses and personality will help you formulate answers to your interviewer's questions.
- Research the company and the interviewer
When working with a recruiter, you will receive information about the company and the role. Use this information to your advantage by mentioning mutual experiences or interests, asking relevant questions or preparing well-crafted responses.
- Dress professionally
Consider all of the details of your attire, even your socks and accessories. You'd be surprised how many times hiring managers make a decision based on your clothing.
- Pay attention to grooming
Comb your hair, brush your teeth and keep the cologne / perfume subtle.
- Listen carefully to the interviewer's questions
Take time to think about your answer. You don't have to respond immediately and you don't have to talk constantly. You can even respond with a question of your own to clarify the meaning or to show appropriate interest.
- Make eye contact
Eye contact is a subconscious way to show confidence. When the interviewer is speaking, look him or her in the eyes. If there are multiple interviewers, make eye contact with each person equally. Make sure to do this sparingly though, too much eye contact can be intimidating and even uncomfortable.
- Be confident
Be confident, but don't be rude. An interviewer wants to know you know your stuff, but don't boast or let your ego take over the conversation. You still have to be likable, regardless of your skills.
- Ask your interviewer engaging questions
Not asking your interviewer any questions is a red flag. Some easy questions to ask your interviewer are: "Why is this position open?," or "How do you measure success?."
- Send an interview follow up letter
While hand written interview thank you letters are a thing of the past, you should still send an email with 24-48 hours of your interview's completion.
The interviewer wants to get a sense of what you can do, but also what you will do. When answering questions, look for ways to give an accurate and positive response that depicts your skills and experience.
Download the guided Job Interview Prep Kit for a detailed, fill in the blank workbook to help you ace your next interview!
Below are a few common questions you may be asked with tips on how to best respond:
- Tell me about yourself.
Ask, "Which part of my experience would you like me to start with?" Then give a two-minute response, starting with their request, that demonstrates you are a positive and enthusiastic person who will be valuable to their company.
- What have you been doing for the last six months (or the last year)?
The hiring manager already has your resume. With this question, they want to understand your activities, daily tasks and ability to handle projects, teams, etc. Use this opportunity to describe the technical aspects of your last position and how you handle deadlines and pressure.Be prepared to spend a few minutes discussing your larger assignments or projects with specific details and examples as supporting evidence. Avoid abrupt "yes" or "no" responses.
- Why did you leave your last position?
State your reasons honestly and simply. Do not give a long, detailed answer on the "wrongs" you found at the job and don't bash your employer or coworkers.
- What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
Speak about your strengths concisely with supporting details. The ability to talk about yourself positively is an indication of self-confidence.
Many websites will tell you to choose a weakness that isn't really a weakness, such as being a perfectionist, but we recommend responding with this instead: "None have been called to my attention that would prevent me from doing a good job in this position." It is a quick and easy answer that will move the interview to another more positive question.
At the end of the day, a strong interview can land you the job even if your skills and experience aren't the exact requirements of the role. Follow our tips and you'll surely walk away with an offer.