Top Tips For Job Interview

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Welcome to top tips for job interview!

Looking for a new job is a full-time job in and of itself. It takes loads of time scouring job boards, perusing postings, and locating leads to identify potential positions suitable to your skillset.

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The work doesn’t end there. Then it’s onto tailoring each cover letter to the position you’re applying for, glancing over that resume one more time, and making sure everything is picture perfect prior to sending it out.

That’s why your heart flutters with delight when the phone finally rings or you receive a promising email inviting you to an interview.

Although interviews seem daunting, there are many surefire ways to maximize your success, make an excellent impression, and improve your odds of clinching the job. And while what you do during the interview is paramount, your work begins long before you sit down with the interviewer.

Here are our top 10 tips for nailing your next job interview.

1. Top Tips For Job Interview – Do your homework.

Luck favors the prepared.

Before you walk through the door, return to the job posting and look it over for clues regarding the position. Ask yourself some of the following questions:

•What are the key responsibilities of this position?

•What skills are required to be successful in this position?

•What does this position have in common with my current position?

•What areas will I require additional information or training?

Identifying the areas where you provide immediate value upon hiring will become selling points during the elevator pitch portion of your interview. However, it’s equally important to identify areas where you have no experience or training.

We recommend brushing up on these areas to exhibit a cursory understanding. You should not lie or claim you know the topic intimately or have firsthand experience, but illustrating some knowledge will show initiative and honesty on your part.

Do some research on the company you are interviewing with as well, as this will help you concoct pointed and specific questions in the latter part of the interview. We don’t recommend reciting the full history of the company, but at least knowing what they’ve most recently been up to will show some awareness in the industry and give the interviewer a sense that you know what’s going on.

2. Top Tips For Job Interview – Look the part.

Don’t dress for the job you have. Dress for the job you want.

What you wear specifically to the interview will vary depending on the job. For instance, a business formal suit might be overkill for a retail manager position, whereas a polo and khakis will not suffice for a Fortune 500.

If you’re unsure what the employees of the company might be wearing and you don’t want to risk it going with your gut, check out the company web page and see if they have a “Meet the Team” type section. Often, these pages feature pictures of the employees and will give you a sense of the dress code.

3. Warm up.

A runner doesn’t go from standing still to an all-out sprint without some kind of warm up. The same is true regarding many sports, skills, and activities.

Giving a great interview is one such skill, and many people overlook the importance of a good warm up. Once inside, you’ll be chit-chatting for a decent duration. You don’t want to go in and spend the first few exchanges shaking off the cobwebs because you only get one shot to make that ever-essential first impression.

Try calling a friend on the way to the interview and talk. It doesn’t matter what you talk about, but get yourself into a mode where conversation comes more naturally and you don’t feel like you’re forcing it.

4. Top Tips For Job Interview – Arrive on time.

Arriving on time, or 10 to 15 minutes early, for the interview is imperative. Failing to manage your time properly and account for unknowns like traffic, car trouble, public transit delays, or other snafus only shows the employer a sneak peek of what you’ll be like as an employee.

Map out the route the night or a few days before if possible. Be mindful of traffic patterns and other important factors that might hamper your ability to make good time on the day of the interview.

It also helps to make sure everything is ready before you go out the door. If you’re driving, get gas the day before so you don’t find out the hard way that you need a quick pit stop to make it. If you’re taking public transportation, have your fare in hand so you don’t need an ATM or buy tickets in advance so you can just get on when the bus or train arrives.

Whatever amount of time you think it will take you to get there, add at least a 15 to 30 minute buffer just in case. It’s better to be there way too early and hang out outside a little bit than to rush there with seconds to spare or totally blow it rolling in 5 minutes too late.

5. Don’t show up empty handed.

On the one hand, showing up with nothing in hand might exude a degree of self-confidence; that no matter what is said or what the position entails, you know it all and you know you can knock it out of the park.

On the other hand, it may send the wrong message that you don’t take the job, the company, or the interview seriously and that they’ll have better luck with another candidate.

Bring along a notebook or pad as well as a writing instrument in case you have notes to take. Don’t jot furiously like a court stenographer, but a few key tidbits about position specifics, company policies, and more might send the message that you are committed to coming aboard and providing immediate value to the team.

In addition, you should bring a few copies of your resume. Most of the time, the interviewer has a copy ready to go. However, having one ready to hand over in the event they didn’t print it saves them from having to go off the cuff, which they’ll appreciate.

Make sure you bring a few copies, as you might wind up with one or more interviewers you were not expecting and will need to have one for everyone.

6. Top Tips For Job Interview – Build rapport.

People get so focused on talking about work and the job that they forget to be people too!

Do not underestimate the power of small talk. Depending on the personal sensibilities of the interviewer and the company’s values, finding common ground and enjoying a pleasant conversation laden with humor and positivity might secure the position before anything work-related is even discussed.

Don’t be afraid to share a little bit of your personality, but know when to reel things in and be conscious of the interviewer’s body language. Be sure to let the interviewer loosen up too, as inviting them to share personal details will often work in your favor.

7. Be enthusiastic.

Even if you only got two hours of sleep last night, you need to be ready to inject a little bit of energy into your presentation.

There are a few reasons for showing enthusiasm to the interviewer. For one, the interview provides an employer with a conscious or subconscious “test drive” of working with you. That means if you’re an absolute drag to be around and your background is nearly identical to a pool of other candidates, you might be overlooked on this alone.

In addition, failing to muster some excitement during the interview might signal that you’re not invested in actually getting the job or on the verge of burnout. You want to show that you are there for the job, that you want it, and that you’re an excellent candidate.

Don’t overdo it though. Too much enthusiasm reads as inauthentic or cartoony, and it’s especially repugnant if your interviewer’s energy is substantially lower than yours. Read the room and know when to reel things in a little.

8. Top Tips For Job Interview – Project confidence.

Confidence is incredibly important during the interview. You want to project confidence in all aspects of your presentation, both in yourself as a capable candidate and in your abilities to perform the job with aplomb.

Remember– it’s not just what you say that conveys information about you to the interviewer. It’s also how you say it, including the words you choose to use, the tone of your voice, and your nonverbal cues like body language.

Maintain good posture from start to finish. Speak coherently and be direct with your answers. If you are asked to speak regarding your accomplishments at past companies or victories, have specific examples in mind and be ready to take credit where it’s due.

It is a fine line between owning your accomplishments and bragging, and you very much want to err on the side of the former, but you want to let the interviewer know that you were an integral component to the winning formula at your current or past job.

If the topic of salary comes up, and it often will be covered near the end of the interview if the interviewer is seriously considering you as a candidate, have a number in mind and don’t be shy to share it.

If you believe that you’re asking for too much money, the employer probably will believe that too and search for someone that believes they’re worth it.

Why shouldn’t that be you?

9. Ask questions.

During most interviews, the interviewer will wrap with the classic, “Do you have any questions for me?” This is a trick question, because the answer should always be a resounding, “Yes.”

Asking questions signals interest to the interviewer, letting them know that you want to know more about the company and the job itself as you too consider if you are the right fit for the position.

If you have been listening carefully, the interviewer may have touched on some areas of what the company does or what they have recently been up to. We recommend your questions incorporate some of this, and don’t wait until the prompt to throw some questions out there.

For instance, if you are interviewing for a property management company and the answer was unclear from the posting and the company website, it’s pertinent to clarify early on if the employer is owner-operated, a third party service provider, whether they deal with commercial or residential properties, or if they are rentals, co-ops, or condos.

Other good questions to ask include:

•How does this company define and measure success?

•Does the job require frequent collaboration and are there processes in place to support collaboration?

•What’s the most important thing to focus my attention within the first 60 days of my hire?

•How long do employees stay employed with your company, on average?

•Why is there a need for this position? Am I taking over for someone else or was the position created due to a company need? If I have a predecessor, what did they go on to do? What are they doing now?

•How long have you been with the company? What did you do before? What do you like most about working here?

What we don’t recommend is asking questions that send the wrong message, like asking about salary or vacation time right out of the gate.

Of course, you’ll want to firmly establish the salary and receive a packet from HR regarding policies, vacation, PTO, and benefits before actually accepting an offer, but it’s presumptuous to hash all that out right then and there when you’re not even sure if you’ll be hired.

10. Top Tips For Job Interview – Follow up.

Even if you’re getting that classic “don’t call us, we’ll call you” vibe, it’s prudent to reach out afterwards to maintain some presence.

We recommend one email to the interviewer or interview coordinator sent that day simply to thank them for their time and consideration. Let them know that you look forward to hearing a response soon and keep it simple.

After 3 to 5 business days, we recommend reaching out again to inquire if interviewing is still in process and what the potential next steps might be. The only time we advise against a follow up is if the interviewer explicitly communicated what to expect next.

For example, if the last thing they said was that they’re going to be scheduling a second round of interviews in approximately two weeks, don’t badger them after one looking for more information. Presenting yourself as a pest will only hurt your chances.

If things were left unclear, however, it’s no harm in reaching out to remind them of your interest and get some information.

Some employers are very direct and will notify you if you have or have not been chosen. Others unfortunately cast ambiguity on the matter and never completely spell it out for you.

If you have followed up once or twice over the span of a few weeks and received no clear idea of what will happen next, we recommend assuming that you did not get the position. It’s not impossible that your phone rings a month later with an exciting offer, but you should continue your job search assuming you didn’t land that one, even if the vibe was good during the interview.

Remember – it’s a numbers game. Coveted positions receive hundreds of applications, so an interview is an honor in and of itself. If you don’t get the job, don’t get discouraged. You will find your perfect fit in due time.

Stay persist, and good luck out there!

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