With the job market being as tough as it is, you’re likely to find yourself applying to several different jobs before you find one that you like. This means that you’ll probably have to go through the stressful process of having several different job interviews as well. However, it doesn’t have to be this way; there are several things you can do to ensure that every single interview you go to goes as smoothly as possible. Here are 10 tips to help you have a smooth job interview.
Tip 1 – Get your resume ready
Take a couple hours to get your resume looking good. Clean it up, update it, and make sure that everything is still accurate. The better your resume looks, the more likely you are to get an interview. This doesn’t have to be a huge project – just take some time to make sure it’s presentable! And for those of you who think resumes aren’t important anymore: they definitely are. If a company requires one in order to apply for a job, then believe me when I say that they’re going to check yours out. Which leads us into our next tip…
Tip 2 – Prepare yourself for common questions
There are certain questions that come up in every interview. If you’re not prepared, you’ll most likely say something to embarrass yourself. Here are some common questions and suggestions for how to handle them The first thing that employers will look at is your resume. Be sure to format it well and cleanly list your work experience. And make sure there aren’t any typos! Tip 3 – Get a good night’s sleep: Interviews can be stressful but if you get a good night’s sleep beforehand, you can approach it with more confidence. Try to leave time to go over your responses again before heading into an interview. Tip 4 – Make eye contact: In an interview situation, making good eye contact is crucial; studies have shown that people who don’t make eye contact when answering questions usually don’t get hired.
Tip 3 – Think about your answers ahead of time
Practice answering typical interview questions. If you can think about your answers in advance, you will be more confident and relaxed during your interview. Practice out loud if possible. It’s also a good idea to write down some of your answers before heading into an interview so that you don’t have to rely on your memory. It is normal for most candidates to practice their answers prior to an interview. Also, make sure you do not exaggerate anything or use any type of slang when responding to questions.
When it comes time for your interview, always follow up with a thank-you note after each meeting: Write up brief notes following interviews—especially those with hiring managers—that thank them again for their time and reaffirm your interest in landing the job.
Tip 4 – Ask open-ended questions back
When you ask an interviewer a question, be sure to ask an open-ended question back. Avoid yes/no questions or ones that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Open-ended questions require your interviewers to give more detailed answers, which are much more helpful in gauging their interest in you as a candidate and potential employee. For example What kind of person is best suited for this position? instead of Do I have what it takes? Of course, there will also be instances where yes/no questions can lead to some very useful information so don’t think they are all bad! The main point here is just try and use them judiciously…and when possible go for open-ended questions.
Tip 5 – Send thank you notes after the interview
Sending a thank you note after an interview isn’t a common practice anymore. But it can still be impactful and could help land you an offer. This isn’t just saying thank you for your time with a quick email, either. Research ahead of time what type of impression you want to make on hiring managers at each stage, and take that into account when writing thank-you notes. Make sure they clearly show why you are excited about working there and how well matched you are for their open role. Send handwritten thank-you notes through snail mail instead of emails, if possible (but even emails are better than nothing!). And don’t forget to include a copy of your resume in each one! Taking these extra steps can separate you from other candidates in a good way – especially when competition is high.
Tip 6 – Follow up with a phone call if you haven’t heard back yet
If your follow-up emails and in-person visits haven’t yielded results, it’s time to make a phone call. If you still don’t get a response, take advantage of social media: search for a company page on Twitter or Facebook and send them a message. Keep it short and sweet—if they see that you have initiative, they may reach out to you themselves! This tip alone could help increase your chances of getting hired by more than 15%. Not bad, right? Remember though – all job hunting comes down to showing initiative and willingness. Take action if necessary, but be respectful when making contacts with any potential employer (or reference). Don’t forget – be honest when applying; resume padding has become easier than ever with LinkedIn OpenCV, so lie detection is relatively simple.
Tip 7 – Dress appropriately
Before you head to your interview, take a look at your potential employer’s website or any other media they may have online. These will give you an idea of what people in their organization typically wear, as well as how formal interviews are typically conducted. Make sure you dress appropriately for both parts of your interview: if casual attire is standard throughout most of their workplace, don’t show up in a suit. Tip 8 – Practice makes perfect: It goes without saying that practice makes perfect when it comes to interviewing. After all, there’s nothing more nerve-wracking than going into a job interview and being asked questions you aren’t prepared for—and it’s even worse if your interviewer has already heard those answers before!
Tip 8 – Relax, it’s only an interview!
This sounds trite, but try not to take it too seriously. Yes, you want to impress your prospective employer and a tense job interview is sure to leave you feeling uncomfortable and nervous, but there’s no point in turning up with sweaty palms and a dry mouth – just relax! An employer can always tell when you’re forcing yourself to appear calm, so just pretend for five minutes that you already have a job offer. And smile. Research has shown that smiling genuinely (no fake grins!) during an interview makes you much more likely to be successful. So go into every job interview with confidence and remember: at least it’s not a date!
Tip 9 – Know what you are going to say when they ask about why you left your last job
The best response to these types of questions is to use an example from your professional experience. Choose a positive example that highlights your strengths, and avoid anything that could be considered negative or controversial. Be prepared to provide specific examples: it’s best if you have some memorized, so you don’t get flustered by unexpected questions or rambling tangents that detract from your main point. Also, practice your responses so you don’t forget them when under pressure!
Tip 10 – Good luck!
It’s all in your mind! Remember that it’s just an interview and even if you mess up, it doesn’t mean you’re not qualified for that position. The interviewer is simply trying to get a feel for your personality and how you would fit in at their company, so keep calm and smile! Good luck out there!