How to Get an Interview (Plus Tips For Interviewing)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An interview is one of the most important steps in the job hiring process. Job interviews can give you a chance to express your skills and show that you're the right professional for the position. If you're in the process of job searching, it's helpful to understand how to get interview invitations. In this article, we share steps to teach you how to get an interview, with tips to help you once you reach the interview process.

How to get an interview

If you're currently searching for a job, it's important to understand how to get an interview. Taking action and being careful in your job search approach can help you find more job opportunities. Follow these steps to learn how to get an interview:

1. Use connections

You may find interesting job listings on public career boards or industry websites, but popular listings can lead to increased competition. Consider any connections you made during your university studies through friends, internships and professors. These connections may inform you about less publicised openings or tell you about vacancies before other candidates do. You can also find online communities and local groups that focus on the industry you're applying to. Identify people you want to meet, such as employees of companies where you want to work. You can invite people for coffee or a meal and discuss your job interests.

Related: Tips for Business Networking to Help You Find Job Opportunities

2. Find job opportunities that fit your skill set

When looking for jobs, it's important to consider your specific skill set and credentials. Understanding your qualifications can help you find jobs that are a good fit for you. Look for job postings that mention specific skills that you possess and ensure you have the proper education and experience credentials to qualify for a role. It may be beneficial to apply for a job even if you don't meet all the requirements, as some employers offer on-the-job training.

It's also helpful to research organisations to gain an understanding of whether they match your values and work culture expectations. Company culture is an important aspect of work, so hiring managers are more likely to hire you if they believe you fit in with the workplace culture. It can also be more rewarding to work for an organisation that supports your values.

3. Contact the hiring manager

While some organisations prefer candidates not to contact the company via phone call, you may benefit from contacting the hiring manager through email or a professional social media account. Contacting a hiring manager about a job opportunity before you apply can give you the chance to learn more about the position and prepare more effective application materials.

When contacting a hiring manager, remember to remain professional and respectful. Consider contacting hiring managers during regular business hours and when contacting them, mention the specific job opening you're interested in and ask questions about the role to become more familiar with the opportunity.

4. Customise your resume

When applying for jobs, take time to customise your resume for each position. Submitting a resume tailored to each job listing's requirements may allow employers to easily assess whether you have adequate qualifications, which can increase your chances of getting an interview. To create a customised resume, consider only including experience, education and accomplishments that relate directly to a job listing.

For example, when applying for a retail position, you might mention previous retail, sales and customer service experience, along with the sales goals you met. You can also pull keywords from the listing, such as specific ways to phrase a skill or experience, to better align your qualifications with their expectations.

Related: How to Write an ATS Resume in 5 Steps (Plus Helpful Tips)

5. Write a cover letter

Since your cover letter serves as your first chance to make a good impression on the hiring team, it's crucial to customise one for each application. Consider mentioning specific aspects of the company that appeal to you, qualifications that make you an ideal candidate for the job and contributions you could make if you took the role. Be sure to provide more details about experiences that aren't in your resume.

At the end of the cover letter, you can prompt the hiring manager to take the next step in the application process. For example, you can encourage the hiring manager to schedule an interview with you to discuss the job opening further.

6. Follow-up with the hiring manager

After submitting your application, consider following up with a hiring manager if two weeks have passed without a response. Connecting with the hiring manager after applying gives you another chance to establish yourself as a top candidate. Try emailing or calling the hiring manager to confirm receipt of your resume and express your continued interest in the position. Consider encouraging the hiring manager to contact you for an interview or other next steps and provide your email address or phone number.

7. Know your selling points

Once you advance to the next stage of the hiring process, start preparing for the interview. Identify your three main selling points or the primary reasons you're the right candidate for a job. Think about the most effective ways to show your qualifications during an interview, including anecdotes and data points. If you're applying for a management position that requires leadership skills, think about examples, objectives or awards that demonstrate your leadership. For example, you may have received a leadership award from your current company or achieved a goal that proves your team building capabilities.

Tips for interviewing

Once you secure a job interview opportunity, it's important to prepare for your interview. This can help you perform better during an interview which may increase your chances of getting a job offer. Consider these tips to help you prepare for an interview:

Practise common interview questions

Before an interview, you can study common questions and prepare answers. Interviewers may only ask a few frequently asked questions but considering answers to these questions can help you review your experience, qualifications and goals and develop answers for other questions. This can also help you identify specific examples you can mention during an interview. You can also research common questions for the specific role or company you're interviewing with. Devising answers to these questions can ensure you're prepared for more in-depth questions that can show your interest in a role or company.

Read more: Interviewing Skills to Ace a Job Interview

Dress appropriately

Be sure to choose an appropriate outfit for your interview. Appropriate interview attire can sometimes depend on the role you're applying to, but it's usually safe to wear a simple outfit that matches the attire you might wear while working in the position. Avoid wearing too many conspicuous items, so you don't distract the interviewer. It's also important to dress properly for the weather to ensure you're comfortable during an interview and can show interviewers you're a well-organised and prepared person.

Arrive on time

Plan your commute to the interview and ensure that you arrange for transportation that allows you to arrive early to mitigate any potential travel issues. Arriving early can show employers your time management and professionalism. To ensure you arrive early, prepare your materials and outfit for the interview the day before. You might also consider researching the route you might take to the interview and anticipate any issues with traffic or weather that may affect your commute. It's also helpful to confirm the time of your interview with the hiring manager, so you can ensure there isn't any miscommunication.

Use the STAR method

When answering interview questions, try to use the STAR method to organise your responses. STAR stands for:

  • Situation: When answering a question, first explain the situation regarding the question the interviewer asks. For example, if they ask about a time you exhibited leadership qualities, start your answer by explaining the context in which you displayed this skill.

  • Task: In this step, you explain what your role in the situation was. For example, you might've been responsible for your team meeting deadlines.

  • Action: Describe your actions and reaction to the situation. Provide enough detail to ensure the interviewer understands how you utilised specific skills to handle the situation.

  • Result: Explain the results of your actions, such as positive feedback or an award.

Related: How to Use the STAR Interview Method (With Example)

Plan to follow up

Plan to follow up with the interviewer if you haven't heard from them for a certain amount of time after the interview. Typically, interviewers share a timeline for how long it may take for them to make a hiring decision, often spanning from one-to-two weeks after an interview. If you don't hear from an interviewer within this timeframe, consider reaching out to reiterate your interest in the role and enquire about a hiring decision. It's also important to follow up with a thank-you note after the interview. Candidates typically send these messages within two business days of the interview.

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