The interview is arguably the most important part of the job-hunting process: a time to make a good impression. Here are a some top tips to keep in mind to help you ace your next interview.
Before the job interview
- Prepare yourself mentally. Familiarize yourself with the business, memorize your resume and review the elements of your professional profile with respect to the job opportunity.
- Prepare examples to demonstrate your strengths and weaknesses (e.g., I am a person who works well under pressure. When “such and such” situation happened, I had to quickly execute “such and such” decision, which had the effect of…).
- Have a list of references that you’ve contacted ahead of time for permission.
- Make the commute at least once. This is especially useful when heavy traffic is a nuisance or where parking is scarce.
- Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early. Bring a notebook to jot down ideas and notes about the job.
- Bring several copies of your resume in case more than one interviewer is present.
- Before greeting the interviewer, make sure you know their name. It’s good manners.
- Always smile, be polite and pleasant with the receptionist. The recruiter may ask them about the “feeling” they got from you as a candidate.
During the job interview
- Always maintain good eye contact with the person you’re speaking to. Although you may feel confident and natural, most people tend to raise and lower their eyes without even realizing it.
- Don’t ramble, but avoid answering questions with one word. Instead, keep responses clear and to the point.
- Balance is the key here. If you talk too much, fidget, are too enthusiastic or unstructured, you will get crossed off the list. The opposite is also true — you don’t want to seem too laid-back or appear to have scripted your answers.
- Emphasize your accomplishments and skills, experience and knowledge and how they fit with the roles and responsibilities of the position you want.
- Be assertive enough to engage and ask questions but don’t dominate the conversation.
At the end of the job interview
- Thank your interviewer for their time. You may ask what the next steps are and to know what the deadline is for their decision, without sounding pushy.
- Don’t let your guard down until you have walked out the door. You’ll be evaluated until you leave.
- Say goodbye to the receptionist.
- Keep information and notes from the interview in a file, and don’t throw anything away. If you get called for a second interview, you’ll need to prepare yourself again. If this is the case, don’t hesitate to ask them about the format of the second meeting, and then prepare accordingly.