This week, we’re moving on to part three of our series on how to find and secure the right job. A few weeks ago, we discussed the four most important things you can do to find the right job listing. Now, let’s talk about everybody’s favorite part of the process: the interview.
At this stage in your job search, you’ve probably sent your resume out to dozens of potential employers. Regardless of how long it’s been since you last searched for a job, the interview stage can be one of the most daunting. With just a few easy steps, though, you can make this process significantly easier.
So, without further ado, here are our 5 biggest tips for acing your interview.
#1: Be Prepared
Sounds obvious, right? You’d be surprised how many job candidates come into an interview with little-to-no preparation. Research the company you’re interviewing with and learn as much as you can about their products, services, culture, customers and even their competition. Your chances of selling yourself the right way dramatically increase the more you know about the company you’re interviewing with.
Also, make sure you bring a folder containing any and all pertinent information about you and your career. That means: your resume, a list of references, another copy of your cover letter and examples of your work. Don’t be afraid to take notes during the interview, either. Show the hiring managers you mean business!
#2: Dress For The Part
A few decades ago, this section would’ve been titled: “Dress in your nicest suit.” The times have changed, though. Nowadays, it’s imperative you dress similarly to the employees at the company you’re interviewing at. If it’s a law firm or financial services company, you probably want to stick with that suit, but tech and other like-minded companies tend to go with a more casual look. Don’t be afraid to call up the hiring manager beforehand (or ask any existing employees of the company you may know) how you should properly dress. Like #1, this will show your potential employer you want to fit in.
#3: Be Enthusiastic
The moment you walk into that office, make it clear that you want to be there. Giving out firm handshakes and lots of eye contact show confidence and respect. When you speak, make sure your voice conveys both assertiveness and affability. If you feel like cracking a joke or taking a brief detour in your conversation, get to the punch line quickly. Moreover, make sure you listen and actively engage with what the interviewers are saying—don’t be afraid to read between the lines. Sometimes, not saying anything is more important than saying too much.
#4: Answer What’s Asked And Use Examples
This may sound surprising, but a lot of candidates sometimes don’t even think about whether or not they’re answering what’s been asked by the interviewer. If you’re asked a question, but you don’t understand it entirely, that’s not a bad thing. Just ask the interviewer to clarify it for you!
Furthermore, when talking about your background, don’t be vague. Saying something like, “I helped work on this project” will only make the interviewer imagine various stories that may not be true. Instead, say something along the lines of, “while working on this project, I did x, y and z in conjunction with (person) which helped us meet our timetable.”
#5: Ask Questions and Follow Up
Similar to #4, going to an interview doesn’t mean you’re the only one being interviewed—you’re also looking for a good fit! Throughout the interview, ask pertinent questions that will give you valuable insight into how the company operates. Hiring managers love an engaged candidate.
When you’re done with the interview, follow up with an email or even a handwritten note thanking them for taking the time to meet with you. Remind them of all the great things you can bring to their company and make sure you get any unanswered questions out of the way before it’s too late.