Job Interview Tips to Tip the Scale in Your Favor


For those of us who are not entrepreneurs or are taking on a corporate job to fund our business idea, a job interview is a key step in a successful career.  Regardless of how you land that job interview, through networking, a recruiter or a family friend, this can be the best time to impress your potential employers. In today’s economy, job searching is more competitive than ever, and interviewers are on the lookout for the absolute best applicant. They don’t always choose solely on qualification and resume. Interviewers will also look at an applicant’s personality, communication skills, and level of professionalism, all of which will be evaluate during an interview. We spoke with a few recruiters and hiring managers to compile these job interview tips so that you can sail through any kind of interrogation and land that perfect role.

 Job Interview Tip 1 — Dress To Impress

Demonstrate your professionalism by showing up well dressed. If in doubt, ask the recruiter or assistant what the dress code is and then step it up a notch. If in doubt, a nice suit for males, or knee length skirt for females is appropriate for a formal position. Even if the position allows a casual dress code, wearing nice slacks and shirt to an interview is a good sign of respect. Don’t be afraid to add a bit of style.  A fun accessory like a scarf would be great for a woman or a tie with a bit of personality would be terrific for the guys.  Be sure that your shoes match your outfit, and avoid wearing cruddy sneakers.

 Job Interview Tip 2 —  Be Prepared

Prepare for your job interview by bringing any relevant information, like a few copies of your resume or a samples from you portfolio for a creative position. Be ready to provide your past employers’ reference numbers and important dates in case you are asked to fill out a questionnaire. A good way to show your interest is by writing down anything that you may want to remember in a notepad. Interviewers don’t mind answering questions, but they don’t want to do so twice. Taking notes is a good way to show you’re actively listening and interested in the position, without having to say so. Make sure not to write too many notes, and fail to pay attention.

 Job Interview Tip 3 — Show up Early

It is prudent to show up 10-15 minutes early for an interview, for a few reasons. Showing up early is an excellent way to show that you consider the interviewer’s time is valuable. Moreover, you may be delayed, whether it is getting out of the door late, dealing with a high security building or getting stuck in traffic.

 Job Interview Tip 4 — Do Your Research

Before you head off to an interview, take the time to research the company. Most companies have a website with a great deal of relevant information. Besides basic stats about the company many firms will often contain a code of conduct, a philosophy or a set of core values. .  Knowing what the company values in their employees will give you an immediate advantage over less informed applicants who don’t know about the direction of the company. Demonstrate that you’ve taken the time to learn about the company in the answers and questions throughout the interview.

Job Interview Tip 5 — Prepare for the Common Questions

There are several standard questions interviewers may ask:

  • Tell me a little about yourself.
  • Why do you want this job?
  • What experience do you have?
  • What are your strengths?

Formulate answers beforehand, based on yourself, the company, and the position you are applying for. The answers should be interesting, informed, and to the point–no more than three or four sentences will do the trick.

Job Interview Tip 6 — Get Ready to Be Challenged

It’s important not to avoid the uncomfortable questions that will inevitably come up. Here are a few examples for practice:

  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • What was most challenging about your last job?
  • Describe a time you didn’t get along with your co-workers.

These questions are more difficult to answer, but the most important thing is to always put a positive spin on things. For instance, is your weakness being an overachiever? If there was a problem, how did you solve it? Find a way to slip your good qualities into your answers.  This will demonstrate that you can handle any situation and turn it around if need be.

Note:  Always tell the truth even when answering tough questions. No employer expects a perfect applicant. If you lie you can and will be found out in time. This is why when answering tough questions it’s wise to prepare ahead of time, to answer honestly yet tactfully. In this way, you can come in prepared and well informed and not look like the cat got your tongue.

Job Interview Tip 7 — Leave An Impression

As an interview is wrapping up you may be asked whether you have any questions. Employers appreciate people who are interested in the company. Asking an intelligent question or two can show your enthusiasm. Asking nothing may be seen as a lack of interest. While more questions may come to you as you’re interviewed, there’s always some you can prepare for ahead of time.

Job Interview Tip 8 – Don’t Forget to Say Thank You

A lot of folks we spoke to were surprised by how informal and casual many young candidates are behaving during and after an interview these days.  While a formal note in snail mail is a nice surprise, it is important to follow up with each interviewer that you spoke with via email at a minimum.  Ask for their card before you leave so you have their email address and try to add at least one point that came up in discussion during the interview in your note.  It shows that your note is personal, you are serious about the role and it feels much less like a form letter.

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