The interview is a very important step in the job search process. To help make the interviewing process easier, we’ve compiled a list of must read guide of tips and best practices. These tips will help ensure a successful interview so you can land that dream job you want. Don’t go into your next interview unprepared. Below are the tips you need to know to ace an interview.
1. Read Up On The Company
When preparing for an interview you should always read up and do some research on the company before hand. Interviewers notice when you answer questions or discuss things in a context that is relevant to them. You should make sure you clearly understand the company structure, their mission and value statements, and the products and services that they offer.
This shows the interviewer not only that you made the effort to do your research, but also makes sure that you answer and ask questions in an appropriate context.
2. Understand The Context
Understanding the context around your interview is very important. Does the company need you? Are you just a name in the pile? What’s the job market like?
This all has an impact on the image you need to portray in an interview and the kind of leverage you have. If the company approached you and the labor pool for this job is limited, you have a relatively high degree of power. This company needs to sell you more than you need to sell yourself to them.
If the labor pool is deep and you are one of 100 people applying for the same job with the same background you need to dazzle the interviewer. You need to make sure they remember your name and you highlight all your important skills.
3. Keep It Positive
Nothing impacts the tone of a conversation or an interview more than smiling and keeping positive. This doesn’t mean you should smile like an idiot the whole time, but you do want to come across as warm and engaging. Smiling while you talk helps with this and also helps the interviewer feel like they are connecting with you.
Getting nervous or serious in an interview is definitely something to avoid as you don’t want that to be the impression that the interviewer walks away with.
4. Dress For Success
Wearing a suit is not always the way you want to go when dressing for an interview. You want to wear something that is appropriate for the context of your interview and appropriate for the atmosphere at the company.
If you’re applying at a accounting or financial services company, conservative and a suit is the way to go. If you’re applying at a Silicon Valley start-up you’ll come off as the up tight conservative type that wont fit in.
Scope out the company ahead of time or ask a friend what the dress code is where you’re applying.
5. Leverage Your Network
If you don’t have a friend working at the company you’re applying you probably do have one at a similar company or at least one that knows about that company. Leverage that! Every bit of information you can find out about a company helps you make a better decision. This additional information may allow you to approach the interview better informed than others.
Interviews are in many cases a competition and you want to bring every bit of leverage and information you have to that competition. Furthermore, sometimes you can learn things about a company that would lead you to not want to work there. Best to find that out sooner than later before wasting yours and the interviewers time.
6. Don’t Talk Too Much
This can seem counter intuitive for an interview as you’re probably thinking you’re there to tell them everything you can about yourself. While you don’t want to clam up and not speak at all you don’t want to go overboard. Hit your points, but don’t ramble, highlight your strengths, and don’t talk about everything you’ve ever done in a work environment.
Remember, interviewing is just as much about making a connection as it is about being interviewed. No one likes to sit and be talked at for an hour and if you can get your interviewer talking away and chatting a bit they will come away with a far more positive impression of the whole experience.
7. Think About Your Answers Before Hand
You can get a list of behavioral questions from many different websites and depending on the role you’re interviewing for there will be some you’ll likely be asked.
Think about some of your answers before hand, the last thing you want to do is sit there in an interview and not be able to speak. If you’re looking at a managerial role, you’re going to be asked about your experience managing people. If you’re applying for a leadership role, be ready to discuss examples of leading people to a common objective successfully.
You don’t want to be throwing out canned answers, but you don’t want to be stumped either.
8. Quick Tips
While these don’t deserve a full page here are a few more quick tips to take with you:
Turn off your cell phone! They’re taking time for you, you should give them your full attention.
Avoid strong scents like a aftershave, cologne, and perfumes.
Always thank them for their time at the end of the interview.
Don’t swear or use slang…seems like a no brainer but it happens.
Bring an extra copy of your resume and cover letter just in case.