Job interviews can be a stressful part of the job hunting process. But with some tips, you can easily ace your next interview and land your dream job!
Do you have a weakness for job interviews? Succeeding in job interviews is a crucial part of the job consideration process. How you do in the interview can be the deciding factor in whether you get hired or not. That’s why we put together this master guide with all the job interview tips you need.
Explore this Article:
- Job Interview Preparation
- Job Interview Tips
- Job Interview Questions
- Phone Interviews
- Video Interviews
- Job Interview Follow Up Email
- Useful Job Resources
When searching for a new job, part of the process often includes an interview. Employers conduct job interviews so they can get to know you and ask important questions. They want to gain a better impression of who you are than they can from just your resume. This will then better help them decide who to hire.
Job Interview Preparation
There are things you need to do before, during, and after an interview in order to ace it. First, we’ll go over what you need to do before you even get to the interview. These tips will help you feel confident and prepared for job interviews when they come.
Research the Business
Before you go into an interview, you should sit down and do some research on the company or business you are interviewing with. Find their website, visit their store, read reviews, and read articles about them to become more familiar with the company.
You want to research the business because then you’ll have a clearer understanding of what they do and what might be expected of you at this new job.
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You can even research the company before you send in your resume. Then you can tailor your resume and cover letter to that particular business. For example, you might see on their website that community service is important to the members of this company. Then you can be sure to list your volunteer experience first on your resume.
Review the Job Description Again
Read and review the job description so that you really understand all the information the employer has already provided about the job. That way you won’t ask questions in the interview that you should already know the answer to. It will make you look bad if you don’t know something that was clearly stated in the job posting.
Pay particular attention to the skills and requirements they list in the job posting. This will give you important insights into what they want to know about you in the interview. For example, if photoshop is a required skill, then be prepared to talk about the ways you’ve successfully used photoshop to complete jobs and tasks in the past.
What to Wear to a Job Interview
Don’t pick the clothes you are going to wear on the day of the interview. This will make it take longer for you to get ready and leaves you vulnerable to wardrobe malfunctions and catastrophes. Instead, pick your clothes a few days before, try them on to see how they look, and make sure they’re clean, ironed, and neat.
A lot of people also wonder what to wear to a job interview. But picking job interview outfits doesn’t have to be complicated. It is usually better to be overdressed than underdressed. So no matter what the job might be, it’s always a good idea to dress Business Professional.
Business Professional includes things like skirts, suits, suit jackets, blazers, button-down shirts, collared shirts, and dress shoes.
It’s also important that you manage your grooming before a job interview as well. To give your best first impression you want to be clean, look clean, and smell clean. Also, be careful not to wear too much perfume or cologne. The purpose of proper grooming is to look like you know how to manage and take care of yourself.
Plan your Trip
Plan your transportation ahead of time for the day of the interview. Know how you are getting there and when you need to leave. Be 15 minutes early to make sure you aren’t late and to show how punctual you are.
You’ll also want to make transportation preparations to make sure you have enough gas in the tank or suddenly realize you didn’t ask for the address. You should also ask for a phone number to contact in case you have trouble finding your way. Some people even like to make the trip to the interview the day before just to make sure they won’t get lost on the day of the interview.
Don’t Forget to Eat!
Eat an hour or so before you go to the interview. You don’t want to suddenly have a rumbling stomach during the interview or trembling fingers because you didn’t eat yet that day.
When you’re nervous, it can be easy to lose your appetite and forget to eat. So don’t forget to put feeding yourself on your preparation list for the job interview.
Bring a Notepad and Pen
Bring your own notepad and pen so you can take notes if you need to during the interview. You can also use the notepad to keep a list of questions you want to ask so you don’t forget them.
Having a notepad with you can also help you look more professional and ready to be productive.
Job Interview Tips
There are things to do and not do, during the interview as well. A lot of these job interview tips revolve around the art of public speaking. In a job interview, you have to make conversation in front of a stranger, or even several strangers sometimes. You want to learn some public speaking skills so you can present yourself well and give a good first impression.
Don’t fidget in your chair too much. When you’re nervous it can be easy to tap your foot incessantly without even noticing you’re doing it. But your interviewer notices.
Learn to talk with both feet firmly planted on the ground and your hands in your lap. Do a test run of public speaking for the interview with a friend to get someone to notice your nervous ticks for you so you can work on them.
Avoid Filler Words
Don’t use filler words. This can be a very difficult habit to get rid of, but with some practice, you can do it. Practice talking through your interview with a friend who has a counter and can count all the times you say your favorite filler words.
Do several practice runs until that number goes down or even reaches zero. Once you force yourself through practice to get rid of filler words in your speech, you’ll find it a lot easier to avoid them.
Make Eye Contact
Make eye contact with the person conducting the interview. Making eye contact shows open, friendly, and confident body language. It can also help you seem less nervous than you are if that’s something you struggle with.
But it’s also ok to look to the right or left of someone or up at a spot on the wall or ceiling as you explain an answer if this helps you focus on your answer and not feel nervous.
Keep Body Language Open and Friendly
Use open body language and avoid using closed body language without realizing it. Open body language will help you come across as confident and friendly, a perfect candidate for the open position.
Closed body language includes things like crossing your arms or legs, avoiding eye contact, or slouching your shoulders.
Open body language includes things like shaking hands, making eye contact, keeping both feet on the ground, not crossing your arms, and having good back posture.
When you practice for the job interview with a friend, also practice having good posture, looking your interviewer in the eye, and using open, confident, and friendly body language.
Don’t Criticize Others
Don’t criticize or complain during the interview. This will make you seem tacky, immature, unprofessional, or even rude. It’s particularly a bad idea to complain about your previous boss in an interview. This will not earn you points in their eyes or flatter your potential future boss.
Instead, this kind of talk will make them think you’ll talk bad about your new boss or the company behind their backs and no employer wants that for their business.
The person conducting the interview might ask you some questions about your old employment like, “what were some things you didn’t like about your previous job?” or “why did you leave your previous job?”
Answer these questions without making things too personal. They don’t want to know that you found your old boss annoying or that this one coworker talked about their cat too much. They want to know more about what you do and don’t want in a job to see if this job is a good fit for you.
Job Interview Questions
We’re going to go over the most common job interview questions and how best to answer them. The biggest thing you’ll want to prepare is your answers to interview questions. That’s why we’re including this list of job interview questions and sample answers. The best way to practice answering job interview questions is to practice answering them with someone. Even if that someone is yourself in a mirror.
Socializing with other ppl in your field is also a great way to network with important people and learn how to talk about yourself within your field.
Common Interview Questions
The best way to answer interview questions successfully is to have a story in mind for each possible question. Have job interview related stories prepared that could illustrate something useful to a potential employer.
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Have examples of when you did hard things, handled conflict, overcame things, had success, when you failed and got back up, when you were a leader, or when you contributed as part of a team.
Tell me about yourself.
This question leaves interviewees everywhere at a loss for words. It’s hard to talk about yourself, and we don’t do it very often, but you’ll want to learn how to talk about yourself in relation to your field.
What an interviewer wants to know by asking this question are things related to the job. If you’re applying for a science job they don’t necessarily want to know how you like soccer.
When an interviewer says, “tell me about yourself” they want to hear a brief overview of your career so far.
What are your weaknesses and strengths?
When an interviewer asks about your strengths and weaknesses they are trying to determine how you perform your job. If you have a weakness within your area of expertise they want to hear about the efforts you’re taking to overcome that weakness.
If you have a particular strength within your field they want to know how you got there and what you learned from developing that strength. They want to see how you function as a person and a potential employee.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
This question might come with an arbitrary amount of years tacked onto it like, “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” but the intentions behind the question are the same. The employer wants to know what your long term goals are and whether those goals will be best served at this job. They want to know what you can gain from this job and what this job can do for your 5-year plan.
Actually sit down and make a current 5-year plan for yourself. It’s ok if your 5-year plan changes each year, it’s just good to have ambitions, an eye on the future, and responsibility for yourself and your future. This is your opportunity to show them you are a goal-oriented person and know how to make plans to reach those goals.
Why should we hire you?
What an employer wants to know here are specific ways you might contribute to this job and help make things better. You can show them how you’ll do this by giving examples of the contributions you’ve made in previous jobs.
For example, maybe you love organizing and helped optimize a filing system at your previous job. You could tell this story to illustrate how your eye for details and organization would make you an asset at this new job as well.
Why do you want to work here?
This question is closely tied to the “where do you see yourself in the future?” question. They want to know how this job fits into your life and your goals. They want to know why you are excited about this job and all you could contribute to making this position better than when you found it.
They want to hear about which parts of this job you feel the most passionate about and why it’s important to you. Maybe you want to work at this job because the position offers opportunities you’ve been looking for, or fits perfectly into your schedule, or allows you to pursue a passion you’ve always had.
At the end of the day, employers want employees who actually want the jobs they give them and who will be happy in this job position.
What questions do you have for me?
At the end of a job interview, they will often ask if you have any questions for them. This is your opportunity to 1) ask about important information that wasn’t available to you before now and 2) ask questions to help you determine whether this work environment is a good fit for you.
You can also ask some of these questions before your interview, like how much the position pays or what are the scheduled hours. Also, don’t be afraid to go in with a small list of questions so you don’t forget them during the interview.
Examples of questions to ask in a job interview:
- Can this job be done remotely?
- What does a normal day at this job look like?
- What are the pay, benefits, hours like?
- How would you describe the perfect employee?
- What’s something you don’t like in an employee?
- How would you describe the workplace environment here?
- How soon can I expect to hear back about a decision?
Job Specific Interview Questions
Questions might also be based on what job you’re applying for. For instance, if you’re going to work with people a lot, or customers, they might want to know how you handle tough situations with people, or whether you prefer working with others or alone.
They might have a test at the interview depending on the job position. For example, editors might be asked to take an editing test. Make sure you know about any job-specific things to expect in your interview.
Phone interviews are often used when schedules and locations just don’t meet up. You might get a phone interview if you are applying for a job out of state or in a faraway town.
There are also some specific ways to prepare for phone interviews that you don’t have to worry about in a normal interview.
Get Rid of Distractions and Noises
Let everyone in the house with you know you’re doing an interview so they know not to disturb you. If you have roommates they can be quiet or make sure they’re out of the house during your interview. If you have kids, you could drop them off at the babysitter’s house for the interview or have a spouse play with them outside while you focus all your attention on the call.
Basically, you don’t want noises in the background of your call. This can distract both you and the interviewer, making it more difficult to perform the interview over the phone.
Dress Up Anyway
Even though you aren’t going anywhere and no one is seeing you, you can still get dressed in business attire. When you’re on the phone it can be easy to forget the professional tone you need for this conversation. But if you’re dressed for an interview then it will be easy for you to remember what you’re doing and take on the professional behavior and tone you need.
Check for Technical Difficulties
Make sure you have good service where you take the call. You want to make sure you won’t lose the call and that you’ll be able to hear them well. If your phone’s speakers aren’t great then you might want to have them fixed before the interview. You could also connect your phone to a speaker to better control volume and hear them better.
Video interviews are another way employers might conduct their interviews. This might just be an easier way for them to get through their interviews. Video interviews allow you to have the full interview experience without anyone having to travel.
Dress and groom yourself the same way you would if you were going to the interview. Because it’s a video interview and not a phone interview, they’ll still be able to see you, so you’re going to want to dress in business attire.
Check for Technical Difficulties
Check your video chatting capabilities with a friend to make sure you aren’t going to run into technical difficulties. A video interview would be ruined if suddenly your camera or video capabilities aren’t working. So do a test run first. Check the video quality, the sound quality, and the connection.
Choose where you’re going to sit for the video interview. Then clean up the space around your designated spot. You don’t want the background behind you to distract the interviewers. Showing yourself in a clean environment will also help you make a good first impression and show you have your life together at home.
Get Rid of Distractions, Noise, and Interruptions
During phone interviews, you need to get rid of loud noise distractions, but for a video interview, you need to get rid of noise and visual distractions. Talk to whoever else might be in the house with you at the time so they know not to walk into the video as well as make too much noise.
Follow Up Job Interview Email
After the interview is over you’ll want to send a follow-up email. The interviewer took time out of their own day to talk to you and give you an extra chance at the job. They thought you were a good enough candidate to actually meet with them before they make a final decision.
So don’t forget to send a thank you email to them for taking the time to meet you and considering you for the job. You can also offer to answer any other questions if they need to contact you again.
Job Interview Follow Up Email Template:
Thank them for their time and consideration.
Remind them of why you would be good for this position and why you are interested in this job.
Mention how you look forward to hearing from them and let them know how to contact you if they have any further questions.
And now you wait. It might be appropriate to send another follow-up email if you don’t hear back from them after a week. There’s also a chance you’ll receive a follow up job interview and need to go through a second interview process. A follow up job interview happens when an employer has reduced a larger pool of candidates and getting a follow up job interview means that you made the final cut! Now you just have to ace your follow up interview and await their final decision.
You might also need some financial help to get you between jobs. That’s where the Check City Personal Loan comes in.
Useful Job Resources
You can also check out this helpful resource for job interviews at RobertHalf.com.
Depending on the type of job you’re applying for, you might also need to know How to Make a Portfolio, whether it’s a hard copy portfolio, or a website portfolio.