How To Have A Good Job Interview
This article was co-authored by Emily Silva Hockstra and by wikiHow staff writer, Danielle Blinka, MA, MPA. Emily Silva Hockstra is a Certified Life Coach and Career Coach with over 10 years of coaching and management experience with various corporations. She specializes in career transitions, leadership development, and relationship management. Emily is also the author of “Moonlight Gratitude” and “Find Your Glow, Feed Your Soul: A Guide for Cultivating a Vibrant Life of Peace & Purpose.” She received her Spiritual Life Coaching certification from the Life Purpose Institute and a Reiki I Practitioner certification from Integrative Bodywork. She has a BA in History from California State University, Chico.There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 11 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 882,898 times.
Getting a job interview is an exciting and scary experience. You want to make a great impression on your interviewer and get the job, but you likely feel super nervous. Fortunately, a little preparation beforehand can help you make a great first impression and may help you leave a lasting impression on your interviewer. Whether youre doing a virtual or in-person interview, you can stand out from the other candidates.
Interviewing Techniques Tip : Ask Questions During The Interview
Being prepared and asking great questions about the position and the employer shows your interest during the interview. You cant just be an effective responder. You need to assert yourself, too. By the time you reach the interviewing stage, you should be clear about what you want and what you offer to the company.
Try to be thoughtful and self-reflective in both your interview questions and your answers. Show the interviewee you know yourselfyour strengths and your weaknesses. Be prepared to talk about which areas would present challenges and how you would address them. Admitting true areas of weakness is much more convincing than claiming: I have what you need and I can do anything I put my mind to.
Questions to ask potential employers in job interviews
- The people who do well at your company: what skills and attributes do they usually have?
- What do you like best about working at _____?
- What results are expected?
- What specific problems are you hoping to solve during the first six months?
- Who are the key internal customers? Any special issues with them?
- What happened to the person who had this job before?
- What communication style do you prefer?
- What is your philosophy regarding on-the-job growth and development?
- What are your goals for the department?
Reread Your Resume Or Application
Reread your resume? Why would you need to do that? After all, you know your own background, right? Well, sort of.
If you tailor your resume to each job , and youve applied to more than one recently, you may not remember which details you included. That could spell trouble.
You can almost guarantee that the hiring manager is going to talk about your resume. If you forgot which accomplishments you mentioned, you might not prepare to discuss them. Then, if the hiring manager asks which they almost certainly will you might give a stumbly answer.
Review your resume! Know what you said! Remember, your resume might be all the hiring manager knows about you, so make sure you can discuss those points with ease.
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What Does Being Prepared For An Interview Really Mean
For many, the idea of being prepared for anything is a bit ambiguous.
Is there a specific point that separates the prepared from the ill-prepared? Do you have to dedicate a certain number of hours to the process of getting ready? Is there a critical step you have to make to cross the threshold?
Technically, the answer to those questions is no. In many cases, being prepared means youve done some due diligence. You know how to talk about your achievements in a way that entices the hiring manager. You can sprinkle in relevant tidbits of information based on research.
Essentially, being prepared means youve taken whatever steps were necessary to set yourself up for success, allowing you to arrive at your interview brimming with confidence. Youve dedicated time and attention to the process.
Even if the idea of being prepared isnt highly defined, that doesnt mean you cant do what it takes to make it happen. By following the right steps which well cover in a moment you can do proper laser focused research, prepare and practice relevant and engaging answers, and increase your odds of handling even the trickiest questions with ease.
What To Bring To The Interview
Set aside time before your interview to get the following items together.
At least five copies of your printed CV on paper. While the hiring manager has likely seen your CV, they may not have read every line. Or you might be speaking with someone new. In either case, you might want to highlight specific accomplishments on your copy that you can discuss.
A pen and a small notebook. Prepare to take notes, but not on your smartphone or any other electronic device. Write information down so that you can refer to these details in your follow-up thank you notes. Maintain eye contact as much as possible.
A written version of the prepared questions for your interviewers.
A single bag for all your materials. Its easy to mistake nervous for disorganised, so keep all your documents in a single, multi-use messenger bag or portfolio. Make sure that its professional and appropriate to the corporate culture as well as your own style.
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The Interviewer Seemed Hurried Throughout The Interview Especially At The End
Note whether the interviewer took their time walking you out and concluding the interview, or whether they seemed rushed at the end of the process, after their last few questions.
Usually, if they took their time, its a sign the interview went well.
Unfortunately, if they rushed you out or seemed focused on their next task , its a sign that things probably went badly during part or all of the interview.
The Interviewer Didnt Ask Much About Your Skills Or Experience
Some of the first questions in an interview are typically intended to judge your motivation for job searching, your personality, etc. But after that, an interviewer will typically want to discuss your background, recent responsibilities, etc.
So it can be a bad sign if you mainly hear interview questions about your general motivation to job hunt, what youre looking to do next, and why, such as:
If you give a bad answer to one of these early questions it could be a deal-breaker and could prevent you from moving on to discuss further topics.
If an employer is worried about your motivation, work ethic, and whether youre serious about wanting to work for them, they arent going to care as much about your specific skills and experience.
So if you dont satisfy them with these first few interview questions above, then the interviewer might go light on the experience-based questions because theyve already made up their mind that youre not someone they want to hire.
Make sure you practice these common questions above.
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The Employer Asked Questions That Seemed Out
If an interviewer asked anything that seemed odd or wasnt really related to work, or the job, it could be a bad sign. Examples:
- Do you always wear ___?
- Do you normally ___?
Im not talking about making small-talk.
Its fine if they asked whether you played sports, whether you knew so-and-so at your last company, whether you had hobbies, whether you enjoyed the college you attended, etc.
But, if you did something out of the ordinary and they asked about it, then it might be because it concerned them. It might not ruin your chances at the job, but its another sign that the job interview might have gone badly.
Dont Forget About Your References
Dont let your references be the last to know about your job search, or even worse, get an unexpected call from a potential employer. Many offers are withdrawn over bad references. Why take that chance? Get in touch with your references right away to seek help and to avoid surprises on either side.
- Are your references relevant to your current job search? Who should you add or subtract?
- Are there any reference gaps? Gaps that an employer will question? What is your story about those gaps?
- Can a colleague, vendor, customer, or board member be added to replace or enhance the list?
- What is the current status of your relationship with your references?
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Dress For The Job Or Company
Today’s casual dress codes do not give you permission to dress as “they” do when you interview. It is important to know what to wear to an interview and to be well-groomed. Whether you wear a suit or something less formal depends on the company culture and the position you are seeking. If possible, call to find out about the company dress code before the interview.
How To Follow Up An Interview
Congratulations! You made it through the initial interview process, hopefully picking up some great job interview tips we provided in the preceding sections.
Don’t stop there. The next part of the process is just as important, if not more so. In today’s competitive job market it’s imperative you follow up your initial job interview with a thank-you email to reiterate your interest in the role, and brush up on your second interview skills.
Read below for tips on what to do after the interview to make it into the next round of interviews – and successfully achieve your dream job.
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What To Do During An Interview
Your qualifications and skills are only a part of what the hiring manager is looking for when conducting an interview. Whether you get the job depends largely on how you behave at the interviewwhat you do, what you say, and how you say it. From the first door you walk through to the final handshake on your way out, this lesson will help you learn how to behave during an interview. It will help you identify basic business etiquette that can improve your chances, as well as show you how your tone of voice and body language can be interpreted by an interviewer. It will also outline the basic rules for answering questions well.
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Use your desktop or laptop but not your phone. Phone connections can more easily drop the call and not have good reception when you want it most. You will not look good holding your cellphone, which will shake or move around as you hold it and be annoying to the viewer. Your desktop computer and laptop are the better options.
Don’t start by apologizing for your being unfamiliar with online technology. That is not what the employer wants to hear. It’ll make you come across as technically incompetent. Go to YouTube and watch some how-to videos on using the meeting software, whether it’s Skype or others. Practice several times using this technology, so you know how to connect, reconnect, adjust the volume, and can ensure you look good on camera.
Pay attention to the background and lighting. Keep your background uncluttered and move all distractions, so they don’t interfere with the camera focusing on you and not the light pole growing out of your head. Be sure to be in a quiet location. A plain background is ideal. Do not be sitting on your bed as it gives a poor impression. Check the lighting to see how your face looks at the time of day you will do the interview. You want perfect lighting, so we view your face without shadows. You may need to add a lamp to one side or in front of your face but out of camera view to get your whole self well lite.
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Bonus Tip: Work On Your Answers
You know you can do the job make sure the interviewer believes you can, too. One way to do this is by preparing well-thought-out answers to questions they’re most likely to ask. Need some help with that? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you’ll get interview tips, career advice, and job search insights sent directly to your inbox so you can come across as a strong, viable candidate. From ice breakers to the nitty-gritty , Monster’s expert advice can help you craft answers that highlight your skills and eagerness to get the job.
Please Don’t Do These 9 Things In An Interview
Looking for a job can be stressful and demoralizing. I’d really like for you to succeed: it would be good for you, for the company that hires you, and for the overall economy. In fact, I want you to get the best job you possibly can – one that you enjoy, and that challenges you and makes best use of your strengths.
In the service of that, there are some actions I want to steer you away from when you’re doing a job interview, things that – trust me – will not create the impression you want to create. Of course, some approaches are a matter of taste and style – certain interviewers will like them while others won’t – but there are also ways of behaving that are pretty universally not a good idea. And, unfortunately, interviewees often get counseled to do some version of these things. So, having interviewed a great many people over the course of my career, and having spoken to hundreds of hiring managers about what they’ve liked and haven’t liked in those they’ve interviewed, here you go. If you want an interview to go well, don’t:
And if you do the opposite of these things – if you’re relaxed, open, and confident show up looking presentable are positive about your past jobs are curious about the job and knowledgeable about the company and are honest and forthright about who you are, what you think, and what you’ve done – then you’ll have an excellent shot at getting the job you really want – and at succeeding in it.
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Speak Positively About Your Previous Experiences
Even if you’ve been unhappy in a previous position, or had a negative experience, avoid discussing it during a job interview. Consider ways you can focus on the positive aspects of the position and what you learned while in the role. Although it’s important to remain honest when answering interview questions, you can still word your answer in a way that shows you have a positive attitude and can learn from and appreciate any work situation.
Interviewing Techniques Tip : Manage Stress
Interviewing for a job can make anyone stressed. In small doses, that stress can actually be beneficial, helping you perform under pressure. However, if stress becomes constant and overwhelming, it can impair the way you communicate during an interview by disrupting your capacity to think clearly and creatively. When youre stressed, youre more likely to misread an interviewer or send confusing or off-putting nonverbal signals.
If you cant quickly relieve stress in the moment and return to a calm state, youll almost certainly be unable to take advantage of the other interviewing techniques and tips. All our best intentions go out of the window when were overwhelmed by stress. Its only when youre in a calm, relaxed state that you can think on your feet, recall the stories youve practiced, and provide clear answers to an interviewers questions. Therefore, its vital that you learn quick stress relief techniques ahead of time.
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Understand Behavioural Competency And Situational Interview Questions
When preparing for a job interview, you should next make sure you understand how to answer job interview questions. To get to the motivations and working style of a potential employee, interviewers often turn to behavioural, competency, and situational interview questions to understand your behaviours and establish your core skills and competencies relevant to the role, such as teamwork, creativity and innovation, decision making ability, business awareness or conflict resolution.Behavioural and competency based interview questions usually begin with, Tell me about a time when or Give me an example of an occasion when Both behavioural and competency based interviewing are based on the idea that past behaviour can predict future action.
Sample competency based interview questions and behavioural based interview questions include
- Describe a situation in which you didnt meet your stated goal. How did you handle it?
- Describe a situation in which you took the initiative to change a process or system and make it better. How did you identify the problem? How did you go about instituting change?
- Describe a time when you were required to use your analytical skills to make an informed decision.
- Tell me about a time when you used your creativity to solve a problem.
Sample situational interview questions include:
You Didnt Connect Or Bond With The Interviewer
Different interviewers and hiring managers have different styles in the interview process. Some may joke with you and ask their interview questions in a casual format, while others are dead-serious.
So dont just judge this one sign on its own and panic. However, if you noticed some other signs above that the interview went poorly, and the interviewer also didnt really bond with you at all via humor, small-talk, etc., then its not a good sign.
This could mean the interview didnt go well in general. Or, it can indicate that the interviewer didnt see you as a good fit for the company culture.
However, if the interviewer was quiet and serious, but did take the time to ask you some questions about yourself and get to know you as a person, it might just be that their job interview style is to keep the conversation dry and professional.
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