Interviewing

How to Ace a Job Interview

After the initial selection process, the next step to securing a job offer is to impress the hiring manager during your interview. This article will show you how to ace a job interview with preparation and planning to get a job.

How to prepare for the interview

Follow these steps to prepare for your interview so you can ace it:

1. Research the company beforehand

Find out what you can about the business before you step into the interview room.

  • Is this a startup or a well-established company?
  • How did the company start?
  • How has the company been performing?

Study the company’s website and social media accounts. These can often give you an idea of the business’ culture and the kinds of things they want you to know about them. You can use this information in the interview to show you have done your research.

If you know people who already work at the company, arrange a time to briefly talk with them. Try to get an idea of what it’s like to work there every day.

Find out who will be conducting the interview. This can give you some insight into the direction of the interview. The hiring manager will want to talk more about the position and determine if you will be a good fit with the team. An executive, however, will look at how you may be able to broadly contribute to the company.

2. Prepare answers to common interview questions ahead of time

Be prepared to answer simple as well as in-depth questions. It is good to have already thought of an answer to these questions so you can reply with confidence. These basic questions include:

  • Why do you want this job?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What is one thing about yourself you can tell me that is not on your resume?

Think about how you might respond to questions like these in a way that sounds natural and unrehearsed.

3. Practice interviewing and answering questions out loud

In the days leading up to the interview, conduct practice interviews either in front of a mirror or with a friend or family member. If you feel comfortable in front of a camera, record the interviews and watch them. Pay attention to your body language. Make sure you are communicating with the right level of passion and energy.

4. Prepare for behavioral questions with evidence and anecdotes

The purpose of the behavioral question is to ask how you performed in a given situation in the past. This is supposed to indicate how you might react to a similar situation in the future.

Popular behavioral questions include:

  • Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult team member.
  • Have you ever made an unpopular decision?
  • Tell me about a time you had to complete a task under a tight deadline.
  • Have you ever not met a goal? How did you deal with that?

Model your answers around the STAR method: Describe the situation, the task, the action you took and the result.

5. Dress appropriately and professionally for the job

Unless you are told otherwise, you should dress for the interview in business or business casual attire. There are a number of ways you can determine which is most appropriate:

  • Call the business and ask.
  • If you know someone who works for the company, ask them about the dress code.
  • Look for pictures on the company’s website or social media platforms.
  • Go to the workplace around 8 a.m. or 5 p.m. and watch people entering or leaving the building to see how they are dressed.

Whatever the dress code is, always aim to look professional—perhaps even a step above that. If the dress code is casual, for example, dress in business casual. Choose what you will wear at least a day before the interview so you can be sure everything is clean and fits comfortably.

6. Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early to the interview

Arrive to the interview 10 to 15 minutes early. This gives you an opportunity to collect your thoughts, take some deep breaths and relax. 

7. Be polite to everyone you meet

Beginning with the receptionist, treat everyone politely as if they are evaluating your performance. These may be your future colleagues, so you want to create a good impression.

8. Ask questions during and after the interview

A good way to show your interest in a job is to ask questions. Come up with a list of things you can ask both during and after the interview. Remember, you are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you. Think about the kinds of things you might want to know that will help you decide whether to accept a job offer. Find a way to work prepared questions into the conversation or ask them at the end of the interview. You can also ask when to expect an email or a phone call regarding next steps.

9. Show the interviewer that you’re interested and excited about the opportunity

Before you leave the interview, express your interest in the position. Tell the interviewer what a great opportunity it is and how excited you are to be considered for it.

Within 24 hours of your interview, send the hiring manager a thank you email. Briefly talk about your continued interest in the job. You might also send a handwritten thank you card. Since this will arrive a few days after the interview, it will put your name in front of the hiring manager again, reinforcing your interest in the position.

The interview process can be stressful, but with the right preparation, you can approach it with confidence.