Job Interview Tips and Advice
The interview process can be extremely stressful, especially if you need to find a new job quickly. Often times this comes with a sense of desperation to the point people forget the basics of interviewing. These job interview tips will cover all of your bases so when you go in for your interview the stress can be alleviated as much as it can be. Being prepared and reading an article like this already shows you’re preparing better than most, but it can also show that you’re probably nervous. If you are (which you most likely will be), remember that these tips and tricks will help as much as they can and if you don’t land the job it was most likely nothing you did wrong. There is a ton of competition in the work force these days and people who know they have a leg up on the competition show up at interviews more confident than everyone else. These tips will help you give off that same confident vibe even if you don’t have the same merits as your competition. In some cases that confidence can actually land you the job. With all of that said, these are some of the best job interview tips to help you land your dream (or just temporary) job on your next interview.
1. Be on Time
Starting with the obvious you should be at an interview on time. On time does not mean an hour early. Getting there up to 15 minutes in advance is fine, but waiting for anything longer than that will look silly. This happens where people show up way too soon and it makes them look desperate. There has to be a fair amount of time left until the interview but nothing too early.
2. Look Professional and Well Groomed
This is obvious as well and all typical grooming steps should be taken in order to look presentable. I mainly write this because it’s important to dress for the job your applying for. A starting position for a younger person usually wouldn’t require a suit and tie. Know the attire for the place you’re applying and look the part. “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.” (No, this does not mean to show up at your interview dressed as Batman either.) Jokes aside, dress well and appropriately. You’d be surprised how often people wear novelty ties to a job interview in a well dressed environment. Save that for when you have the job. Similarly, there’s no reason to rent a tuxedo to apply for a job as a cashier in a small store.
3. Appear Confident
Appearing confident has a few key aspects involved with it, everyone you see on the way to your interview should be impressed with how you look, just like the interviewer. Your potential boss may see you before the interviewer does and based on how you look may make some suggestions to the interviewer. The moment you start walking into (and in the direction of) the building, it’s game time.
*Maintain eye contact. Someone who is confident can maintain eye contact throughout an interview and maintains eye contact with everyone they meet on the way to the interview. Eye contact with a smile and nod is even more efficient. You could be in an elevator with your next boss or the interviewer, and eye contact with a smile could send the signals you need to get the job before you even say a word.
*Don’t fidget. Whether it’s during the interview or on the way, it’s important not to be all shaky and jittery. I get it, interviews are scary, but you have to look confident and not terrified. Most people don’t realize that when they’re sitting there’s a natural leg shake going on. This is common for people who are nervous. Don’t get restless leg syndrome while waiting and during the interview. Being cognizant of your small movements is important in all interviews and business meetings.
*Remember to relax. This goes along with having jitters, you don’t want to be sweating up a storm because you’re so nervous. Relax. These tips are all going to give you an advantage, you’re reading this article, you’re already preparing more than most other people do who may be too into themselves. It’s good to be nervous because it means you’re going to prepare the best you can, just don’t let it overwhelm you to the point it starts showing.
*Maintain composure with everyone. Everyone around you may be watching you. That sounds like a funny tagline to a movie, but don’t think you can just chill when you get into the interview office. If you’re bouncing around the waiting area someone is going to notice and maybe even say something. Again, the second you walk into the building you’re at, the interview starts. Stand up straight, walk with confidence, sit comfortably, and remember that confidence is a key aspect to landing a job.
4. Speak Confident/Professionally
*Avoid words such as “like” and “uh”, saying “like” 100 times or starting every answer with an “uh” can be off-putting, take a moment instead of saying “uh” and answer questions confidently. That’s the trick to not saying “uh”, just taking a brief second to think and then answer confidently is better than blurting out uhhhhhhh uhhhhhh for the entirety of the interview. If you have someone who can ask you questions, practice and see if you do this. A lot of people do without noticing, and while it’s not the most damaging thing in the world, it can be noticeable if you’re not doing it.
*Don’t ramble or speak too quickly. It’s important to answer questions in full, but not to go on continuously. Once you’ve gotten to the point you’re finished, maybe even after a little elaboration, but don’t go on and on and on. An interview can cause the same nerves that are stereotypically assigned to guys talking to attractive women. They stumble and stop thinking straight so they ramble on about irrelevant things, trying to make sure what they say is perfect.
*Don’t get too comfortable with a humorous interviewer. ALL interviewers are hardasses and if one seems to be a “friendly jokester” then he or she is most likely full of crap. The over humor “buddy” vibe can distract you and make you speak like you’re with a friend which can throw you off. Stay professional at all times. If an interviewer is being an extreme jokester for some reason it can be awkward to maintain a professional demeanor, but it’s important to stay that way. Take the situation as it comes deciding what’s appropriate to say or not say in these situations. It isn’t common, but it’s not unheard of for an interviewer to get almost a little too jokey. Smiling, laughing along, and agreeing is a great way to disarm this tactic if it happens. It makes you appear good humored without having to blabber or seem unprofessional. Plus, if this actually happens to you, it feeds the ego of the interviewer where they’re just oh so funny you’re laughing back and agreeing with them. Again, this would be a rare situation, but it’s good to be prepared for anything and to know what you would do if you encounter this kind of situation. It’s extremely common for most interviewers to at least say a funny line or two, and laughing with a “yeah, exactly” is much more beneficial than returning with your own comedy routine.
5. Prepare in Advance
*There are many questions interviewers ask and my personal favorite to warn people about that always tricks people up is about “altercations in past jobs.” You can’t say you never disagree with anyone, but it also can’t make you seem disagreeable either. There’s a fine line to walk with potentially difficult questions. At a later time I’ll make a compilation of the hard questions, there’s literally over 100 that could be asked and there’s no way an interview tips article is the place to discuss those. Instead just go over the questions with someone or practice answers in your head to the point they sound good. Difficult questions like that need to have a “sneaky answer” where the disagreement was legitimate and both parties had valid points. Of course the “solution” in that situation needs to avoid any insults to former coworkers.
*Make Facebook and Twitter profiles private. If you have any other social media accounts make those private too. It’s guaranteed your potential employer will search for you. Remember that cover photos and profile pictures are always public too. All pictures should be generic, whether it’s of you or the cover. Go with something basic like a beach, everyone loves the beach. You don’t want to tip your personality with a cover photo. A bunch of girls asses is probably not a good idea. Maserati’s and Lambo’s with a caption “all I do is get paid” is also probably not the best idea when interviewing. A lot of people do a name change when they’re interviewing as well. They make private profiles AND use a middle name or a fake one. It’s up to you to what level you want to take it. As a side note, if you decide to add coworkers to Facebook at any point, understand that what you say translates to the real world. It can complicate things in your work environment. As a general pro-tip, always be aware of your pictures and what you say on social media. A lot of us have gotten so comfortable that we forget these things, especially when it can impact our careers.
6. Know the Employer
Obviously before working for a company you should know about what it is that they do. It’s possible (even likely) you’ll be asked questions about the particular companies strengths and areas of expertise. If you know everything a company does you won’t be caught off guard when asked if you’re familiar with one of the products they’re involved with. Even if you’re B/Sing (more on that in the next point), it definitely helps your credibility if you’re knowledgeable. There’s a lot of things you can make up, but making up things about the company to a company employee isn’t going to work out, so in that situation you’ll have to say I don’t know if you genuinely don’t know. It’s always good to do a little research, company websites have tons of information.
7. Be Honest and Sincere
Sometimes interviewers will take notes and will try to catch you off guard on something you said earlier if it appeared incongruent with your personality or resume. Honesty obviously does not apply to telling stories the interviewer wouldn’t know about, but strictly applies to your expertise. If you can’t do something or don’t have experience doing something it’s best to not pretend you can. I don’t say that because you may look foolish if you get the job, but rather because they may follow up with a question on your expertise that may confuse you if you really don’t know how to do something. I firmly believe that almost anyone can be trained or learn to do anything if they work hard for it, but if you say you’re great at HTML and then they ask you to start coding in the room, you could be in some trouble. Story embellishments are fantastic, personality claims are ok too, but going overboard with difficult skills could be pushing it. Granted, most people don’t apply for jobs where extreme knowledge like that is needed if they don’t actually know about the subject.
8. Share Previous Work Successes/Examples but Don’t Boast
It’s often suggested on interview tip articles to share examples of previous successes in past jobs when prompted. Obviously this is your time to shine and share your strengths with an actual story of success, but it’s important to not enjoy the limelight too much in this situation. Bragging is not a good look, you should act like you’ve been there before and can be there again when it comes to being successful. Whether it’s nerves, trying to look good, or naturally just a cocky person, you don’t want to overdo the success stories and go on and on about how great you are. Even if it’s true, it will almost assuredly annoy the interviewer. This part is similar to the “don’t ramble” tip from earlier. You want to keep your success stories efficient and understandable. Have a few in mind regarding different situations before the interview. Scenarios, both positive and negative, always come up.
9. Leave on Good Terms
Finishing the interview is just as important as the start and the questions themselves during the process
*It’s always advised to ask questions and it should be a genuine question and not one for the sake of asking. Thoughtful questions go a long way to seeming legitimate and genuinely enthusiastic about working for them.
*Don’t forget to thank the interviewer.
10. Follow up
Even if you know you messed up an interview or if you know someone who got the job or any other reason that you know for a fact that you didn’t get the job, it’s a good idea to follow up anyway. There is no situation where following up shouldn’t be done. Thanking the interviewer or HR person for the opportunity when following up can help if you re-apply somewhere down the line.
Maybe the person the company hired leaves after a short period of time. Maybe the person the company hired never shows up. Maybe the person took the job but kept options open to get another job. Maybe another similar job opens up because the company is expanding.
As you can see, there are many variables where you could be up for another job within the company. Maybe on your interview they felt a different position would suit you but they wanted to see if you’d follow up before suggesting it. Anything can happen and even if it leaves the door open for future consideration then that’s a good enough reason to follow up. It’s possible when you increase your skillset or continue your education an old company you interviewed for becomes an option to work at again. There’s so many options on the table you’d be silly not to call and be friendly just to establish yourself as a potential choice for future jobs.