Job interview tips might be one of the most anxiety-inducing experiences anyone has to endure. While your resume and cover letter can be endlessly polished to perfection before hitting send on the application. The in-person interview tips is one shot to showcase your best self. And really click with your future manager and coworkers.
There’s endless advice on job interview preparation and etiquette—maybe a little too much. To help you land that dream job, we’ve whittled down all that advice into the essential steps you should take to nail your next interview.
Do Your Research
We know this tip is the top of every article on preparing for a job interview. But that’s because it really is that important. You want to be familiar with the company, your interviewer, and the position you’re applying for.
This doesn’t mean memorizing everything about the company or your interviewer. You’re not going to be quizzed on the company’s first president or what year your interviewer graduated from college. What it does mean is having a good understanding of the company’s main products or services. Your interviewer’s experience in this field, and how your position will fit into the larger company goals.
In doing your research, you want to think critically about everything you know about the company. And use it to form thoughtful questions to ask during the interview. If you don’t understand how the company’s latest product launch fits into its overall vision, ask! If you don’t see the connection between your team and another. Ask how that bridge is built.
Your pre-interview research should allow you to develop excellent questions to ask during your interview. And provide context for any information you learn or questions you are asked during it.
Prepare & Practice Your Message
The best interviewees know exactly what they want to say to an interviewer, often before a single question is even asked. While you of course need to respond to the precise questions you are asked in an interview. There is a huge advantage in walking into an interview with your main talking points in mind.
Ask yourself: what are the top three things I want this interviewer to know about me. And how can I convey them? By writing down what you want your interviewer to know ahead of time. You’ll be more confident in your qualifications for the role and you’ll find your answers come to you more easily.
Similarly, you can practice your answers to your most dreaded questions ahead of time. If you’re worried about talking about your weaknesses. Think up your perfect answer, write it out and say it out loud a few times. Do this for as many questions as you like to make you feel more at ease.
Even if you aren’t directly asked the questions you prepared for, thinking through good answers. And concrete examples of your experience will still help you. It’s often a simple matter to adjust an answer to respond to a slightly different question. And your prepared answer to one question might remind you of a more relevant answer to a different one.
Additionally, prepare some end of interview questions in order to ask any questions you may have about the company. And to also show you are interested in the role and working for the business.
Showcase Your Soft Skills
Sure, you might be a writing wizard, a marketing guru, or a coding fiend, but hard skills alone likely won’t get you the job. Interviewers are looking for people who will be good employees, not just robots who accomplish tasks. As you think through your answers to your questions, look for ways you can demonstrate your soft skills as well, like communication and leadership.
The best interview answers will seamlessly blend examples of both hard and soft skills. For example, if you’re asked about your skills in a specific area, you can also mention how you learned those skills on your own to show you are a self-starter, or how you taught those skills to others, to demonstrate your leadership ability. Try to incorporate examples of these qualities when you can.
Of course, it’s often better to show rather than tell. Demonstrate your soft skills by being kind and respectful to everyone you interact with from the moment you walk in the door. It’s not unheard of for interviewers to ask receptionists and other staff for their impressions of job candidates, so give a good impression to everyone from the start.
Write a Great Follow Up Email
Sometimes, the difference between a good interview and a great interview tips comes down to the follow-up. Sending an email to the interview panel reiterating your interest in the position and thanking them for a particular insight can be the cherry on top that moves you to the next round—or gets you the job offer.
Follow up emails should typically be sent within 24 hours of an interview. It’s best to give it a couple of hours to let your thoughts settle and give the interviewers some breathing room. Make sure the follow-up is thoughtful and tailored to specific things that were discussed in the interview, so they know you’re not sending out the same template to everyone you interview with.
Some job sites will advise you to write a handwritten note or send a gift like cookies along with your follow up. We do not recommend this. Snail mail options may arrive long after a decision about your candidacy has been made, and gifts may come across as gimmicky or trying to “buy” the job. The purpose of a follow up is to express gratitude for their time and give them a final impression to work with as they make their decision.
Similarly, don’t follow up aggressively: hiring decisions can take time, and managers don’t want to feel hounded or harassed by you asking for constant updates. One additional follow up in a couple of weeks is reasonable, but be aware that not all companies let you know if you haven’t been selected for a position.
Final Words For Interview tips
Job interviews are nerve-wracking to be sure, but with some preparation, you can give stellar answers and truly nail the interview. Take time to research the company, ask a trusted friend for some business advice, prepare your message, and practice your answers to the questions you’re most concerned about. Be sure you’re showcasing your soft skills in addition to your technical expertise. And send a genuine follow-up email to reiterate your interest. With thought and preparation, even the most anxious job-seekers can nail the job interview.