40+ Interview Tips
Job interviews are life changing events.
So, we have created the Ultimate Interview Tips and Techniques Guide to help you nail that interview. Whether it is for your first job or a CEO position we have got you covered with 40+ interview tips.
Interview tips you will learn:
- How to prepare
- How to dress
- How to act
- What to avoid
1. Research The Employer
Knowledge is key in all interviews. Having a sound understanding of the employer and how the company operates will place you high above the other candidates. It will allow you to tailor your answers to specific areas of interest for the interviewer.
The usual places to find this information would be their website or social media accounts. But you could go even further by contacting a current or former employee to gauge how exactly the company operates.
Knowing their core values and goals will help you phrase your answers correctly and help them visualize you as part of their team.
2. Find Out Their Future Plans
Every business wants to grow so figure out how you will help them do that. Why will they get there faster if they hire you?
This is at the very center of every interview. Spend as much time as you can researching what strategies and future plans the organization has. Then match it with the experience or traits that you have.
3. Research The Position
Research is part of most interview techniques.
But to help you answer interview questions in a more precise and impressive way you should make it your goal to know the role inside out. Try reaching out to employees that are in similar positions within the company. Linkedin, facebook, twitter are good places to start.
Ask them what tasks are taking up the majority of their time and where the role is headed in the near future. This will help you use certain buzzwords within the interview that will give you an edge.
4. Research The Interviewer
Go one step further and find information on the actual individual who will be interviewing you. Find out where they are from, where they have worked or what they are into.
If you find something that you can relate to, try dropping it into the interview and see if they bite. This interview tip is rarely used but it is very effective.
5. Check The Companies News
If you want to stand out this is always a good trick. The morning of your interview quickly check for any news bulletins or articles related to the organization that you can mention or talk about in the interview.
It will show you have a keen ongoing interest in the company and it might spark a conversation that other candidates won’t have.
6. Try To Solve A Problem For Them
This is probably the most important interview tip and it will give you a major advantage over the other applicants. When doing research on the organization try to find areas where they are having issues and problems they are looking to solve.
Try to match that with experience you have had in solving similar issues and give examples of how you would tackle it if you were hired. But make sure that you are not making negative comments on areas of their organization that they might disagree with.
7. Interview Questions
As mentioned already knowledge is key. Knowing what your employer needs will allow you to tailor the perfect responses that will impress the interviewer.
It’s best to avoid memorizing your responses. Instead, try to visualize bullet points that will help you to structure a good answer on the fly. This will help make it more natural and less rehearsed.
Interviewers love to ask for examples. Try to have 3-4 examples ready which you can use for most questions. Each answer should demonstrate that you are a self-starter that is extremely enthusiastic about the particular position.
8. Practice Your Interview Answers
Avoid reciting answers that are clearly rehearsed and not specific to the information that the interviewer is looking for.
The best way to practice is by writing out clear bullet points related to specific questions. This will allow you to chop and change your answers on the fly to make them more relevant. Even though there are a set number of generic questions that many employers ask, they will generally add some sort of twist related to the position. So you need to be able to mix it up at a moment’s notice.
Memorizing bullet points will give you the ability to do that. While most interview tips will suggest that you should prepare like a robot, always remember to appear genuine.
9. Try To Schedule It In The Morning
Always try to schedule the interview in the morning. Aim for 10:30 on a Tuesday
You will be more awake and alert in the morning. If you are nervous about the interview you don’t want to be sitting around all day waiting anxiously.
The interviewer will also be in a better mood and frame of mind at that time.
10. Be Fully Rested Before Your Interview
Nothing will help you better than a good night’s sleep.
There is no substitute to letting your body prepare and recharge during sleep. Your brain makes sense of all of the information it received during the day while sleeping. So you will help your mind to mentally store all the research you did for the interview and deliver it efficiently.
Energy drinks and coffee will only confuse your attention even further if you are not properly rested.
11. What To Wear To An Interview?
Unfortunately, your appearance really does matter. The safest approach is to dress like the company’s employees do but by taking it up a notch (obviously, if most employees wear shorts they are not a good idea).
Use the company website, Linkedin, Twitter, etc. to research how people dress while they are at the office.
If you are unsure of what exactly to wear it is always better to be overdressed.
Don’t eat or smoke before the interview or do anything that might cause an uninviting smell. Make sure the clothes are fitted and are stain and wrinkle free.
12. Bring Everything
You will probably only get one shot at your initial interview so it is essential to be prepared for any eventuality.
So this means you should arrange to bring EVERYTHING you might possibly need. This includes extra copies of your portfolios, resume, letters of recommendation, list of references, transcripts, etc…
With a number of candidates that interviewers are dealing with on a regular basis, it is expected that files and data go missing all the time. So avoid any complications by having backups at hand at all times.
13. How Early Should You Arrive At An Interview?
Normally arriving to the interview early would be a common interview tip. But it may increase the odds of being caught off guard by the interviewer in the waiting room. If you have done all of your preparation for the interview it would be a shame to be faced with unexpected questions in an unlikely setting.
Of course, it is good practice to arrive at the location well in advance of the interview time. This will allow for any delays along the way.
So it would be better to wait in the building lobby or in a cafe nearby. Then walk into the office 5 to 10 minutes before the interview.
14. Avoid Bringing Coffee
Coffee generally does not go well with nervousness and butterflies in your stomach.
Of course, being alert is essential in all interviews but try to go for a more conventional approach like getting plenty of rest the night before, staying fully hydrated and avoiding a large meal before the interview.
Bringing a bottle of water would be a better idea.
15. Make A Good First Impression
Interviewers take on average 7 minutes to decide whether the candidate is suitable for the job or not.
Unfortunately, that is not enough time to really get to know each candidate. Which is why a good first impression is a huge part of the interview.
Dress well, smile, make eye contact, be positive and enthusiastic about the position from the very start of the interview.
A genuine smile is the ultimate ice breaker. It portrays the image of being relaxed but friendly.
Remember that one of the main factors that an employer is considering when hiring is whether or not they can work with you on a daily basis. Being friendly and open to ideas is essential.
Try to avoid the nervous or shy smile and definitely don’t smirk.
17. Be Focused
Focus on what the interviewer is saying and what they are trying to find out about you. Focus on what answers they are reacting favorably to and what traits they are looking for.
Many times you can only find this out when you are actually there in the interview. Employers generally have a checklist that they are matching to potential candidates. Any giveaway signs that they might give you in the interview can help define your remaining answers.
Remember that most employers just want to know 3 things, can you do the job, can they work with you and are you trustworthy?
18. Be Confident
The majority of jobs will require some human interaction while working with other team members. Showing you are confident in your appearance and in communicating with others is a quality that is sought after in many employees.
Keeping eye contact and delivering measured and precise answers is the best way to do this. Avoid over confident traits like constantly self-promoting yourself at any opportunity.
19. Take Notes
If you want to stand out from the other applicants try taking notes in the interview. Not many people do it so you will give them an extra reason to remember you.
It creates an image that you are keen to answer questions as precise as possible and that you are enthusiastic about the actual position.
Remember that anything that will show your eagerness to be hired for the job will increase your chances.
20. Show Your Personality
A unique personality will set you apart from the rest. Employers want passionate individuals that they would want to work with on a daily basis.
Being yourself can be hard when you are trying to portray an image that suits what the employer is looking for. But don’t be a robot. Let them know that you can be part of a team that works together and gets along with others.
We all know there are plenty of people out there that are just not team players. Make sure the employer is aware that you are not one of those people.
21. Interview Questions To Ask
The reality is that the questions you ask an employer should not be self-motivated such as: how many hours will I be expected to work? what bonuses will I get?
You should be using this opportunity to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role and the company. Do as much research as possible so that you can tailor your questions to suit.
Here is a good example:
I was intrigued to read that you were moving into the mobile device industry. I have some experience and a huge interest in that. Would my role be related to that?
22. Listen To The Interviewer
The interviewer is constantly giving clues to what he or she is looking for. If you are not paying attention to this you are missing out on some invaluable opportunities to sell yourself.
It is common for people to quickly deliver a pre-rehearsed answer to the interviewer’s questions. But you have to listen carefully to what is being said and more importantly what is NOT being said.
It is perfectly fine to ask them politely to repeat something if you did not hear or understand it. It will buy you time to tailor your answer to suit what they are really looking for.
23. Don’t Talk Too Much
Giving too much information will only hurt your chances. The interviewer will ask you to expand on something if they want to know more so always just give a compact answer that contains just the information they have asked for.
Opportunities to self-promote your skills will be obvious when they happen but doing so in every answer will create an image that you are not a focused and practical individual. 30-60 second answers are a good time scale. After that most people lose attention
Of course, some jobs require you to be a ‘talker’ so in those cases knock yourself out.
24. Don’t Be Over Relaxed
Know your place while being interviewed. It’s a fine line between being comfortable in the interview and appearing like you don’t respect the situation.
Aim to mimic what the interviewers are portraying but with an extra level of alertness. Body language and vocal tone are your main areas to focus on when portraying a comfortable but respectful image.
25. Interview Body Language
Body language is essential.
Avoid slouching, mumbling, fidgeting, touching your face, chewing gum, looking around the room, scratching.
Throughout the interview try to smile, make eye contact, engage by nodding, maintain solid posture in your chair and listen intently.
Find a balance between being alert but comfortable with your surroundings.
26. Emphasize Your Good Points
Without over saturation try to emphasize 3 main things when you answer questions:
(1) Your experience in similar roles
(2) Your ability to fully complete and manage tasks and projects without any direction
(3) Your eagerness for that specific role.
Try to have 3-4 examples that demonstrate these qualities which you can use when needed. List out all of your good points before the interview that are related to the position. It will help you recall them when you are in the interview.
27. Think Before You Speak
Follow the 3-second rule when answering all questions. It’s enough time to gather your thoughts and structure a good answer but not enough time to create an awkward silence for everyone in the room.
In fact, it will be perceived as a good trait to have in the eye’s of the interviewer because it shows you are considered in your verbal communication with others.
28. Don’t Be Desperate
It’s a fine line between being enthusiastic and desperate. Show how much you want the job by calmly asking the right questions and displaying the research you have done on the company and role.
Employers will always want someone who shows a keen interest in the role but desperation is a major turn off.
29. Emphasize Your Entrepreneurial Aspects
The best employees are the ones that are self-motivated and regularly contribute creatively to ideas on how to grow a company.
Gives examples of times where your self-starter attitude helped you to take control of projects without any direction and achieve growth for previous employers.
30. Embrace The Nervousness
He who is not nervous is set to fail. Use your jitters to force yourself to do the research and prepare in a way that will set you apart from the rest of the candidates.
Preparation is everything and the rest is enjoyment. Embrace your feelings of the unexpected by familiarizing yourself with as much information as you can in advance of the interview.
31. How To Not Be Nervous
On the day if you are still feeling overly nervous there are a few techniques that can help.
Try pressing on the middle of your palm slightly and release. It helps to reduce anxiety and relax the mind. The old advice to ‘take deep breaths’ will always help to reduce nerves and settle your heart rate.
By far the best way to reduce nerves is by familiarizing yourself with the situation. Repetition is a sure-fire way of feeling more comfortable in any nervous situation. It might be extreme but doing a handful of other real world interviews before your big interview will absolutely help you to gain confidence.
32. Give Specific Examples
The majority of interviewers will ask for specific examples of your skills. These will primarily be related to times when you were able to problem solve or think ‘outside of the box’.
It is best to be prepared and lay out at least 3-4 examples the day before and try to memorize them. The examples should each be slightly different so that you can pick ones to use on the fly when asked specific questions in which you must provide an example.
33. But Keep It Professional
When all is said and done the interviewer is trying to decide how seriously you take your career and will you fit in with the company.
Conducting yourself in a professional manner throughout the interview will let them know that. Be respectful, polite and thoughtful when answering questions. As mentioned in other tips your body language and how you dress will speak volumes about how professional you are.
34. Never Discuss Salary In The Interview
Stay safe and never bring up salary. It’s expected that neither party will mention it in the first interview.
It may come up in conversation if the employer is interested in you or if they want to see how distracted you are about the salary. In either case, it’s best to politely suggest that you are very interested in the role and that you might prefer to discuss the salary at a later time if they are interested in hiring you.
This will reaffirm that your interest in the role outways the compensation.
35. Avoid Inappropriate Language
It’s a good way to get you sent home very quickly. Avoiding all slang is a must but especially in reference to race, age, politics, sex or religion. It’s best to be extra safe in this department and avoid all types of slang.
36. Always Positive
Obviously this is a no brainer. But many people make the common mistake of being subtly negative towards past employers or colleagues and they don’t even realize it.
This is a major no-no. Everyone’s career will have times when other people’s decisions will have impacted them negatively. But what will differentiate you from everyone else is how you deal with it and how you speak of it later. It’s easy to blame others but it’s more admirable to speak highly of others and stay positive no matter what the circumstances.
37. Be Prepared For Surprises
Sometimes jobs involve dealing with unexpected changes and sometimes your interviewer might want to test how good you are at adapting to things.
So be prepared for anything. They may take you out to lunch or bring in a handful of other colleagues into the interview just to mildly intimidate you. And well sometimes they just might not be a very nice person and they’ll go out of their way to make you uncomfortable. It can happen.
38. Close With Confidence
The start and end of the interview are crucial to leaving a long lasting good impression with the interviewer.
Finish with confidence by reaffirming your interest in the position. Ask what the next steps are in the selection process.
Thank the interviewer by name and stay positive when saying goodbye by saying “I look forward to hearing from you”.
39. Don’t Hang Around
Don’t linger after the interview. If you are happy with how the interview went then don’t spoil it by potentially being caught off guard by the interviewer somewhere else.
You don’t want to appear desperate or overstay your welcome. Just finish with a thank you and reaffirm your interest in working with them.
You can always follow up on the interview by email later.
40. Thank You Email After The Interview
It’s a simple tip but you would be surprised how many people don’t follow through with it.
Sending a thank you email immediately sets you apart from the rest of the candidates and gives you an edge. Anything that helps the interviewer to remember you is helpful.
With that in mind, you could go a step further and send a thank you letter. You will be guaranteed to stand out if the employer sees that you have gone the extra mile to get the job.