Interview Prep: 8 Tips & Tricks to Help You Ace Your Job Interview
August 29th, 2016 Written by: Molly Masterson
When you finally land that job interview, you’re over the moon. But your work isn’t done. You need to be ready to showcase your experience, knowledge, skills and personality in a way that tells interviewers you’re the absolute best candidate for the job.
So if you’ve recently landed a job interview, use some of these preparation tips and tricks beforehand to make sure you’re ready to knock it out of the park.
1. Do your homework on the company.
Understanding a company’s history, products and services, and overall mission is essential to acing the interview.
Study up on the company before setting foot in their offices. While it requires some additional legwork before the interview, you’ll avoid any errors that could instantly disqualify you. In addition, weaving company knowledge into many of your responses will show you’re interested, engaged and well-informed.
Use the company’s website, social media pages and personal contacts to learn all you can. Make sure you have all the basics down, but don’t just focus on general facts. Dig deeper to learn what sets the company apart from their competitors. Search the internet for recent news articles, as well as customer and employee reviews so you can gain insights from multiple points of view.
2. Go back to the job description.
The job description not only outlines what a position entails, but also specific attributes and skills the company is looking for in an employee. Look for ways to connect your unique skills, job experiences, strengths and personal interests with what’s listed in the description. Make a list of specific examples that you can draw from during the interview.
3. Review commonly asked interview questions and practice your answers.
Interviews are daunting, and many job seekers worry they’ll be asked an unfamiliar question. The good news is there are a number of common questions that come up frequently in all interviews — which means you can prepare solid answers ahead of time.
Some common questions to prepare for include:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why do you want to work for our company?
- What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
- What is your ideal work environment?
Use our post 14 Commonly Asked Job Interview Questions & How to Answer Them as a study guide while you prepare.
4. Read up on the interviewers.
If you’ve been told who you’re interviewing with, use LinkedIn to learn what they do at the company, where they’ve worked in the past and to see if you have any shared connections. This kind of information could be used anecdotally at some point in the interview to build rapport. Also look at the company’s website to see if they have a profile there.
5. Create a list of questions to ask interviewers.
At some point during the interview, you’ll have the opportunity to ask some of your own questions. This is a great opportunity to learn more specifics about the position and the company, as well as continue to promote your skills and desire to become part of the team.
Some good questions to ask are:
- Why is the position available?
- What does your timeline for hiring someone look like?
- What is the training available for the position?
- What would a typical day look like for me?
- How many people would be on my team?
- What challenges are there for the new hire?
- How will performance be evaluated?
- What projects or initiatives are you looking to accomplish in the next five years?
7. Rehearse the route to the interview location.
Practicing your route to the interview location will help you minimize stress on the day of the interview. When the day arrives, you’ll know where to go, how long it will take you to get there and if there are any traffic issues that could lengthen your travel time.
On the big day, plan to arrive 15 minutes early and check in for the interview at least 5 minutes early. This will not only show your punctuality, but also give you a few minutes to relax and mentally prepare for what’s to come.
8. Lay out your interview attire the night before.
As the old adage goes, you always want to dress for success. Plan out your wardrobe the night before so you’ll have one less thing to worry about in the morning. Choose something professional that is well-fitting, clean and wrinkle-free.
For both men and women, a nice suit will always do the trick, but isn’t absolutely necessary. When you’re setting up the interview, ask what the dress code is. If it’s formal, go for the suit. If it’s more casual or you’ll be wearing a uniform, slacks, a button-down collared shirt and a nice sweater is a nice option for men. For women, slacks or a skirt with a matching shell and cardigan is a great look. The most important thing is that you look professional — not too casual or disheveled.
You’ve worked hard to land this interview. Follow these tips and tricks so you walk into the interview room on time, feeling confident and looking great.