If you’re going to put yourself out there, you might as well do it right. Interviewing can be stressful, but it can also be fun. Yes, fun. Whether you land the job or not, you’re making great connections and gaining interview experience. At the very least, you’ll know what works and what doesn’t for next time.
But don’t wait for experience to teach you all the ins and outs. Be sure you follow our top 10 interview tips to ensure your next interview is a successful one.
Top 10 Interview Tips:
1. Be Prepared
No interview can be successful without properly preparing for it. When you’ve prepared, you’re more confident and confidence is a great quality in a candidate.
2. Be specific
Answer every question with specific examples to demonstrate your point, even if you’re not asked for them. For example, saying you’re very organized isn’t as impactful as explaining how you keep yourself organized. Being specific and sharing stories with your interviewer will not only offer more insight into your abilities, but it makes you more memorable.
3. Follow up
The interview doesn’t end when you walk out the door. Hiring managers notice if they don’t receive a thank you note. Be sure you follow up in a timely manner. In your note, bring up a personal point of connection with the interviewer, such as something you really found inspiring from your discussion. If applicable, offer something of value, such as a link to an article you thought they’d be interested in as a result of something you talked about.
4. Know Exactly Why You Want to Work for the Organization
If you know everything about the role but nothing about the company you’re interviewing for, the hiring manager won’t take you seriously. You need to show that you understand the position fits into a larger organization and that you are aligned with the mission and values.
5. Be Positive about the Past
Your previous work experience, whether good or bad, has ultimately taught you some important things. Whether those things were skills or values, be clear on what you gained from each role and the growth that accompanied the experience.
6. Know Your Story
Whether you’re asked “Can you tell me about yourself?” directly or not, have an answer ready. I don’t mean have an answer rehearsed. I mean be sure you know your story, what you bring to the table and what your value proposition is. Start with an overview of your career in broad strokes. Illustrate key things you’ve learned along the way and end with why you’re ready to make a move, what attracts you to this position and what you think you can accomplish for the organization.
7. Have Real Questions to Ask
If you don’t have any questions, you’re not thinking deeply enough about the role. Having thoughtful questions that aren’t answered by a visit to the company website shows genuine interest, that you take your career seriously and want to make a truly informed decision if given an offer.
8. Look the Part
Yes, it seems old school to throw this in the mix, but old habits die hard. First impressions do count, especially when you’re meeting with multiple people who may have different opinions of your attire. Make your accomplishments and skills the center of attention, not your accessories or wardrobe.
9. Take a Moment To Meditate
Whatever your commute is, you’ll invariably encounter some frustrations along the way. Traffic may get you tense while you’re behind the wheel, while being packed like a sardine on the subway is no picnic either. Before you walk in and announce yourself, take a moment. Breath in your confidence and exhale your stress. Visualize enjoying the conversation you’re about to have. Trust your preparation and let the rest go.
10. Debrief When You’re Done
The best way to get better at something is to review the tape and see how your performance could improve. Give yourself permission to unwind, but not long after, go over the mental tape of the interview. Is there anything that you could improve upon for next time? Each interview is unique, but the more you practice, the better you get. Likewise, evaluating any areas for improvement will only help you make sure your next interview is an even bigger success.