Interviews are never an easy thing but these Top 10 Interview Tips have proven to work for me and they are simple and easy to follow. Whatever stage of career you are at, these tips will ensure that you ace that next big interview.
First for the record, my school of interview tips are purely from experience. There was no University of Interview Psychology course I took to get here. I did it, like many of us, the hard way. Learning through trial and error. Self evaluating after every interview, and insisting on feedback from the interviewee.
Over time I've assembled my go to approach for interviews. None of these tips are are earth shattering, or secrets, but they are rules that will help ensure you've prepared for your interview in advance and that when you arrive you've put your best foot forward.
Top 10 Interview Tips of All Time:
1. Be your authentic, genuine self. When you arrive at the interview, relax, sit back, and be yourself. If you try to be someone you are not, it will show, and you'll lose credibility and trust.
2. Smile, make eye contact and small talk on arrival. This may sound unbelievable, but most interviewers will say they will know if they 'like you' within the first 30 seconds of meeting you. That immediate first impression is critical.
3. Dress for the occasion. This means if they are business casual, wear a suit, but no tie. If they are business formal, wear a tie. For women, see what the latest trends are for business casual vs formal.
4. Do your homework - on the company. Do you know ANYTHING about the company you're about to start working for? Research the company, know 3 - 5 meaningful facts that you can present if asked. This is a common question to be prepared for.
5. Do your homework - on your work experience. Do you remember where you worked, and what you did. Spend 2-3 hours or more going through your resume in detail and pulling from it your best achievements. My rule of thumb for meetings is for every 30 - 60 min meeting I prepare 2-3 hours IF I'm the one presenting something important. And there is no meeting MORE important than presenting YOURSELF for a new job.
6. Do your homework - on HOW you get work done. If you're technical, or a specialist, know your methodologies. Go through them in your head step by step or write them down. If your job is not technical but sales or service, be able to describe your work style succinctly. Are you a highly organized self starter? Good, most people want this. Either way, know that you'll definitely be asked this question.
7. Personal Grooming and Hygiene. Didn't bother to shower in the morning before your interview? Or brush and floss your teeth? Big mistake, it may not cost you the job but if you have body odour it won't be in your favour if it's noticed. Your potential employer wants to know they will WANT to work with you day in and day out, and if you can't bother to clean yourself up for the first day, well, it's not a good sign.
8. Small talk. Make conversation. Speak with confidence. If you're in someone's office ask about any photos in the room. Pictures of children or a vacation photo, or anything interesting that might be there. Ask questions about the person or persons interviewing you. i.e. how long they've worked there, what hobbies they have, what they love about working where they do. The art of conversation is important to establish that you have social skills for the job.
9. Ask Questions about the job. Have a list of questions prepared. From good to bad and why the role is open. Remember you are also interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. If it's not a place that feels right, you don't have to work there.
10. Know STAR to answer behaviour questions. It will show you know how to think through a scenario, tell a story and show how you solved a problem. What does STAR stand for?
T - Task
A - Action
R - Result
If you've done those ten steps below, you'll do great at your next interview. And remember if you still don't get the job, there could be many other reasons why, but you'll know you put your best foot forward in the attempt. And make sure, if you don't get the job, you ask for detailed feedback on why. Life is all about learning from our mistakes, and not adjusting our approach.
Good luck to you and good luck at your next interview.