The Perfect Job Interview In 8 Simple Steps
Speaker, Inc. Magazine contributing editor, author of THE MOTIVATION MYTH, ghostwriter.
You landed the interview. Awesome! Now don’t screw it up.
I’ve interviewed thousands of people for jobs ranging from entry-level to executive. Easily three-fourths of the candidates made basic interviewing mistakes.Did I still hire some of them? Absolutely… but never count on your qualifications and experience to outweigh a bad interview.Here are eight practical ways to shine:
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Dont Conceal Your Hands
One thing to avoid is to conceal your hands. Putting your hands in your lap, beneath the table may feel most comfortable for you. But body language experts suggest that this unconsciously signals that you have something to hide. More likely, its just because youre just nervous but we dont want a hint of doubt in the interviewers mind.
The same goes for if you place your hands downwards. Instead, keep your palms facing up to show youre open and honest.
Common Interview Questions And Answers
The most important part of preparing for an interview is practicing how to answer interview questions you might be asked on the day.
Knowing the most common types of job interview questions is an advantage – that way, you can craft your answers well in advance, and feel confident in your responses when the pressure is on.
Our common interview questions and answers guide will help you prepare for your next job interview.
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I Am Highly Motivated
A motivated employee is a productive employee. Talk about how your high level of motivation has led you to accomplish many things. If you are a meticulous worker, discuss your organizational skills and attention to detail. Companies are always looking for dependable employees whom they can count upon.
Talking Only To One Person
Many interviews have two or more interviewers in the room, and ignoring certain people in the interview committee can ruin your chance of landing the job. Be sure to address every person conducting the interview, making eye contact and speaking directly to them in turn. Many job candidates tend to only address the highest-ranking person in the room, which comes across as rude.
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Tip : Do Your Homework
Prepare for the job interview exactly as you would when meeting the hiring manager in person.
It might be tempting to search the web for answers mid-interview. But if youre seen to be clicking around, it might give the impression that youre not focused on the interviewer.
Be ready to answer any common interview questions without needing to use the internet.
How To Be A Good Interviewer:
Read our guidelines below on how to conduct a good interview and find answers to commonly asked questions.
It’s important to prepare thoroughly before interviewing a potential employee so that you don’t come across as disorganized and unprofessional. Be sure to brush up on the interviewee’s skills and employment history beforehand by reading their resume, and print out a copy for reference during the interview.
Choose your questions wisely.
Create a list of questions that are tailored to the role you are hiring for, such as questions relating to skills, job knowledge, and work history. You should also include behavioral and situational questions to give you a good idea of how the candidate handles challenging situations. Preparing a list will also ensure that you ask each candidate similar questions.
Have an interview structure.
An unstructured interview can cause you to lose track of the interview and end up wasting your and the candidate’s time. The best way to avoid this is to set out a structure during your interview prep.
For example, make the first part of the interview a brief introduction and description of the main goals of the position and what your company hopes to achieve, followed by the interview questions. Lastly, give the interviewee an opportunity to ask a few questions of their own.
Take notes and listen carefully.
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Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job
First of all, avoid bad-mouthing your current job, manager and co-workers at all costs even if they truly deserve it. Your interviewer is not the person to tell these things. It gives a bad impression, especially because the interviewer probably doesnt want their company to be the one youre badmouthing in your next interview. Answer this question by talking about your potential for growth in the new job youre applying for. Maybe the job you currently have didnt turn out to be the best fit for your goals and aspirations this is a great opportunity to spell out more about what your goals and aspirations are, and why they align with the role youre applying for, as well as the values of the new company. In short, make your answer forward-looking, not backward-looking.
Give Concise Actionable Feedback
Your feedback is only useful if the candidate or hiring manager can act on it in the future, so make sure what youre offering is instructive and concrete. Steer away from vague evaluations and try to give specific examples of when the candidate showed particular strengths and weaknesses.
If youre feeding back to a candidate, keep the feedback brief and tightly focused. After all, the document is only one companys verdict and will be one of several factors influencing their overall jobseeking strategy.
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How To Deliver Your Presentation
The most important part of your presentation is how you present.
Interviewers are looking for candidates who are naturally professional. Someone who is confident, articulate and presentable.
Your delivery should be conversational but professional. The best way to practise this is to present to a trusted friend or relative, rehearse in the mirror or record yourself on camera.
When delivering your presentation, take note of the following:
Voice Speak clearly and use a varied tone during your presentation. Don’t speak too fast and be confident enough to pause often, especially between your key points.
Eyes Maintain eye contact with your audience throughout your presentation. Look from person to person as you talk, to seem more relaxed and keep everyone engaged.
Smile Be positive throughout your presentation. Smile when you begin, keep smiling as you talk and conclude with a smile.
Stance When presenting, stand up straight with your shoulders back. Have open body language and use your hands to emphasise what you are saying, but not excessively.
Learn From Your Mistakes
A good interviewer views mistakes and failures as opportunities to improve. Here are a few things you can do to learn from your interviewing experience more deliberately:
- Keep records. Recording and filing your notes helps you as an interviewer since you can refer back to them any time. And your company can also use them in court, in the unlikely event that they face a lawsuit.
- Monitor results. Ask your teammates who are responsible for tracking recruiting metrics for information about candidate experience and quality of hire metrics. Its also a good idea to keep track of your companys online reviews on Glassdoor. Take constructive feedback to heart and work to improve on feedback you receive.
- Seek advice. Look for resources online and, if possible, ask more experienced recruiters or interviewers in your company for advice. If you plan to interview often, you could also make a case for attending interview trainings or workshops.
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Showing Up At The Wrong Time
When it comes to arriving at the right time, most interview candidates are worried about being late. But Rudeth Shaughnessy, a former HR director and current senior editor for Copy My Resume, said that arriving too early is poor etiquette, too. Aim to arrive no more than 10 minutes early if you need to hang out in the lobby for a few minutes, that’s OK. Use the time to brush up on your notes or practice your introductory speech.
Use A Mix Of Question Types
In addition to your must-asks, leave room for other questions that can help you develop a better picture of the candidate overall. Try using some combination of these interview question types:
- Closed-ended questions call for a simple, informational answer sometimes just a yes or no. An example: Have you worked in an industry different from ours?
- Open-ended questions require thought and oblige the candidate to reveal attitudes or opinions. For instance: What interests you most about this position?
- Hypothetical questions invite the potential hire to resolve an imaginary situation or react to a real one. Heres one: If you had an opportunity to revise your early career path, what would you do differently?
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Things You Should Say In An Interview
Today’s job market is as competitive as ever. You need to be able to effectively communicate your skillset so that you will give yourself the best competitive advantage to secure employment. During the interview process, you want to highlight as many of your strengths as possible.
An easy way to do this is by slipping a few simple phrases into your next job interview. Here are seven things you should say in an interview.
7 Things You Should Say In An Interview
Plan Your Journey To The Job Interview
When preparing for a job interview one of the most important things to consider is how you are going to get there. A failure to plan is a plan to fail. If you are planning on driving to the interview, make sure you fill your car with fuel the night before. You dont want to be filling up on the way dressed in your suit.
Make sure you arrive on time, or better yet, at least 15 minutes early. Ensure this by knowing the address and if you can, have a trial run a couple of days before. The morning of the interview, check the traffic reports and have a backup route planned just in case. If you are travelling by train or bus, make sure you check the weather report the night before and keep an eye on the public transport websites for any delays. Look out for track works or traffic conditions that can potentially delay your train or bus trip.
Go to bed early the night before and wake up early to give yourself plenty of time.
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Avoid Using Too Much Jargon
If we try too hard to sound smart and professional, we end up sounding like idiots: Yes, the occupation filled me with immense joy as I interacted with my supervisor on a day-to-day basis to execute the financial
A better strategy is to first translate what were trying to say into plain English. Then, if our response is compelling, we can polish the exact language to make the answer interview-worthy.
Imagine the interviewer asks Why do you want this job?
Before blurting out something about how you really love their corporate values or how youre so passionate about the job, come up with something more realistic.
Here are some real reasons you might want to work at Company X:
- The company does great work
- There are a lot of smart people here
- I think I can do a good job
So heres what your answer might look like in plain English:
I want to work here because the company does great work in the local tech community and Id love to be a part of a growing industry.
Tip on how to use this in your interview: With the questions you deconstructed earlier, come up with your plain English responses to them. Be sure to also address the question behind the question.
Take some time to write these down. But dont worry about sentence structure, finding the perfect words, or sounding smart. Just keep it simple and natural.
Bring Only The Essentials
If youre guilty of carrying around a bag like Mary Poppins everywhere you go, its a good idea to clear it out before the big day and only take the essentials with you. After all, you dont want to have to rummage through a complete and utter mess trying to find your portfolio with receipts flying out of your bag.
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I Am Energetic And Have A Positive Attitude
Employers are looking for candidates with optimism and a “can-do” attitude. Attitudes are contagious and directly affect company morale. Let the optimist in you shine during the interview process.
Be sure to always speak positively about past employers. will make you look petty. If you bad-mouth your past company, employers are liable to believe that you will do the same thing to them.
When To Write Feedback
When you write feedback can affect your perspective and decision on a candidate.
- Feedback should be written within a day of the interview, ideally a few hours after the sessions.This allows some time to reflect, while keeping the interview fresh in your head. It also ensures timely feedback for the recruiting team and ultimately the candidates who are waiting for a decision.
- While timeliness is appreciated, writing feedback directly after a session isnt advised, since it doesnt provide enough time to reflect and process the session.
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Tips For After The Interview
When the interview is over, give yourself the best chances of moving forward by doing the following:
20. Ask about next steps. After your interview, it is appropriate to ask either your interviewer, hiring manager or recruiter about what you should expect next. This will likely be a follow-up email with results from your interview, additional requirements like an assignment or reference list or another interview.
21. Send a personalized thank you letter after the interview. Ask for the business card of each person you speak with during the interview process so that you can follow up individually with a separate thank you email. If you interviewed in the morning, send your follow-up emails the same day. If you interviewed in the afternoon, the next morning is fine. Make certain that each email is distinct from the others, using the notes you took during the conversations.
Avoid The Word ‘interview’
Most people think an interview is a scary thing. They think of job interviews or the kind of TV interviews that politicians do. Neither model works for a good journalistic interview.
I prefer the words ‘chat’, ‘conference call’ or ‘conversation’.
12. Confirm the time and date in advance and send reminders
People sometimes don’t turn up for interviews. This is why I prefer sending a meeting request from Outlook or using Calendly to book up the call. It’s also helpful to send an email reminder the day before.
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Master Your Body Language
Your mouth may be moving and saying all the right things, but is your body saying something different?
Interviews are nerve-wracking experiences for most of us, and that can cause us to tense up. With hunched shoulders, crossed arms, and eyes on the floor, your body language can use some serious work.
There are tons of resources, studies, and books out there to help you master your body language, but here are some quick tips.
Set The Candidate At Ease
A job interview can be stressful. Setting candidates at ease something as simple as offering them a glass of water could help them be more comfortable and open about themselves, which in turn can lead to a more fruitful interview.
As you get started, offer a brief introduction of what you want to achieve, give an indication of the proposed length of the interview, and let them know if there will be time afterward for their questions.
Setting the scene as described above is a way to build rapport with your potential employee, sets the tone for the forthcoming interview, and has the potential to uncover a candidate’s most heartfelt responses. The result is a more authentic view of the candidate’s personality, rather than a situation where he or she feels on edge, and tries to give the answers they think you want to hear.
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Delivering Internal Hiring Feedback
If youre a recruiter delivering feedback to a hiring manager, youll be aiming for completeness above all. As well as delivering the feedback document youve put together, they may find it useful to speak on the phone or in a live meeting to discuss how the interview went, especially if the candidate seems promising.
Having a structured document is especially valuable in this situation as it allows the hiring manager to compare interview feedback from multiple candidates in a like-for-like way.