How to Succeed at Job Interviews: Essential Job Interview Tips

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!

Succeeding at 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 for job interviews. 

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. 

How to Prepare for a Job Interview

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 when the big moment comes. 

Research the Business

Before you go into any 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. 

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. 

Pick an Outfit

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. 

It is also 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 the 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. 

Do's and Don'ts During the Job Interview

There are things to do and not do, during the interview as well. A lot of these 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. 

Avoid Fidgeting

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. 

Phone Interview Tips

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 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 Interview Tips

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 Professionally

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. 

Tidy Up

Choose where you're going to sit for the video interview. Then clean up 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. 

What to Do Once the Interview is Over

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. 

Send a "Thank You" Email

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. 

Thank You Email Template:

Recipients Name, 
Thank them for their time and their 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. 
Sincerely, 
Your Name