10 Ways to Ace Your Next Interview
Submitting your resume is only the first step towards a new career. Once your resume has been approved, you will be called in for a job interview and meet with those that will decide whether or not they want you to be a part of their company, or if they would rather hire someone else.
That is a lot of pressure, especially since you are likely not an expert in job interviews. While every job interview is different, there are several important tips and strategies for impressing employers and acing job interviews.
Dress to Impress
The way you dress for an interview has a direct effect on how you are perceived by the hiring manager. Picture an excited new graduate showing up to his first professional interview in swim trunks and a tank top with a baseball cap to top it off. He will be remembered, but for all the wrong reasons.
Make sure you are comfortable yet professional and dresses for the position you are seeking. Match your outfit to the job opening. Always try to aim one notch above the everyday dress code. If the company culture allows business casual, dress in slightly more formal attire for the interview.
Make a Great First Impression
If you really want the job, you will put yourself out there to be noticed. Simply showing up for the interview is not enough. Just ask the millions of people who interview each day with no job to show for it.
You have to prepare mentally and physically. Avoid simple mistakes such as drowning yourself in perfume or cologne. Personal hygiene is also a key factor. Any strange odors wafting over the interviewer’s desk are sure to leave an impression, but not the one you will like. In addition, make sure to cut and style your hair and trim any facial hair.
These simple steps will help express your true interest in the position to the recruiter. Make the first move by initiating the handshake. Be friendly to everyone you meet, from the front desk assistant all the way up to the CEO if they happen to attend. You never know who is watching and what influence they might have, so aim to impress everyone in the building.
Give Off the Right Body Language
Have you ever tried to talk to someone who was more interested in their cell phone? I’m sure you quickly picked up on their distant body language. Hiring managers are masters of reading body language. You must express excitement through your movements as well as your statements.
Make eye contact with the interviewer. Make sure to face the interviewer and not turn your back toward them. Avoid slouching and maintain good posture. Demonstrate that you are actively listening by occasionally nodding and verbally affirming that you are understanding. Avoid fidgeting and shuffling too much.
Pay Attention to the Hiring Manager
You can talk the talk and walk the walk, but if you’re offbeat it will not matter. If you are asked about the traffic on your way to the office and respond with the reason you left your previous job, it will surely confuse the interviewer.
Make sure to maintain focus and follow along. If the hiring manager changes topics all of a sudden, you must shift gears as well. Don’t dwell on the last question or outside factors. If you make a mistake, recover quickly and prepare for the next step. Give the recruiter your undivided attention and they will notice.
Research the Company
Go the extra mile by researching the company beforehand. It’s best to begin this process before even applying as you might discover that they are not the best fit for you. Pay attention to things like employee satisfaction, company culture, and the overall vision or goals.
Check the news for any recent, public updates. This shows your interest not only in the company, but in the industry as a whole. Use sites such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor to better understand what is expected of the position you’re seeking.
As an outsider, you must determine how you will fill the vacancy and live up to the expectations. You may feel that this step is unnecessary, and decades ago you might have been correct, however; with increased competition in the workplace, demonstrating initiative is an easy way to set yourself apart from the masses.
Prepare for the Common Interview Questions
We all have heard that practice makes perfect. Your interview is no different. Research a list of the common interview questions and prepare a thoughtful, concise response for each situation.
Can you tell me a little about yourself? Why did you leave your previous position? What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? These questions are asked in nearly every interview worldwide, so avoid choking by rehearsing your responses.
Make a list of professional experiences that showcase your skills. If you are asked about your managerial skills and hesitate for 2 minutes while you think up an example it will not be convincing.
Quick, prepared responses that adequately answer the question are a surefire way to highlight your professional background
Demonstrate Your Benefit to the Company
If a company is hiring, it is because they need someone to help them complete their goals. This means you have to show them you are capable of helping to accomplish those goals.
Reviewing the job listing is a great way to determine what the company is looking for in a new employee. Demonstrate each skill mentioned in the job posting in your interview. If they are seeking a driven salesman, make sure to be enthusiastic and captivating.
Make the company visualize you succeeding at the job before even getting hired, don’t focus solely on yourself. Also mention your teamwork skills, and of course back it up with concrete examples.
Ask All the Right Questions
Every interview is a two-way street. You are expected to answer a series of questions to prove your compatibility with the company, but it doesn’t end there. When you are truly interested in something, you inevitably want to know more about it.
Hiring managers expect you to have questions prepared. Questions regarding the company vision, culture, and policies show that you have researched the company and intend on filling the position.
Don’t be afraid to nicely ask for clarification, if something is unclear. Don’t go overboard, you don’t want to dominate the entire conversation. Feel out the situation and walk the fine line between showing interest and annoying the interviewer.
Find a Connection
Try to find a common connection with the hiring manager. A quick social reference shows your human side and gives the recruiter a personal detail to attach to your resume.
It is easier to find a common connection than it may seem. Is there a tennis racquet in the corner? Do you recognize the University from the diploma on the wall? Recognize the city from a vacation picture?
Any commonality you find can be used to spark a conversation.
The interview doesn’t end with the last question. Remember to thank the interviewer for their time and let them know you are excited to hear from them. Make sure to get the recruiter’s business card.
Before walking out the door, ask about the notification process. Sending a thank you note to the hiring manager soon after leaving sends a great message. Showing up at the office lunch uninvited might be a little overboard, but If a week passes without any follow-up, sending a polite email reaffirming your interest in the position is ideal.