Job Interviews: 20 Tips for Success

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Louise Hay

Do you want to pass your next interview and get the job you are looking for? Here are 20 tips to help you prepare for all possible job interviews.

From researching the company to handling some key interview questions, make sure you make a great impression and ace your next job interview by following these 20 tips.

Do you want to pass your next interview and get the job you are looking for? Here are 20 tips to help you prepare.

20 tips to succeed in job interviews

1. Research the industry and company.
An interviewer might ask how you see your company's position in its industry, who your company's competitors are, what your competitive advantages are, and how you should move forward. For this reason, avoid looking for work in a dozen different industries. Instead, focus your job search on just a few specific industries and dig as deep as possible.

Remember: Google is your friend!

2. Clarify your "strengths" and why you want the job.
Be prepared to go into every interview with three or five key strengths in mind, such as what makes you the best candidate for the position. Prepare an example for each strength ("I have good communication skills. For example, I convinced an entire group to..."). And be prepared to tell the interviewer why he wants the job, including what matters to you, what rewards it offers that you find valuable, and what skills it requires you to possess. If an interviewer thinks you're not really interested in the job, they won't make you an offer, no matter how good you are!

3. Anticipate the interviewer's concerns and reservations.
There are always more candidates than vacancies. So interviewers look for ways to sidestep people. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself why they wouldn't want to hire you ("I don't have this," "I'm not like that," etc.). Then prepare your defense: “I know you might think I'm not the best fit for this position because of [your reservation]. But he should know that [which is why the interviewer shouldn't worry too much].”

4. Prepare for common interview questions.
Each "How to Interview for a Job" book has a list of a hundred or more "common interview questions." (You might be wondering how long these interviews are when there are so many common questions!) So how do you prepare? Pick any list and think about what questions you're most likely to encounter, given your age and status (near graduation, looking for a summer internship). Then prepare your answers so you don't have to fumble around during the actual interview.

5. Prepare your questions for the interviewer.
Come into the interview with some smart questions for the interviewer that demonstrate your knowledge of the company and serious intent. Interviewers always ask if you have any questions, and it doesn't matter, you should have one or two lists. If you say "No, I wouldn't," he or she may conclude that you're really not that interested in work or society. A good multipurpose question is: “If you could design the ideal candidate for this position from scratch, what would they look like?

6. Practice, practice, practice.
It's one thing to come prepared with a mental answer to a question like “Why should we drink this? It's another challenge to say it out loud in a confident and convincing way. The first time you try it, you will find yourself confused and disoriented no matter how clear your thoughts are in your mind. Repeat this 10 more times and it will sound much smoother and more articulate.

But you shouldn't rehearse when you're "onstage" with a recruiter; test before going to the interview. The best way to test? Get two friends and practice interviewing each other: one person acts as the observer and the "interviewee" gets feedback from both the observer and the "interviewer." Do four or five rounds, switching roles as you go. Another idea (but certainly less effective) is to record your response and then play it back to see where you need to improve. Whatever you do, make sure you speak out loud. Trying out the answer in your mind won't help.

PS: If these job interview tips aren't enough for you to change your career, we've rounded up 30 tips for succeeding in life!

7. Achieve success in the first five minutes.
One of the most important tips for job interviews: some studies indicate that interviewers get an idea of ​​​​the candidates in the first five minutes of the interview, and then spend the rest of the interview looking for things to confirm that decision! So what can you do in those five minutes to get through the door? Enter with energy and enthusiasm, and express your appreciation for the interviewer's time. (Remember: You may have seen a lot of other candidates that day and you may be tired. So bring that energy!)

Also, start with a positive comment about the company, something like: "I was looking forward to this meeting [not "interview"]. I think [the company] is doing a great job in [a particular field or project], and I'm very excited to be able to contribute."

8. Stand on the same side as the interviewer.
Many interviewers see job interviews as challenges: candidates will try to snatch an offer from the interviewer, and the interviewer's job is to hold it back. Your job is to turn this tug-of-war into a relationship where you're both on the same side. You could say something as simple as, “I'm happy to have the opportunity to get to know your company better and to get to know myself better, so we can understand if this is a great meeting. I always think that the worst thing that can happen is that you get hired in the wrong job, then nobody is happy!”

9. Be assertive and take responsibility for the interview.
Perhaps in the effort to be polite, some normally assertive candidates become too passive during job interviews. But education is not the same as passivity. An interview is like any other conversation: it's a dance where you and your partner move together, both responding to each other. Don't make the mistake of standing there waiting for the interviewer to ask you about the Nobel Prize you've won. It is your responsibility to ensure that your key strengths are learned.

10. Make your strengths clear.
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, did it make a sound? More importantly, if you communicate your strengths during a job interview and the interviewer doesn't understand, are you right? In this question, the answer is clear: no! So don't bury your strengths in long stories. Instead, tell the interviewer what his strengths are first, then give an example.

This is one of the most important tips to pass job interviews, do not forget it!

11. Be prepared to handle illegal and inappropriate inquiries.
Interview questions about your race, age, gender, religion, marital status, and sexual orientation are inappropriate and in many areas illegal. However, you may receive one or more. If so, you have a couple of options. You can simply answer with a question ("I'm not sure how this is relevant to my application"), or you can try to answer "the question behind the question": "I don't know if I will decide to have children in the near future, but if they ask if I will leave my job for a long period of time, I can say that I am very busy in my career and frankly I cannot imagine leaving it”.

12. Think positive.
Nobody likes complaints, so don't dwell on negative experiences during an interview. Even if the interviewer asks you point-blank, "Which courses did you like the least?" or “What did you like least about your previous job?” Do not answer the question. Or more precisely, he does not answer what is asked of him. Instead, say something like, "Well, I actually found something in all of my classes that I liked. For example, even though I found [class] very difficult, I liked the fact that [class's positive point]" or "I quite liked [an old job], even though now I know I really want [new job]".

13. Close on a positive note.
If a salesperson came up to you and showed you their product, then thanked you for your time and walked out the door, what did you do wrong? He didn't ask you to buy it! If he gets to the end of an interview and you think he'd really like that job, ask! Tell the interviewer that you would really like this job, that you were excited about it before the interview and even more so now, and that you are convinced that you would like to work there. If there are two equally good candidates at the end of the search, you and someone else, the interviewer will think you are more likely to accept, and therefore he may be more inclined to make you an offer.

14. Bring a copy of your resume to every interview.
Have a copy of your resume with you when you go to each interview. If the interviewer has lost their copy, it will save a lot of time (and embarrassment on the interviewer's part) if you can pull out your extra copy and hand it to them.

15. Use the correct body language.
Dress appropriately, make eye contact, give a firm handshake, have good posture, speak clearly, and do not wear perfume or cologne! Sometimes interview locations are small rooms that may lack good air circulation. You want the interviewer to pay attention to your job qualifications, not pass out because you walked in wearing Chanel No. 5 and the previous candidate was drenched in Brut, and the two mixed together to form a poisonous gas that will prevent you from getting an 'offer!

16. Don't worry about looking "prepackaged."
Some people worry that if they test their answers, they will appear "preset" (or too lucid) during the interview. Don't worry. If it's well-prepared, it will look fluid and articulate, not pre-packaged. And if you are not so well prepared, the anxiety of the situation will remove any "preset" qualities.

17. Make the most of the “Tell me about yourself” question.
Many interviewers start interviews with this question. So how should you respond? You can go into a story about where you were born, what your parents do, how many brothers and sisters and dogs and cats you have, and that's fine. But would you prefer the interviewer to write what kind of dog he has, or why the company would hire him?

Consider answering this question with something like, “Well, obviously I could tell you a lot of things, but the three pieces of information I think are most important for you to know about me are [your strengths]. I can talk a bit about those if you want.” Interviewers will always say, "Sure, go ahead." Then you will say, “Okay, as far as the first point is concerned, [give your example]. And when I worked for [company], I [example of another strength]”. Etc. This strategy allows you to focus the first 10-15 minutes of the interview on all of your key strengths. The question "Tell me about yourself" is a golden opportunity. Do not miss it!

18. Be prepared for "behavior-based" interviews.
One of the most common interview styles today is asking people to describe experiences they've had that demonstrate behaviors that the company considers important for a particular position. You may be asked to talk about a time when you made an unpopular decision, showed a high level of persistence, or made a decision under pressure and with limited information, for example.

Step 1 is to anticipate the behaviors this HR manager is likely to look for. Step 2 is to identify at least one example of when each behavior was demonstrated. Step 3 is to prepare a story for each example. Many people recommend using SAR (Situation-Action-Result) as a model for the story. Step 4 is to practice telling the story. Also, be sure to review your resume before the interview with this type of format in mind; this can help you remember examples of behavior that you may not have anticipated beforehand.

19. Send thank you notes.
Write a thank you note after each interview. Write each note on paper or email it, depending on the interviewers' preferences. Personalize your notes by referring specifically to what you and the interviewer have discussed; for example, "I was particularly moved [or interested or glad to hear] what she had to say about...". Handwritten notes may be better if you're thanking a personal contact for helping you with your job search, or if the company you're interviewing with is based in Europe. Whichever method is chosen, notes must be submitted within 48 hours of the interview.

To write a good thank you note, you'll need to take some time after each interview to write down a few things about what the interviewer said. Also, write down what you could have done better in the interview and make adjustments before you leave for the next interview.

20. Don't give up!
If you had a bad interview for a job that you really think would be perfect for you (not just something you yearn for), don't give up! Write a note, email, or call the interviewer to let him know that he thinks he did a poor job of communicating because he thinks this job would be a great opportunity for both you and the company. Reiterate what you have to offer the company and say that you would like the opportunity to contribute. Whether this strategy lands you a job offer is up to the company and up to you. But one thing is certain: if you don't try, your chances are exactly zero. We have seen this approach work numerous times, and we encourage you to take this last chance.


We hope that these tips to overcome job interviews are useful to you. Let us know what the next job interview will be like in the comments below!

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