Job interviews can be both the most exciting, yet stressful experiences that we will ever go through.
If you’re just about to walk into an interview for your dream job, then being well prepared and confident is essential for you to give your best impression to hopefully land the job.
Many interviewers will tell you, that it’s just as much about personality as it is professional suitability to the role. Certain skills can be taught fairly quickly, so if you’re able to display that you’re a confident, creative, fast learning and reliable individual, then you could end up getting hired for a job over somebody who has a more suited professional background.
Whilst I’m still reasonably young, I bounced around between quite a few different jobs in my late teens and early twenties before I found what I enjoyed.
Many of those roles involved working in the recruitment industry – so through a combination of experience and insider industry training, I’m now pretty confident in job interviews.
So if you’ve got a big interview coming up, and you want to show off that you’re totally the best thing since sliced bread, then I’ve got some super helpful tips that you can use to make sure that you ace the interview and get that job of your dreams!
If you’re looking for more career tips, then you’ll also love this post on 5 Habits Of People Who Always Get Promoted At Work
14 Helpful Interview Tips To Land Your Dream Job
1. ARRIVE AT THE PERFECT TIME
Arriving at the right time doesn’t just mean get there early. Arriving too early can give just as much of a bad impression as arriving late – as it makes you look overly-keen, and interrupts the interviewer from whatever they were doing before they’re ready for you.
The sweet spot is to arrive 15 minutes before your meeting.
2. OFFER A SMILE AND FIRM HANDSHAKE
First impressions really count, especially in an interview. From my own experience interviewing candidates for jobs, I’ve usually made up my mind if they’re not suitable for the job within the first five minutes.
Greet the interviewer with a warm smile and a firm handshake – not too firm though, you don’t want to come across as aggressive. A warm greeting displays that you are confident, self-assured and approachable.
3. DON’T OVERDRESS AND WEAR SOMETHING COMFORTABLE
Gone are the days where you should wear a suit to every interview, regardless of the role.
Overdressing can be just as bad as underdressing. Do your research about the type of thing that people in the office wear to work – it’s not a bad idea to drive past the office at 5.30 a few days before your interview, and have a look at the sort of things people are wearing.
It might sound over the top, but the hiring manager is looking to see if not only you have the skills and experience to carry out the job at hand, but if you will fit in with other members of the team. So if you turn up decked out in a suit, whilst everyone else in the office is dressed in shorts and polo’s, you’re not going to come across as a likeminded induvidual.
You also want to make sure that you feel comfortable. Women, don’t wear too high heels or short skirts, the last thing you want is to be pulling down your skirt whilst you’re sat opposite the interviewer.
4. PREPARE ANSWERS TO COMMON QUESTIONS
Do some research on commonly asked interview questions, and prepare suitable answers that you can use so you don’t have to think of what to say on the spot.
Write a script if it helps! Job interviews are a kind of performance, and learning your lines, is actually a really good idea if you’re the sort of person who freezes up when they’re put under pressure.
There are always going to be questions which catch you off guard, but if you’ve got a mental script of things to talk about, you’ll find it much easier to put together an appropriate answer to those trickier questions when they come around.
5. DON’T WAFFLE
Get to the point.
If the interviewer asks you a question, then answer that question – don’t waffle on about something else that’s totally irrelevant. Being a chatterbox can be a great thing as it shows you’re friendly, but waffling will just display nerves, or that you’re out of your depth.
6. DON’T TRY TO AVOID QUESTIONS
Further on from my last point, don’t try to waffle your way out of a question that you don’t know the answer to. If the interviewer asks you if you’ve had experience working with a certain type of software, and the answer is no, then say no.
Avoiding giving answers that you believe are going to discredit you is only going to make it appear like you’re being dishonest to get the job – and if you somehow do get the job and you’re not qualified, you’re going to struggle once you start work.
It’ll be way more embarrassing to have to tell your new employer that you told fibs in your interview than if you were just upfront to begin with
7. SELL YOURSELF AND YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Ahhh, the dreaded, “giving me an example of a time when you…”
Whilst these types of questions can be the most intimidating of all, this is the best chance you’re going to get to show off that you’re totally the best person for the job.
Going back to point four, when you’re practising answers to the questions you’re anticipating, take a look back on your career, and think about your biggest achievements and accomplishments. Maybe you’ve been given a prestigious award, created a popular product, implemented a solution that improved operations or anything else that’s been great for the business – whatever it may be, nows the time to boast about it.
If you’re fairly early on in your career, and you genuinely don’t have an example from past jobs, then tell a story from school, college or your personal life that fits the same theme.
8. RESEARCH THE COMPANY
Do your research on the company that you’re interviewing for – you’re there to impress!
Spend some time on the company’s website, and make sure that you have a thorough understanding of what it is that they actually do. Other things that you should also be researching are:
- recent news articles about the company
- have they been nominated for any awards or accolades
- what projects are they currently focused on
- what is their mission statement
- what are they doing to give back to the community
- have they been involved in any research
- what products or services have the released recently
These are just a few ideas, but the more you know about the company, the more you’re going to look like you want this job with this company, and you’re not just at another interview trying to get hired.
9. RESEARCH THE PERSON INTERVIEWING YOU
Do a little research on the person who is interviewing you.
No, don’t stalk their Facebook and find out if they’re married and where they went on holiday last year – I’m talking about professional research on the hiring manager.
See if there’s any information on the company website about this person – were they involved in founding the company, what are they passionate about, what accomplishments have they made?
Also, check out LinkedIn: this is the best source of information for a person’s professional background, and knowing about the person you’re meeting will not only give you things to talk about, but it might also be a way to see the potential path of progression if you get this job.
Keep it strictly professional and you won’t come across as creepy.
10. DON’T ASK ABOUT PAY OR BENEFITS
Never, ever ask about the salary or employee benefits for the role.
If they mention it, then feel free to discuss it, but don’t be the first one to bring it up.
The person interviewing you does not want to feel as though you’re just looking for a way to get paid. They’re looking for somebody who can fulfil a role in their business, so don’t do yourself a disservice by mentioning money.
If you get further on in the application process then you’ll soon find out about the remuneration package anyway.
11. PREPARE QUESTIONS
When it gets to the end of the interview and they ask you if you have any questions for them, always make sure you’ve prepared something to ask. If you say no, it’s just the final nail in the coffin that makes you look disinterested.
If you’re not sure what to ask, here are a few ideas:
- whats the training programme like when starting the role/how will you prepare me for my role?
- What will a typical day look like in this role?
- What opportunities are there for progression?
- What are the biggest challenges for this company and your department?
- What are the plans to grow the company over the next few years?
- What’s the morale like within the company?
- What’s your favourite thing about working for this company?
- What are the next steps in the interview process?
A final question you can ask – depending on how well you feel the interview has gone – is “could I have a little look around the office and see where I would be working?”
If you feel confident that the interview went well and you’d be a strong consideration for the role, then this can be a great way to show you really are interested, and it’ll also be nice for you to actually picture what it will be like working for the company.
Asking for a tour is a great way to judge how much they liked you. If they only take a minute or so to give you a glimpse of the workspace, then you can assume they’re trying to get you out the door, but if they take some time to show you around, introduce you to others in the team and show you any equipment that they have to offer, you can assume that you’re a strong contender for this position.
Try to relax as much as you can during your interview. I know its easier said than done, and nobody likes interviews, but if you manage to stay calm, you’ll find it much easier to conduct yourself and give the best answers to the questions that are asked of you.
One thing that always used to help me, is to remember that you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you. Both you and the interviewer are on equal turf, just trying to decide if you’re the right fit for the company and the role on offer. So don’t put the interviewer on a pedestal any more than you would yourself.
If you’re still feeling stressed, then remember that practice makes perfect. Go to every single interview that is offered to you – even if you already know that you wouldn’t be interested in that job. The more interviews you attend, the more confident you’ll become.
13. TELL THEM THAT YOU WANT THE JOB
If you get to the end of your interview and feel like you would really like to be offered this job, then tell the interviewer!
Candidly telling the interviewer you’re interested, is your final opportunity to show that you’re not just looking to get hired so you can pay your bills, but that you want to work for this company.
14. FOLLOW UP
Lastly, remember to follow up with the interviewer if you haven’t heard from them after a little while.
They might tell you at the end of the interview that they have other people to see, so don’t expect to hear from them for a week. If this is the case, then don’t follow up earlier than the time that they said. If it goes beyond this, then drop an email to the recruiter to remind them that you’re really interested in this role, and you’d love some feedback following your interview.
If it takes a while to hear back, don’t lose hope. I remember one interview I had a couple of years ago took four weeks, and several emails back and forth to the hiring manager before I finally got an answer – and I was eventually offered the job!
There could be any number of reasons that it’s taking a while to get an answer – they’re waiting for signoff on the role, they’re still interviewing other candidates, they liked more than one person so they’re looking for a way to recruit multiple people, or they could just be busy with other things.
To Finish Off…
I really hope you enjoyed this post and that you will be able to use some of these tips in your next job interview to totally smash it!
Let me know any of your top tips for a successful job interview, or even if you have any advice to share on what not to do – I’m sure our readers would love to hear what you have to say!
Make sure to check back here soon, as I post brand new career, lifestyle, personal finance and health & fitness tips on The Angelina Archives every single week!