Top 10 tips for a successful job interview
By Amanda Owusu
Posted on July 26, 2021
A job interview can be a nerve-wracking experience no matter how many times you have done one in the past. One way you can beat the pre-interview nerves is by being prepared. This article will touch on 10 different tips and skills that you can use to prepare yourself for virtual or in-person interviews.
1. Do your research!
It’s important to research the values, mission, and operations of the companies you interview for. You can usually find this information on the “About Us” section on the company website. This can help you provide more specific answers during your interview, which shows the interviewer that you came prepared. This makes a great impression.
It can also help to read different reviews about the company from customers and former employees on sites such as Glassdoor, Google, and Indeed. This can give you a better idea of the workplace culture and of how your experience could go. You can also use this information to determine if this company would be a good fit for you, and if you’ll be a good match for them.
2. Review your resume and have relatable examples prepared
Look over your résumé and brainstorm a list of experiences that relate to the requirements and duties listed in the job posting. For example, think of experiences that show your communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. If you have done your research, you can take it a step further and relate your résumé and prior work experiences to the company’s mission, values, and operations.
3. Dress to impress!
An interview is a special event that you want to dress up for. You are not expected to wear extremely formal attire, such as a tuxedo or ball gown. However, make sure that you wear a professional business formal outfit.
For men, this includes dress pants, a dress shirt, and even a tie and blazer if you can. Men are also expected to wear dress shoes or loafers. For women, interview attire can include dress pants or knee-length skirts, dress shirts, dresses, blazers, and blouses and heels or dress shoes. Ensure your clothing is good quality and free from stains or wrinkles.
Indeed, a job search engine, has a detailed guide on how to dress for a job interview that can give you a better idea of how to dress. Ultimately, you want to leave a good impression with your employers, and your attire is a big part of this.
You can get affordable business formal attire from places like Walmart, Value Village, H&M and Zara.
4. Don’t just focus on verbal communication, focus on non-verbal too
Ensure that you are using professional language during your interview. Examples of professional language are not using slang and swear words and using “Mr” and “Ms” when addressing people. You should also try to use a confident and friendly tone.
Be sure to focus on your non-verbal communication as well. You can do this by maintaining confident body language and eye contact throughout your interview. Examples of confident body language include sitting up straight, not fidgeting with your hands or other items, and keeping your chin up.
Indeed has more suggestions on important body language tips that you can use in your next job interview.
5. Plan an early arrival or ensure you have all the necessary software
If your interview is in person, plan your transportation route and prepare to arrive at least 10 minutes early. You want to use every opportunity to impress your employer, and arriving early can be a way to do this before the interview even starts.
If your interview is online, ensure you have downloaded all the necessary software that is required, such as Zoom or other platforms. Also make sure that you have a working link that directs you to the interview before it starts. That way you can reach out to the employer if it doesn’t work. You can also prepare for a video interview by ensuring you have a clean and presentable background.
6. Prepare answers to common interview questions
A lot of interviewers ask similar questions. This means you can prepare for them ahead of time. Common interview questions include:
- What are your strengths/weaknesses?
- Why are you interested in working for our company?
- Why are you the best fit for the position?
- Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.
Glassdoor, an online career resource for employers and employees, has a list of 50 commonly-asked questions that you can prepare answers to.
7. Think before you speak
Think about what the interviewer asked you for a few seconds before responding. This is a small technique that can make a big difference during the interview. When people are nervous they tend to ramble, and you can avoid this by taking a moment to consider how to respond. Embrace the silence and use it as time to think of the best answer.
8. Use the STAR method
STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. This technique works well with behavior-related questions. If an employer asks you a question about what you would do in a certain situation, refer to a situation you’ve experienced that relates to the question, the task you had to complete, the action you took, and the result. This is a great way to give a detailed and organized answer without rambling.
Indeed has a great article that goes into more depth about how you can use the STAR method that includes real-life examples.
Practicing your answers out loud can help you get rid of nerves and prepare for commonly-asked questions. You should allocate at least 20 minutes to practice before your interview. Even if you’re not asked the exact question you practised, this can still help you prepare. You can take one part of your answer and apply it to another context.
10. Prepare your elevator pitch
An elevator pitch is a short, 30-second to one-minute description of yourself, your strengths, your interests, and what you can offer. A lot of interviewers ask you to tell them about yourself or why they should hire you, and this is when you give your elevator pitch.
Your elevator pitch can also be used in situations outside of the interview, such as networking events and when meeting new people.
Hopefully, you feel more prepared to have a successful interview. Remember that research and practice will always be the best way to prepare for a job interview. Happy job hunting!