The day has finally come. After putting in seemingly countless job applications, you’ve finally gotten a call from someone who would like to interview you. That’s awesome, and congratulations are definitely in order! Landing an interview is no easy task in today’s highly competitive job market, and it’s something that’s worth celebrating. Unfortunately, though, the hard work doesn’t stop once you’ve scored an interview.
No matter how intelligent and qualified you are for a particular job, you still need to prepare for the interview. You could have all the degrees, certifications, and real-world experiences in the world, but if you don’t know how to ace an interview, you’re likely to get passed by in favor of someone else.
The good news? Even if you aren’t good at interviews now, you can be. Interview skills aren’t necessarily something that you are born having. They are learned. By familiarizing yourself with some common modern-day interviewing tactics, you’ll be one step closer to landing the job of your dreams. Here are a few tactics and techniques that every job seeker should know.
1. Study the Company
It’s incredible how many hopeful candidates go into job interviews without knowing anything about the company where they are hoping to work. With all the information you could ever need just a few clicks away, there is no excuse for not taking some time to study the company. Learn about current events that may be impacting the business, and familiarize yourself with the company’s goals, core values, etc. Gaining this knowledge shows that you are interested in the company, and it helps you make a great first impression.
2. Know Your Resume Inside and Out
A polished resume is excellent. It showcases your experience and gives employers a good feel for your career goals and why you are applying for a particular position. There is a good chance that your interviewer will reference it during the interview, so it’s important to be familiar with it. Whether someone else put together your resume, or you did it yourself but haven’t looked at it in a while, take some time to study it. Make sure you know everything that’s on it and why it’s there so that you can confidently answer any questions that may arise.
On a side note, it’s also important to make sure your resume looks great. Whether you have it professionally printed or print it yourself using your laser or inkjet printer, use high-quality resume paper. Make sure the text is crisp and clear, and, if your resume includes any images, make sure you print them in high resolution.
3. Non-Verbal Communication Matters
Sometimes what you don’t say is just as important as the things you do say. While interviewers are concerned with how you answer their questions, they also pay close attention to your body language. Standing or sitting up straight, making eye contact, and connecting with a firm, confident handshake are essential types of non-verbal communication, and they have a significant impact on whether or not you get a position.
4. Dress for the Job
The days where men always had to wear suits and ties to work and women were expected to wear dresses, or nice skirts are long gone. Casual is in, and many companies now have more relaxed dress codes than ever before. That doesn’t mean, though, that it’s appropriate to head into an interview wearing a hoodie and a pair of jeans. At the very least, you should wear business casual attire and show up well-groomed. Even if casual wear is fine once you land the job, it still makes a good impression when you show up looking like you put some effort into your appearance.
5. Know When to Stop Talking and Listen
A job interview should be a two-way conversation. In addition to asking questions, your interviewer will most likely provide you with information about things like the job, the company’s culture, etc. Getting too caught up in talking about yourself could result in missing that critical information and give the interviewer the impression that you don’t care what they have to say.
Answer questions concisely. Don’t ramble. Listen carefully to what the interviewer says and asks, and respond appropriately. Pay attention to the interviewer’s pace and conversational style, and match it to the best of your ability to ensure successful two-way communication.
6. Show Instead of Tell
It’s one thing to tell an interviewer about your skills and experience. It’s another to show them off. Use concrete examples that demonstrate your skills. If you say you’re a great multi-tasker, for example, provide an example of a situation in which your ability to successfully manage multiple tasks has helped you complete a project.
7. Be Yourself
There is nothing wrong with studying interview questions and crafting useful, solid answers. It’s important, though, to not lose yourself in the process. Many interviewees make the mistake of trying to fit into a particular mold rather than just being themselves. Interviewers are usually good at detecting insincerity, and, if they can tell you aren’t yourself, they’re going to wonder what you are hiding.
Even if you make it through the interview without anyone discovering your act, your real personality is going to come out eventually—and if that personality doesn’t fit into the company’s culture or if you lied about things like your experience and skills, you will have a severe problem. Be the best version of yourself possible. If that doesn’t work, the job isn’t right for you anyway.
8. Don’t Fall Through on the Follow-Up
Following up after an interview could set you apart from your fellow applicants. Send either a handwritten note or an email promptly to thank the interviewer for their time. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. A brief message is fine, and you can even print out a note for little more than the cost of a few drops of toner and a piece of paper. Many people no longer take this simple step after an interview, so doing so could make you stand out from the crowd in a positive light.
Job interviews are intimidating, and acing one isn’t always easy. By employing the tactics outlined above, though, you can walk into any interview better prepared and more likely to land the job.