Interviews are part and parcel of the job-hunting process. Most of us are no strangers to interviews. However, it’s normal to feel nervous even if you’ve attended many. Now, I’m sure you’ve put in a lot of effort into your application. This is the final hurdle to cross. Well, what do you have to do?
Of course, you’re here for a reason. Keep scrolling for 15 Interview Tips to Land Your Dream Job! You will definitely feel more prepared and at ease after reading these useful interview tips.
1. First Impression Matters
You know what they say, first impressions can make or break your interview. Thus, you should always remember to dress the part. Figure out what the company dress code is, and pick your outfit accordingly.
Sometimes, the industry also affects the clothing you should wear. For example, if it’s a start-up in the tech sector, perhaps you don’t need to pull out a black and white attire. However, if you’re working in the legal or finance industry, formal attire is always the safest way to go!
A useful guide is to always be well-dressed than under-dressed. For sure, you don’t want your interviewers to think that you don’t deem the interview as important.
2. Always Be On Time (Or Earlier)
Punctuality is a virtue
At the very minimum, you should be on time for your interview! If you can, be early! You want your potential employer to know that you are responsible, well-prepared and prioritise the interview.
Tardiness is definitely a red flag, let alone for an interview. Here are some interview tips to avoid being late. Firstly, always check where the interview location is beforehand. Make sure to know the exact location, and be familiar with how to get there. You can use GoogleMaps or any other app to know the estimated time of travel. Secondly, always leave your home early! It’s better to be safe than sorry. Give yourself some time for buffer and potential traffic jams along the way.
Furthermore, know that being early or on time also plays a factor in forming your potential employer’s first impression of you.
3. Do Your Research on the Company
Knowledge is power
In addition to the preparations above, you should also study the firm beforehand. Most companies have websites that provide background information for visitors. Studying the business profile can help in your understanding of the organisation’s structure, culture and operations. Knowing such information keeps you updated on the company’s activities. Further, such information may come in handy and earn you some brownie points with the interviewer by demonstrating preparedness!
Apart from reading the website, you might want to delve further by going into press releases and news articles related to the organisation. From these sources, you can figure out the “vibe” of the company and what skills you should highlight during the interview to appear as a suitable candidate.
4. Prepare Your Documents
One of the important interview tips is to come prepared with your documents. Documents that an interviewer may need to refer to include your resume, letters of reference, portfolios and transcripts. While it may not be required, it is good to appear prepared in case these materials are ever needed. Even if you have previously sent these documents via email, having them on hand is useful in refreshing the interviewer’s memories pertaining to your application.
In addition, don’t bring just one copy! Make several copies, for yourself as well as other interviewers (if there are more than one).
5. Look Through Your Resume
Again, and again!
You might think you know your resume like the back of your hand but there’s no harm in refreshing your memory as well! Look at your resume from different angles, and try to come up with questions that interviewers may ask you based on your resume.
This is one of the key interview tips because many interview questions are based on what you provide. Interviewers tend to ask you questions on your past experiences, projects and involvements. Be prepared to answer these questions, not just descriptively but with a point. For example, think about some lessons that you’ve learnt, or a reflection on a past event. Also, very crucially, think about how your response can relate to the current position you are interviewing for.
6. Prepare and Rehearse Your Elevator Pitch
What is an elevator pitch? In this case, it refers to a brief introduction about yourself that hopefully, makes you an attractive candidate to your potential employer. Well, how do you go about preparing one? Think about this in terms of introducing yourself to someone (in a formal setting) you have never met before.
Firstly, start by saying your name. Secondly, provide a summary of what you do. Thirdly, describe some of your qualities. Finally, briefly discuss what you can offer to the organisation.
While writing your elevator pitch, be conversational and avoid using jargon. You want to sound professional and friendly (likeable) at the same time! Apart from that, you want to appear confident and yet, not arrogant. The key is in the tone and choice of words. Sometimes, it’s not what you say, but how you say it!
Also, you should rehearse your elevator pitch out loud. If it even makes you cringe, it is likely that your interviewer will feel uncomfortable too. Your elevator pitch should be something you believe in and feel comfortable expressing. It shouldn’t be forced, it should come out of you naturally and thus, persuasively!
7. Conduct a Mock Interview
Practice makes perfect
One of the most useful interview tips is to have someone sit you down for a mock interview. This person ought to be someone who is a working professional and is no stranger to the interview process. There are several benefits to this.
Firstly, it helps to prepare you for an interview mentally. This way, during the actual interview, you are not completely thrown into an unfamiliar setting. Practice interviews lend you comfort and can significantly calm your nerves when the actual day comes!
Secondly, it helps to improve your eloquence. For starters, your mock interviewer should ask you some typical interview questions. Practising your responses can help fine-tune your answers and make you appear more confident. If you’re feeling adventurous and confident, ask them to throw in some “curve-ball” questions too. However, you must remain unaware of the questions to be asked. As a result, you will be forced to think on the spot and respond accordingly, which is a handy skill to have.
Thirdly, you can receive feedback. Oftentimes, we are blind to our own flaws. Practising with someone else provides another perspective. They can offer valuable feedback and potential areas of improvement for you to consider.
8. Prepare Questions to Ask
Apart from preparing answers, you should also have some questions to ask the interviewer. After all, it’s a conversation and you are accessing the company as much as they are you.
Moreover, interviewers also like to see that you are interested in finding out more about the company. Because it shows that you care!
9. Remain Professional
Even if you have grown to be very comfortable conversing with your interviewer, you should always remain professional. The ability to maintain professionalism in all circumstances is crucial in demonstrating how you’ll act in the workplace. Don’t use coarse language or make insensitive jokes, even if your interviewer does so. Because at the end of the day, it’s still an interview!
10. Be Courteous and Respectful
While this seems like one of the no-brainer interview tips, common courtesy is actually not that common.
Demonstrating basic courtesy like greeting with formalities and shaking hands are but one of the few important interview tips out there. For example, don’t just throw your bag on the table, you should place it neatly beside your seat on the floor. Furthermore, definitely keep your phone on silent mode and in your bag. You should also never interrupt and always use polite language in your responses. In addition, maintain good eye contact, smile and nod to indicate that you are paying attention.
11. Be Honest
Never lie, not only because you will be found out but also because honesty is a virtue. Furthermore, amongst many candidates trying too hard to impress, being candid is a breath of fresh air for interviewers.
Where you have failed in the past, own up and acknowledge your mistakes. Where you have regrets, recognise them and reflect on how you want to move forward.
Most of the time, interviewers are not looking for the “perfect” candidate with absolutely no flaws. Because this is unrealistic, and often, merely a façade. On the contrary, someone who admits to his/her wrongs and is able to demonstrate growth is more attractive as a potential employee!
12. Be Confident
Firstly, speak confidently. Do take a couple of seconds to think about your response before answering but don’t hesitate for too long or worse, blank out!
Secondly, practice good body language! Signs of confidence include maintaining consistent eye contact and sitting upright. In addition, other body cues like smiles and nods also make you more personable.
13. Keep Your Responses Focused
Firstly, always know what the interviewer is asking. If you didn’t catch it, don’t be afraid to ask (politely, of course). If you need to clarify something, do it! It’s better for you to ask than give a response that doesn’t answer the question.
Secondly, remember to stay on topic. Oftentimes, interviewers prefer straightforward answers. Don’t beat about the bush! Also, be mindful of digressing!
Thirdly, only share details that you would in a professional setting. Avoid discussing your personal life. You never know what biases the interviewer might have.
14. Do Not Throw Shade
Most employers want to hire people who are able to overcome tough situations with a positive mindset. Instead of speaking negatively about your former employers, you should focus on how you dealt with your past experience. In addition, talk about the lessons learnt and your goals moving forward.
Ultimately, it is ugly and inappropriate to air another organisation’s dirty laundry in public. The bottom line is just don’t do it!
15. Follow Up
At the end of the interview, it is good protocol to ask the interview about what you should be expecting next. This demonstrates that you are someone who likes to be prepared.
In addition, you may ask for the name card of the interviewer so that you can follow up with a separate thank you email. Preferably, you should send the follow-up email on the same day. Furthermore, you should include references to what had been conversed during the interview for greater memorability. This shows that you are not afraid of taking the initiative, which is always a plus!
With these 15 Interview Tips to Land Your Dream Job, you are well-prepared to take on the next big interview. Thus, don’t panic! Put on your nice clothes and a big smile, be confident and you’re ready to go!