8 Simple Job Interview Tips and Tricks

Job interview questionsInterviewing for a job is very rarely a pleasant experience.

Let’s face it: even if you’ve been through the process dozens of times, it can be tough to control the anxiety that goes along with selling yourself and your achievements to a complete stranger.

Being on the hot seat – peppered with questions?  Acing one interview, only to be informed you’ll have to repeat the process with a couple more interviewers higher up the food chain?  My palms are starting to sweat just thinking about it.

And while you might not be able to completely stifle the butterflies in your stomach or keep yourself from dropping uh and ums whenever you speak – being as prepared as possible is a big asset in a job interview.  It’s easier to be yourself if you’re confident.  And providing an accurate picture of your skills and experience is all you can really ask for in a job interview.

But what’s the best way to prepare?  What tips and tricks help smooth the path to a great first impression?  Read on for 8 easy interview tips from someone who’s done a fair share of hiring in his day – me.

Research Your Potential Employer
The more you know about the company – its industry, clients, the work they do – the better you’ll be able to respond to the interviewer’s questions.  Not to mention adapt to unexpected topics.

Have a List of Relevant Questions About the Company and Position
This sets expectations for potential employers just like they have for you.  You don’t want to get to the third interview to learn that a job doesn’t offer a 401k plan or health benefits.  Or that they won’t be able to accommodate the two-week honeymoon you have planned three months from now.  Plus I don’t know any manager who won’t like the initiative this shows.

Prepare For the Interview
You don’t want to try to memorize what you’re going to say –that’s a good way to add extra pressure or get you off track if you lose your train of thought.  But it doesn’t hurt to have good answers to some of the questions interviewers commonly ask.  Check out this resource for solid answers to 50 common interview questions.

Be Upbeat and Friendly
Researchers have found that people are more attracted to images of people that smile and make eye contact.  And it’s actually contagious: when people see someone smiling, their facial muscles unconsciously imitate the expression.  So be positive, smile often, and make eye contact when speaking or answering questions.

And Punctual
Showing up late to an interview is one sure-fire way not to get the job you’re after.  So give yourself enough time to arrive at least 10 minutes early.  That means mapping your route before the day of your interview.  You don’t want to get caught in traffic or up you anxiety by rushing to make your appointment.  But don’t be too early.  Showing up a half hour before your appointment might send the wrong signals.

Remember Your Body Language
It may sound trivial, but your body language could be sending off unconscious signs to interviewers that have major implications.  First, make eye contact when listening or answering questions to show that you’re confident about what you’re saying and engaged in the interview.  Next, sit with your back straight and shoulders back to appear self-assured and in control.  Finally, do your best to control hand and leg movements.  “Speaking” with your hands or constantly tapping your foot communicates anxiety or boredom.

Dress to Impress
A lot of times people have a misconception that they’ll be overdressed for an interview.  But, honestly, even if you’re just applying to be a cashier, dress professionally.  It shows you’re taking the interview process seriously.  And it might even help sow the seeds for a promotion down the road.

There’s probably stiff competition for the job you’re after.  So there’s nothing wrong with showing a potential employer that you’re serious about the position with a professional, hand-written follow-up note after your appointment.  But don’t be too pushy.  Appearing to be overly anxious could be a major red flag.

You might really want the job you’re interviewing for.  But even if you aren’t selected, it’s not the end of the world.  There are other companies and opportunities.  And if you put in the work and have the right attitude and skill set, eventually you’ll get to where you want to be.  So don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself by elevating the interview to end-all-be-all status.  Be prepared.  But also treat it like what it really is: a good opportunity to show a potential employer just how awesome you really are.

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