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Interview Preparation Tips

The key to a successful interview is lots of practice and preparation. The following tips will help you feel comfortable and confident on the interview day.

1. Learn everything you can about the job, the company and the interviewer(s)

The job: Review the job description carefully to guarantee you understand the resume skills and responsibilities required for the role. We suggest researching what other professionals say about similar roles to ensure this position suits you.

The company: It’s crucial to have a good grasp of its products, services, competition and culture. Delving into their social media will give you great insight into their values and personality.

The interviewer(s): Whether you’re meeting with one person or a panel, learning their names and writing down a few specific questions for them will make a difference.

2. Consider why you’re interested in the position

It’s crucial to have an honest and informed answer to the all-important interview question, “Why are you interested in this position?” Pinpoint key elements of the position and company that align with your qualifications, interests, and goals. Elaborate on how these aspects excited you about the opportunity and the value you bring to the enterprise.

3. Review your qualifications

Keep all the essential facts on top of your mind! Review your soft skills and hard skills matching the job description, relevant work experience and academic background to prepare for your interview.

4. Get ready to answer common interview questions

While you can only anticipate some of the interviewer’s questions, reviewing common interview questions will help you practice most of your answers and feel more confident during the interview.

5. Prepare your stories with the STAR method

Mastering the STAR method is the key to answering tough questions. This straightforward technique helps you respond to behavioral interview questions by breaking down your reply into four parts:

  1. Situation: Describe the context of your response. What was the challenge?
  2. Task: Outline your role in the situation. What was the goal?
  3. Action: Detail the steps you took to achieve your objective.
  4. Results: Discuss the outcome of your actions.

6. Write down questions for your interviewer(s)

An interview is as much about the employer evaluating you as it is about deciding whether this job suits you. Taking the time to write down questions to ask the interviewer will help you make an informed decision. Here are a few to consider:

  • What does a typical day look like in this role?

  • What are the company’s current goals?

  • What are the team’s biggest strengths and challenges?

  • How would you describe the work environment?

  • Are there opportunities for advancement within the company?

7. Practice with mock interviews

Ask a friend or family member to do a mock interview with you to boost your confidence. Practicing your body language, tone of voice and answers to interview questions is critical to preparing for your interview.

8. Prepare for skill tests

It’s common to encounter skills tests, especially in technical roles. We recommend reviewing a preparation book and researching the standard skill tests applicable to your role to prepare yourself effectively.

9. Pick your outfit the night before

Planning your outfit a few hours before your interview can spike your anxiety levels. To avoid this, set aside some time the previous night to pick out your outfit and try it on to ensure you feel comfortable and confident. Leave it hanging on your closet door to avoid wrinkles, or run an iron over it.

Remember, you want to make a lasting impression. When selecting your outfit, consider the company’s culture. If you’re unsure, it’s better to dress more professionally, even if the organization has a relaxed atmosphere. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

10. Get a good night’s sleep

Not getting enough sleep can cause irritability, memory loss and, of course, drowsiness. Turn off your screens earlier the night before and try to sleep your full eight hours to feel refreshed and ready to nail that interview.

Interview Tips and Tricks

The big day is here! You’re almost ready to go. Follow these tips on how to ace an interview.

11. Print out copies of your resume

Having hard copies of your resume shows your commitment. Your interviewer most likely has a digital copy of your resume, but most recruiters still expect a candidate to bring it printed out.

12. Bring a reference list

The employer will likely ask you for a reference list during the application process. Anticipate the question by arriving at the interview with a list of valuable contacts from your professional history that can speak to your work ethic, talents and knowledge.

13. Get there early

Having a few minutes to compose yourself and get comfortable with your surroundings can be just what you need to impress your interviewer. Try to arrive 10 minutes before the interview to get in a winning mindset.

14. Be mindful of your body language

Your body language speaks volumes. Remember to maintain eye contact, hold your head high and sit straight with your arms to your sides or on your lap. Crossing your arms can signify being closed off; moving your hands too much can be distracting.

15. Take notes

Be bold and bring a notebook to take notes. You’ll look like an engaged candidate, and it will help you to refer back to any topic you want to discuss further when it’s time for you to ask questions. Additionally, it’s a discreet way to have a cheat sheet for those common interview questions you prepared so hard for.

16. Be confident but humble

Exuding confidence without being arrogant can be tricky but not impossible. Mention your achievements and qualifications with pride while emphasizing your desire to keep learning and growing professionally. The key to being humble is to acknowledge you can always improve.

17. Stay positive

Bad-mouthing your previous employers or coworkers is a bad look. If the interviewer asks why you left your last job or what you didn’t like about it, positively spin the answer. For example:

Question: What made you leave your previous role?

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Good answer

While my team was very efficient with their tasks, I’d enjoy working at a place with a more diverse company culture.

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Bad answer

The work environment was toxic. I hated working with most of my colleagues.

18. Don’t be afraid to steer the conversation

The employer may confront you with a question about a project or situation you may not be comfortable discussing because of a confidentiality agreement or a less-than-perfect outcome. Just because you’re the interviewee doesn’t mean you can’t steer the conversation! Check out this example:

Question: I heard you worked on project XYZ with your last employer. How did that turn out?

Perhaps the project had negative results, or your role needed to be more crucial to make an impact. Let’s spin your answer:

Answer: I recently finished a similar project with ABC company, which was a success. May I tell you about that?

19. Keep it brief

Interviews can already go on for an hour or more, depending on the stage of the evaluation process, so always keep your answers straight to the point. Being concise shows that you can edit yourself, you’re efficient and mindful of other people’s time.

20. Ask about next steps

Asking about the next steps in the process at the end of your interview shows you’re proactive and enthusiastic to continue. Here’s a few example questions:

  • What are the next steps in the interview process?

  • Is there anything else I can provide you with that would be helpful?

  • Can I answer any final questions for you?

Tips for Video Interview

Virtual interviews are similar to in-person interviews, but there are a few crucial differences to remember. Follow these video interview tips to make a lasting impression:

  • Test your internet connection, camera and audio to ensure everything works correctly.

  • Find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted.

  • If you don’t have a solid white wall to use as a background, consider blurring your background or using a virtual one.

  • Make sure your camera is at eye level.

  • Dress professionally.

  • Use lots of natural light or place lamps behind your computer.

  • Sit at arm’s length of the camera.

  • Turn off your pop-up notifications.

  • Consider using headphones with a microphone.

  • Ensure your phone or laptop has enough battery for the whole interview.

After the Interview

So, you finished that interview and feel confident about moving to the next stage. What’s next? Check out these extra tips for after the interview:

  1. Send a thank you email to show you’re courteous and professional.
  2. If you have yet to hear back after a week or two, send a follow-up email.
  3. Reflect on the interview. What went wrong, and what went right?
  4. Stay optimistic. Each interview is a learning experience, and you’ll gain more confidence. It’s a good use of time, even if it doesn’t turn out how you want it to.
  5. Continue your job search

Key Takeaways

Let’s quickly review the main points before you go:

  • Knowledge is key. Learn everything you can about the job, the company and the interviewer(s). Review your resume, common interview questions and the STAR method.
  • Practice makes perfect. Conducting mock interviews is crucial to gaining more confidence and being quick on your feet.
  • Bring hard copies of your resume, a notebook and a reference list.
  • Confidence in yourself will help you steer the conversation and put a positive spin on tough questions.
  • Nailing a video interview is all about curating your space. Watch out for your lighting, camera and audio functions. Avoid distractions.
  • The following days after an interview can be nerve-wracking. Remember to be patient and stay optimistic.