Get the Job: Essential Interview Tips

career Oct 15, 2020

Have you been successful at securing interviews, but can’t seem to seal the deal? It’s a common issue. A job interview is an unusual situation, and you probably don’t have a lot of experience in that situation. Many people naturally shine in interviews, while others need practice to hone their skills. Time and effort are all you need to become a master at job interviews.

Learn to impress your job interviewer and get the job:

  1. Clean your social media presence. Over 90% of employers check the social media platforms of interview candidates. Go through your Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other accounts. Delete anything that might seem unsavory to a potential employer.
    • Be aware that recent court rulings give employers the right to ask you to log into social media accounts and allow them to poke around your account. Setting the security preferences isn’t enough. Get it all out of there.
  2. Be prepared for “Tell me about yourself.” Have your story ready to go. Avoid talking about your education and job history. Your interviewer can already see that information. Tell your basic story, focusing on the attributes that would make you valuable to their company. Keep it interesting and under two minutes.
    • Show that you’re a real person, rather than just another chemist or salesperson.
  3. Be on time. Even one minute late for an interview is one minute too many. By being late, you give the impression that you don’t care, don’t have control over your time, or don’t respect the time of others. Any lateness can destroy your opportunity.
    • On the other hand, it looks ridiculous if you show up 45 minutes early. Ten minutes early is perfect. Plan for the worst and try to be 15 minutes early. You can always wait down the street until the appropriate time.
  4. Know your weaknesses. The second most common question is “What are your weaknesses?” Avoid cliché answers like, “I try too hard” or “I care too much.” Give an honest answer and follow up with the solution you’ve implemented.
    • “I can struggle with staying organized, but I’ve developed several habits and systems that greatly increase my organizational skills. For example, I create a to-do list the night before and prioritize my tasks for the day.”
  5. Get plenty of practice. There are many books and websites with the most common interview questions. Practice answering them aloud. Record your answers and listen to them. How do you sound? Are your answers concise and professional? Do any of your responses send the wrong message or raise additional questions?
    • More practice will result in a more comfort at interview time.
  6. Video record your practice sessions. After you have your responses down pat, it’s time to work on your body language. Do a little research on effective body language and give it your best shot. Record your practice sessions and review your mannerisms and physicality. Are you presenting yourself and a confident and competent future employee?
    • The perfect verbal responses will fall flat if your body language is incongruent. Some experts believe your body language is the most important factor.
  7. Know the company. Know the company’s primary products and competitors. You might find out through your research that you’d rather work somewhere else! You’re also likely to be asked what you know about the company. Be prepared with a knowledgeable answer.
  8. Dress appropriately. A suit and tie are a safe bet for men 97% of the time. Women can’t go wrong with corresponding attire. The key is to look clean, neat, and professional. Ensure that your clothes fit properly. Even the finest clothes look frumpy if poorly fitted. Job interviews can be stressful. You need or want the job, and the interview is often the final stage in the process. There’s a lot riding on that conversation! Job interview skills can be learned by anyone willing to put in the effort. Become an expert at the job interview process and get the job.

Job Interview Finesse: Find Out What YOU Want to Know

Job interviews provide an important opportunity to discover if you and your new employer will be a good match before you leap into a new position.

Not only are they interviewing you, but also you’re interviewing them! Will you be happy in their employ? Think about what information matters to you and find tactful ways to ask your interviewer what you need to know.

Important Information to Collect at a Job Interview

  1. Learn about the organizational culture. Organizational culture gets discussed a lot because it's so fundamental to figuring out if you and that new company are compatible. Maybe you like a structured environment or perhaps you prefer being part of a start up venture. This is your opportunity to find out more about the company.
  2. Assess your chances for job satisfaction. Know what makes you tick. Are your priorities geared towards helping others or opportunities for advancement? Some people are content with a position so long as it enables them to pursue outside interests.
  3. Tune into your potential supervisor's objectives. Your supervisor's work style and goals will likely play a big role in your working life. Listen carefully to pick up on what qualities they value and how they communicate and resolve conflicts.
  4. Consider your career path. Plan ahead for your future. Figure out where you want to be in 5 to 10 years so you'll know if you're taking steps to get there with this position.
  5. Nail down the compensation package. Get familiar with the salary range for the position in question, but try to avoid discussing specifics until you know they want to hire you. When you reach that point, you can talk about the details.

Tactful Methods for Gathering Information

  1. Clarify your objectives. Know your top priorities and stick to relevant subjects. It will make the best use of the limited time you get during the interviewing process.
  2. Create a two-way exchange. View interviews as a conversation between two parties rather than an audition where you're trying to impress the other side. You're likely to feel more relaxed and perform better.
  3. Do your research. Go online and talk with people in your network to study the company and position you're interested in. That way you'll ask informed questions that show the interviewer your relevant skills and elicit meaningful responses.
  4. Ask open-ended questions. Go beyond inquiries that can be answered with a yes or no. Encourage stories and concrete examples like how a major challenge got handled or describing why someone was recognized as employee of the month.
  5. Follow up on points that your interviewer raises. Develop rapport with your interviewer by using their questions as a guide. After you answer, ask them for feedback or suggest a related subject.
  6. Be direct. Sometimes we make comments that lead people to give us the answers we want to hear rather than the unvarnished truth. Try to remain neutral so your interviewer will feel free to tell you how much travel to really expect instead of inadvertently minimizing or modifying the numbers to match your wishes.
  7. Take careful notes. Go in prepared with written questions so you'll look professional and remember to cover everything. Jot down essential points so you can review them afterwards.
  8. Get multiple perspectives. Chat with the receptionist to get a feel for the office. Ask your interviewer for the opportunity to meet your future co-workers. Someone in your network may know an employee or former employee.

Use your job interviews to get all the facts you need to determine if the job is right for you as well as selling yourself. A wise employer will appreciate you taking the initiative to get the information you need to evaluate a new position.