10 Tips to Nail Your Next Job Interview

10 Tips to Nail Your Next Job Interview

When it comes to nailing a job interview, preparation is key. The more you prepare in advance, the more comfortable you will be during the interview.

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking. There’s a great number of stressors throughout the process—from talking with someone you don’t know, to being grilled about your experience, and learning to talk about yourself.

But, if you want the job, you’re going to have to perform well in the job interview. When it comes to nailing a job interview, preparation is key. The more you prepare in advance, the more comfortable you will be during the interview.

The next time you have a job interview, follow these 10 tips to nail your job interview:

1. Practice, Practice, Practice

Prior to the interview, print out a list of potential job interview questions. If you can, have a friend or family member conduct a mock interview and ask you the questions. While you’re engaging in the mock interview, try to listen to yourself as you respond. Are you talking too fast? Too slow? The more you practice your pace, the better you’ll come across during the interview.

If you can’t come up with a good answer, practice until you perfect that answer. Or, re-think how you would answer. No one expects you to be flawless in an interview, but they do expect you to be prepared.

Note: If you don’t have a person who you can work with in a mock interview, consider recording yourself via your mobile device, reading questions, and answering them. Do this in front of a mirror and pretend the mirror is the person or people interviewing you. Watch your body language, tone, and facial expressions. This is hard, no one wants to watch themselves. But this will truly help during the interview because you will have practiced all of this prior to the interview.

2. Prepare Your Outfit in Advance

Unless instructed otherwise by a hiring manager or recruiter, you should always arrive to interviews dressed in professional business attire. BUT…don’t just try on your clothes the night before, and certainly not the morning or day of the interview. Why?

If your clothes don’t fit, you aren’t happy with what you have in your wardrobe, or you can’t find matching shoes, it’s going to cause a panic. Plan ahead. Get your outfit picked out, cleaned, pressed and ready days before the interview so the night before you are prepping for the interview, not struggling to find something to wear.

Take it a step further by putting on your interview attire days before the interview, sitting down in a chair, with your notes/information, and by pretending you are in an interview setting. Get used to the comfort – or discomfort of your interview outfit and adjust accordingly.

3. Plot Out Your Travel

Before your interview, make sure that you’ve taken some time to plan out how you’ll arrive to the interview. If you’re driving there, don’t simply rely on GPS navigation. If possible, make the drive a few days before so you are familiar with the route, parking, and timing. If you’re taking transit to your job interview, it’s a good idea to ride your route before. Or, have a backup route in mind in case something unforeseen happens the day of your interview.

Regardless of how you’re getting there, plan ahead and leave early. A good rule of thumb is to aim to arrive at least 15 minutes early.

4. Mind Your Manners

Being polite and well-mannered is an interview tip that you can apply to all facets of your personal and professional life. Be polite to everyone. Smile, say hi, please, and thank you to everyone you meet. Treat the employee working at the front desk the same way you’d treat the CEO of the company. Each person you encounter during the interview process represents an opportunity to make a strong impression. Practice your handshake during your mock interview and pay attention to your eye contact. You want to look everyone you speak with in the eyes, so they know you’re focused and present.

5. Make a Strong First Impression

Don’t be so enthusiastic that you come across as being over-the-top, but first impressions count. Show up with a smile, energized, and interested. Thank those you meet for meeting with you and express your interest in the opportunity. “I’m really excited to discuss this opportunity with you and look forward to learning more.”

Interviews usually open with small talk about your commute “did you find it okay?” or the weather “Sure is hot out there today!” Be ready for that small talk.

6. Study the Job Description

The job description is not just for the application process. You want to know the job description inside out, as it will serve as a guide for how the interview will go. Each of your responses to the interview questions will be informed by the job description.

For example: If the interviewer asks why you think you are a fit for the job, you can reference the job description in your head.  If the job asks for 2-3 years of IT or forklift experience, you’ll want to highlight that.

7. Write Down a List of Questions in Advance

Employers expect questions from the candidates they interview.  When a candidate asks pointed questions during the interview, they show the company that they are engaged and interested enough to be thinking about questions.

Write out at least 10 questions you’d like to ask during the interview. Some of them will get answered throughout the interview, so cross those off as you go. Write down others as they come up. Typically, you’ll get some time at the end of the interview to ask some questions. Make sure you’re prepared to do so. An interview should be a conversation, not a one-sided interrogation.

8. Sell Yourself

Be prepared to talk about yourself, why you are a fit for the job, the experience you can bring, and the impact you can make. This isn’t bragging, this is selling yourself as the right person for the job. Read the job description and anticipate questions that may be asked. Focus on the job requirements, and any special or unique skills/requirements.

Be prepared to talk about examples/success stories from your past that match the employer’s needs. You’ll want to have responses prepared to answer questions such as “tell me about yourself?” It may be uncomfortable to talk about yourself, but if you don’t, no one else will.

9. Think Before You Talk and Breathe

When asked a tricky question or one you are not sure about, it’s okay to take a moment to respond. Take a deep breath. Perhaps glance at the job description, your notes, questions – or your resume, and use that as a guide. Also, not every answer has to be long-winded. Say what you need to and stop, don’t get talk just for the sake of talking.

10. Finish on a Positive Note

Once the interview nears conclusion, finish with a bang. Recap some key talking points, and how you are the right fit for your job (again, make it about how you fit their needs, not how they fit your needs), show gratitude for the job, and let them know you are interested by asking inquisitive questions. It’s also okay to ask about the next steps and the timeline of what you can expect after the interview.

And after the interview, send everyone you meet with a thank you note. Email is acceptable but handwritten and mailed will really stand out.

Interviews are stressful, but you can relieve some of that stress by following these 10 tips to nail your next job interview. Looking for a new opportunity? Check out some of the current roles we’re hiring for at Reliable Resources.