Ace Your Next Interview

Author —
Sonia Lynch

Job interviews are not the time to “wing it”. Your perfectly crafted professional resume got you the
job interview. Now you need to ensure you land the job. You can improve your marketability by
providing your interview technique as polished as your CV. Here are five of the best, and easiest, ways to ace your interview. What to practice before your interview. How to practice answering interview questions at home. How to phrase your answers. What pre-interview preparation can you(and should) do? How to ask the best questions to make you a stand-out candidate.Excerpt: Job interviews are not the time to “wing it”.

Your perfectly crafted professional resume got you the job interview. Now you need to ensure you land the job. Here are five of the best, and easiest, ways to ace your interview.

You land an interview because of your exceptional skills and professional resume. But, what can you do to increase your chances of getting the job?

Of course, you will dress appropriately, ensuring your hygiene and presentation are of a high standard. However, you also need to do some homework before arriving.

Here are 5 tips from current behavioral research and top HR people to help you land the job you want.

Practice your elevator pitch in front of a mirror.

Look at your resume and read it aloud. Think about the job you are being interviewed for. Now, answer the question “why would you be a good fit for this role”. To create an elevator pitch (see here), you are trying to verbalize your skills and achievements as a summary. This is what you will need to answer when asked the dreaded “So, tell me a little about yourself”.

To win the job you need to highlight how your skills are a great fit, not tell the interviewer how amazing you are. This should last for under a minute. Time yourself. If you have phrased it right, there should be questions that your interviewer now naturally wants to ask you.

Practice high-power poses

Being expansive and open when standing in front of your mirror practicing what you will say has a positive mental effect. You don’t even need to be using them in your interview. Harvard research has shown why using confidence-boosting poses in practice interviews helps. You don’t even have to use them in the actual interview, in the elevator before your interview can boost your confidence.

Interviewers are more swayed by people who are enthusiastic and confident. This can be hard for introverts but practicing power poses and doing your homework on the company, make this easier.

Have Clear Examples Of Your Experience Prepared

This applies to your resume as well as your interview – as your English teacher would have told you in school, you need to “show, not tell”. You need to have clear examples of your experience and be able to share this experience.

To prepare yourself for the interview, go over the job description again and write down the key competencies the job requires you to have. Then for each one, write down a time when you have encountered the requirement. You aren’t writing “I have used good customer service in my day-to-day duties”. You need to be clear, think of a customer service problem you have encountered, explain the action you took, and highlight what the result was. There’s information for employers on what questions to ask at an interview: Have a look at see how you would answer.

Some HR resource suggests you can take your notes during the interview. This is usually unnecessary but writing down your experience helps to cement them in your memory. Follow this up by practicing talking about your experience in front of a mirror.

Do Your Research

At the very least you should be looking at the company website. As with the previous suggestion, make notes as you go. Look at the history of the company and try to understand the company culture. Look at their social media platforms and make a note of the type of things that they promote.

As you’re going through the company’s online presence, you want to think about questions that you will be able to ask in the interview.

Ask Questions

This is one of the easiest ways to prove that you are the perfect employee, yet the most neglected. Your well-crafted cover letter and professionally designed resume got you the interview. Your presentation and experience kept the interview going. Then comes the dreaded “do you have any questions for us” at the end of the interview.

Often people have one of three types of responses to this:

No, I think you’ve been clear. Particularly if you have had a really good interview with lots of chatting

Yes, what is the pay for this position and how are breaks scheduled?

Yes, could you tell me about the culture of the company?

These are all dreadful. The first shows that you haven’t done any research and don’t have an in-depth understanding of the role. The second shows that your priority is you rather than what you can offer. The third also highlights your lack of research. Unfortunately, this is also often a suggested question from some sources.

Asking about the culture of the company is a good question. But, you need to phrase it in a way that shows your interest. Again, you need to show not tell. Instead, say that from their social media presence it appears they have a relaxed culture, does this fit the reality? Or, from the website the culture appears very corporate and regulated; is this an accurate representation?

Having done your research should allow you to discuss the things you have discovered. Talk about the role, and ask questions based on problems you have experienced in a similar role. Make sure you phrase this in a positive light. For example, mention you were responsible for managing customer complaints due to sold-out stock during a sale. Explain how you turned these into positive customer experiences. Then ask if this is a common problem for them as well or if they have a different stock management system. Do not criticize your previous company.

One Last Note

You will often see the recommendation for a follow-up phone call. This is generally not a good idea. The volume of communication in modern life means you adding more is often unappreciated. Judge it carefully, based on the role you are interviewing for and if you are talking with a recruiter or the company.

Overall, enjoy the process! Be positive, and excited about the new opportunities you have created for yourself.

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