Congratulations on landing a job interview! It can be simultaneously exciting and nerve-racking after a job search. Don’t worry. We’re here to help.
Here are 10 tips to help you prepare for and ace your job interview.
1. Research the company.
Before your interview, check out the company’s website and social media. This helps you get a better understanding of who they are, what business goals they may have, and how you might be the perfect fit for the role they posted. This understanding also helps boost your confidence.
2. Study the job description.
Job descriptions are kind of like dating profiles. It’s where the hiring manager and company tell you exactly what they need and are looking for in an applicant. Use it as a guide while preparing for your interview.
3. Think of examples of your work.
With the job description in mind, think of your past work experience and how it aligns with what the employer wants. Think of specific examples that demonstrate the skills they’ve listed that showcase your talent and expertise.
4. Be ready to share your examples using the STAR method.
The STAR method is a technique that helps you structure your answers to interview questions. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
Situation. This sets the context for your example. Start your answer by telling the interviewer the bigger picture of what was happening and when.
Task. Tell the interviewer your role in addressing the situation.
Action. Share the specific actions you took to address the situation.
Result. End your response by telling the interviewer the results your actions had in the situation.
Here’s an example of how this works in an interview.
Sample Interview Question:
Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer.
Sample STAR Response:
When I was at ABC Company, we had a customer who came that was very upset. Their order did not arrive on time and, when they finally got it, the package and contents were damaged. As the Shift Manager, it was my responsibility to help them and resolve the issue. I called the corporate office to explain what happened and was able to get a replacement item shipped to them via overnight delivery at absolutely no cost to the customer. I was also able to give them a special coupon for 15% off their next purchase. The customer was extremely happy and wrote an amazing online review. Use the STAR method to share your examples and you’ll be lightyears ahead of your competition.
5. Prepare a list of questions for the interviewer(s).
If a job description is like a dating profile, then an interview is like a first date. They’re meant to be two-way conversations where both parties learn more about one another. Asking questions is a great way to get a better understanding of the company, its culture, and your potential boss. Here are some questions you might ask:
- What are the day-to-day responsibilities for this role?
- Would you tell me what the company culture is like?
- What is the current team dynamic like?
- What are the characteristics needed to succeed in this role?
- How would my performance/success be measured?
Use these examples as a starting point. Then, think of all the things you want to know about the company and job. Write down your questions and bring them to the interview with you.
6. Bring copies of your resume, pen, and paper.
Most career coaches recommend bringing 5 hard copies of your resume to an interview. The reason? It’s a good look because it shows you’re prepared. And, unlike the digital resume you submitted online, this resume can be designed and formatted. In addition to copies of your resume, bring a notepad or notebook and a pen. That way, you can take notes and jot down key details you can use in your follow-up correspondence.
7. Arrive 15 minutes early.
Plan your day and route so you can arrive 15 minutes early to the interview. Why? It shows the interviewer that you’re ready and prepared. It also gives you time to settle in, calm your nerves, and observe the dynamics of the workplace.
8. Mind your body language.
Did you know 55% of communication is non-verbal? It’s true. Our facial expressions, gestures, and body language tell our listeners more than our actual words or tone. During your interview, be mindful of your body language. Sit tall with your shoulders back and gently clasp your hands in front of you rather than cross your arms. Look your interviewer in the eyes when you shake hands and speak. This ensures you come across as confident and accessible.
9. Ask about next steps.
At the end of your interview, be sure to ask about next steps and what you should expect. The interviewer should tell you when you can expect to hear back and how they will contact you. Be sure you have the interviewer’s contact information so you can follow-up.
10. Follow-up after the interview.
Send a personalized thank you email or handwritten note within 24 hours of the interview. In your message, be sure to reference specific items you discussed with the interviewer. This helps build rapport. For example, let’s say the interviewer mentioned they were planning their son’s 10th birthday party for the coming weekend. In your follow-up note, end it with a simple, “Have a great time at your son’s birthday this weekend! I hope to hear about it soon. Sincerely…”
There you have it – 10 interview tips to help you ace a job interview. We hope these tips help you go into your interview feeling confident and prepared. Good luck!