Smart Strategies You Can Use
To Ace Your Next Job Interview,
Regardless of Previous Work Experience
During the job search process, getting
interviews is obviously an integral part of securing employment.
However, it's been our experience
to see many people let their guard down during the interview process
and fail to get the job they so desire due to lack of preparation.
Many people sabotage their own efforts
through nervousness or simple ignorance about what they should expect
during job interviews.
However, there is hope. There are
many strategies you can use to ensure that you'll make a favorable,
memorable impression during your next job interview.
Making a favorable, memorable impression
is important even if you don't get that job, because if the person
that was hired in your place doesn't work out, you'll be considered
next on the list.
It could also be that you will qualify
for some other position at the company with which you interviewed,
a position that you would not otherwise be considered for had you
not made such a good impression.
The following strategies are proven
to work, and they're based on what numerous interviewers have said
they want to see in an interview. You must show a genuine interest
and dedication in wanting the job you're applying for.
An employer is more likely to choose
someone who shows these qualities yet isn't quite qualified over
someone who is qualified but seems disinterested or arrogant.
Prepare for the interview.
You'll always want to be well-prepared for the interview. Do practice
interviews, and make sure you know by heart the answers to all of
the common questions listed below:
Take the time to carefully review the following questions. Write
out your answers to these questions and go over them until you're
clear in both your thoughts and your verbal expression of those
You may save yourself a critical tense
moment in an important interview by calmly and clearly answering
these questions before you are in an actual interview.
1. Tell me about yourself. How would you describe yourself?
2. In what type of position are you most interested?
3. Are you looking for a permanent or a temporary job?
4. Why do you think you would like this particular type of job?
5. What are your career goals? (What do you want to be doing at
age 25? At 35? Include both short-term and long-term goals.)
6. What jobs have you held? How were they obtained? Why did you
leave? (Be ready with an answer that is clear and to the point:
I left to return to college; the position was phased out.)
7. What do you know about our company? (Do some research on this.)
8. What interests you about our product or service?
9. Do you prefer working with others or by yourself?
10. What would you do if ... ? (Imagine situations that test a
person's knowledge of the job.)
Make sure your clothing is appropriate,
clean, and pressed. Prepare a portfolio to bring with you. Research
the company and prepare questions to ask of the interviewer.
Listen as much or more than you talk.
You should only be talking 40-50%
of the time during the interview. Answer the questions you're asked
without rambling on or diverting to other topics of discussion related
to the question being asked.
If you think the interviewer might
want more information, ask the question, "Do you need me to
elaborate more on that question?" Never interrupt the interviewer.
Remember, you want to avoid talking
too much. Be clear, concise and to the point. Whenever possible,
cite examples of previous experience to support your answers and
reference relevant knowledge about the company you're interviewing
Not only will it show your interest
in the company, but the answers will inform you as to whether or
not you want to work for the company.
When appropriate, ask about a typical
workday, expectations as well as questions about what it takes to
be successful in the company.
You need to realize that you too are
interviewing them for the job. This not only shows your interest
but allows you to determine if the position you're applying for
is a match for you.
Use confident body language.
Confident body language will really
help you to sell yourself. Interviewer will pay more attention to
your non-verbal body language than you may think.
Offer the interviewer a dry, firm
handshake, smile, and maintain eye contact. When you're sitting
down, sit up straight and don't let your eyes wander.
If you're being interviewed by a panel,
take the time to make eye contact with all panel members when you're
Interviewers generally see wandering
eyes as a sign of inattention or boredom! Also, nod when the interviewer
is talking to show that you're listening.
The use of confident body language
will have a huge impact on your chances to be considered for employment.
Know how to navigate trick questions.
Conventional wisdom says when an
interviewee is asked what their weakness is that they turn it into
a positive by saying they're a perfectionist or something similar.
The trouble is that interviewers have
heard this all before. Instead, highlight a skill you wish to improve
upon - especially if you're currently working on it and it complements
what you already know.
Some questions the interviewer asks
may be too open-ended or unclear, as well. In this case, ask the
interviewer to clarify and base your answer on the interviewer's
Taking the time to answer questions
thoroughly and backing them up with previously objective information
to support your answers will be an integral part of the interview.
Collect business cards and capture
information from the company.
When the interview is over and you've
once again expressed your interest in the position collect a business
card from every interviewer and any other person, such as the receptionist
who initially helped you.
Take the time to send a thank-you
note out to each of these people. Thank-you notes allow you to emphasize
highlights of the interview and clarify any information, which will
refresh the interviewer's memory of you.
This not only shows a high level of
dedication, but also demonstrates that you care about the time they
took out of their days to spend on you - it's a level of politeness
that's truly memorable!
Follow up and knowing when to follow up.
Get a timeline from the company on
when you can expect to hear back from them, and ask them what the
next step will be.
If you haven't heard anything after
a week or within the time frame given, give the company a call and
make a polite inquiry about when you can expect to hear back. Let
them know that you're still interested.
If they give you a date during this
call and that passes without contact, call them again and make another
inquiry. Persistence can be key in getting the job.
A common mistake many candidates make
is not trying all avenues to get an interview. When possible, use
the phone, fax, email and a visit to the company simultaneously.
Don't overdo it; use good judgment to give yourself as many opportunities
to secure an interview with the employer.