How to Succeed At a Job Interview to Make a Great Impression
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If you receive an interview request, you may be one step closer to securing your dream job. Leaving a positive impression on the interviewer is critical if you want to stand out from the competition. Learning how to succeed during an interview can help increase your chances of securing the role. In this article, we outline 15 comprehensive tips on how to succeed at a job interview.
How to succeed at a job interview
Knowing how to succeed at a job interview can greatly increase your employability. Succeeding in a job interview and making a good impression requires preparation and practice. From researching the company to crafting thank you emails, we provide you with tips that cover the entire interviewing process. You can increase your chances of advancing in your next interview by following some key steps.
1. Research the company
Researching a company before an interview can help you gain valuable information about the organisation and what they specialise in. Being aware of the products or services the company offers is a good start, but you can also read up on their values and culture and familiarise yourself with their mission statement. It's also wise to be aware of the company's latest updates and news.
2. Reread the job description
Before you begin preparing your interview questions, reread the job description. Identify the qualities and experience the hiring manager is looking for and think about some specific examples from your professional experience that align with these requirements. It's quite common for interviewers to ask about specific situations or present you with hypothetical scenarios to help understand how you've handled similar situations in the past and gauge your problem solving abilities.
When asking you situational or scenario based questions, an interviewer is often looking for you to respond using the situation task action result (STAR) method. To be able to successfully answer their questions and hit all of your talking points, you may want to spend time preparing some thoughtful examples and stories in advance.
3. Practise your answers to common interview questions
Whilst every interviewer is different and questions can vary from one industry to the next, familiarising yourself with common interview questions can help boost your confidence during the meeting. Memorising all of your answers isn't necessary, but to avoid being put on the spot, you can spend some time thinking about what you're going to say.
4. Prepare a list of questions
At the end of an interview, it's common for the interviewer to ask if you have any questions. Asking smart, well-prepared questions helps show your enthusiasm and interest in the role and is a chance for you to demonstrate how much research you've done. Asking questions is also a good way to understand how you fit into the company's plans.
5. Conduct a mock interview
Once you feel prepared and have established your talking points, you can spend time rehearsing your answers. Asking a friend or family member to conduct a mock interview with you is a great way to practise various scenarios you may encounter in a job interview and learn how to adapt your answers to fit with their questions. If you don't have someone to role-play with, reading your answers aloud and in front of a mirror can help too.
Tips to prepare for an interview
To help minimise additional stress, here are some steps to follow in the hours leading up to an interview:
1. Plan your outfit the night before
The first thing a prospective employer tends to notice is how a candidate is dressed, so making a positive first impression is crucial. Dressing for success depends on the industry you're seeking employment in. For instance, someone interviewing for a position at a law firm might dress professionally, while other careers prefer a more casual dress code. You can reference the company's website and look at images of the team members to help you understand the dress code.
2. Get a good night's sleep
The night before an interview, set some time aside to relax and plan to get at least eight hours of sleep. Being well-rested for an interview is critical as it can boost your cognitive performance. Getting enough sleep can also help improve your concentration and your ability to exude confidence during stressful situations. To clear your mind before an interview, you can consider relaxation exercises such as yoga or meditation.
3. Take deep breaths
Taking deep breaths, either on your way to the interview or whilst you're in the waiting area, can help calm your nerves. When it comes time for the interview to begin, you ideally want to be as calm as possible as nerves can show through body language. If you're still feeling anxious during an interview, take a deep breath and collect your thoughts before answering any questions.
Tips for during the interview
Follow these tips to help you get one step closer to landing your dream job:
1. Introduce yourself
When you first arrive at your interview, smile and introduce yourself. As a professional courtesy, you may also want to shake a prospective employer's hand. Offering a firm handshake exhibits confidence and is often used as an acceptable greeting. Take note of an interviewer's body language to see if offering a handshake is appropriate.
2. Be mindful of your body language
Your non-verbal cues are just as important as your verbal responses. Body language often indicates how we're feeling and can help an employer understand a candidate's confidence levels, professionalism and personality. Sitting up straight shows that you're prepared and maintaining eye contact demonstrates that you're confident in yourself and your abilities. When you talk, remember to smile. A genuine smile shows that you're positive and friendly, and it conveys a sense of calmness.
Related: Body Language Tips for an Interview
3. Be authentic
Try to strike a balance between being professional and being authentic. Show the interviewer the real you. In addition to assessing your skill sets, employers also assess your personality to see if you'll be a good cultural fit for the team. If you aren't acting like yourself, it's hard for the interviewer to understand how well you'll work within their company culture.
4. Learn about the employer
The interview process is a chance for you to convince the interviewer to hire you, but it's also a chance for you to better understand the company and your prospective colleagues. During an interview, it's quite common for the interviewer to spend time explaining what it's like to work for the company and share some insight into how the team works together. You can use this information to help you better determine if the role and company is the right fit for you.
Tips for after the interview
After the interview ends, there's still work to be done. Follow these steps to help you increase your chances of success:
1. Express gratitude
At the end of your interview, be sure to genuinely thank everyone for their time. Traditionally, handshaking at the end of an interview has been a parting interaction for years, but it's important to use your judgement. If the hiring manager shook your hand at the beginning of the interview, they may be open to shaking your hand at the end. If you didn't shake hands when you arrived, you can consider not initiating a handshake at the end. You can instead thank them while making eye contact.
2. Write a thank-you email
Writing a thank-you email after your interview is an excellent way to reinforce your interest in the role and is a thoughtful gesture that most hiring managers appreciate. A thank-you email is essentially a second chance for you to discuss your strengths. It's a great way to remind the hiring manager why you're the right candidate for the role and allows you one final opportunity to highlight any relevant skills and qualifications that you may have forgotten to mention during the interview.
3. Follow up
After a week, if you haven't received any updates regarding the hiring process, it's acceptable to follow up. Keep the email short. Express that you're still interested in the job and are looking for updates. Who you send the follow-up email to depends on how you came across the job in the first place. If you found the job on your own, follow up with the hiring manager directly. If you've been working with a recruiter, then you can consider sending the follow-up email to them.
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