Interviews can be nerve-wracking and intimidating. They can be trying, degrading, testing, and many other adjectives that can challenge your sanity. Although most business schools teach their students how to prepare for job interviews, they can’t teach you everything you need to ace an interview.
Some skills are only gained through experience. A good example is the art of nailing interviews. You must show up and treat your interviews with respect and lots of care to increase your chances of getting the job. Preparation is the key to staying ahead of your competition.
You can easily freak out after receiving an invitation to a job interview. The thought of appearing before a panel of strangers can throw you into panic. However, preparing for your interview can give you the confidence you need to face your interviewers.
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What do you want out of this employment opportunity? View the bigger picture of your career and develop thoughtful answers to commonly-asked interview questions. It’s also a great way to brainstorm questions to ask your interviewers.
Ranging from researching your prospective employer to answering important interview questions, prepare well to ace your next job interview. Here’re 5 tips to get you started:
5 Tips to Ace Your Next Job Interview
- Research the Company and Industry, and Bring Copies of Your Resume
What’s the position of the company in the industry? Who are its competitors? Does it enjoy any competitive advantages? How can the company steer forward? Research can help you answer these questions.
Do some research on the company background to understand what it does, including its products and services, if any. Focus on one industry or just a few for optimal outcome.
When preparing for the interview, make sure that you pack essentials. Use a basic leather 3 ring binder to hold your important documents, including your resume and original copies of your certificates. The extra copies will come in handy if the interviewer misplaces his or her copy.
Pack at least five copies of your resume if you expect to face multiple interviewers. It’s also important to highlight particular accomplishments on your copy for easy reference during discussions.
Pack a small notebook and a pen to write notes you can use later when writing a follow-up thank-you note. Maintain eye contact even as you write down small notes.
- Determine Your “Selling Points” and Why You Want the Job
Prepare 3 to 5 important selling points to mention in your interview. Why are you the best candidate for the job? Explain how your selling point has benefited previous companies or how it can help your potential employer.
For example, you can say, “My communication skills have helped persuade members of my previous or current workgroup to work successfully as a team.”
Let the interviewer know why you need the job – what draws you to the job or the things you find interesting about it, valuable rewards it offers, and job requirements that you meet. It’s important for the interviewer to understand that you want the job and you’re actually interested in it.
- Prepare to Answer Common Interview Questions
Every industry has “common interview questions” that interviewers often ask for particular jobs. Search online for common questions in your industry. Go through the list and pick the questions you’re likely to encounter based on your status, age, and experience.
With commonly-asked interview questions at hand, prepare your answers to ensure you can answer them during the interview.
- Practice to Perfect Your Preparation
Practice isn’t just about memorizing answers, but being able to speak up in a confident and convincing manner. Even with clear thoughts in your mind, you’re likely to garble and sound confused the first time you speak up. Repeat your answers as many times as possible until you sound more articulate and smoother.
Do your rehearsals before the actual interview to perfect your answers and improve your confidence. Get a few friends to help with the preparations. You can switch roles as interviewees and interviewers, giving feedback on what needs improvement.
Alternatively, record yourself and play it back to determine the areas you need to work on. Speak aloud during rehearsals for optimal outcomes.
- Create a Great First Impression Within the First 5 Minutes
Cut your nails, shine your shoes, and dress professionally for the interview. Smile and display confidence in your body language to create a good first impression. If you impress your interviewers within the first 5 minutes, you’re likely to score high in the interview.
Studies show that most interviewers decide whether to hire an interviewee or not within the first 5 minutes of an interview. During the rest of the interview, the interviewers simply look for points to confirm their decision.
Enter the interview room with lots of enthusiasm and energy, and appreciate the interviewers for their time. Start the interview with a positive comment about the company to kick it off on a positive note.
With proper preparation, you won’t just impress your interviewers, but also nail all the questions asked. Make sure that you dress professionally for the interview, pack all the essentials you’ll need, and arrive earlier to familiarize yourself with the venue.