There are literally thousands of articles across the internet sharing tips and tricks for acing your next interview. So many, in fact, that just a simple search on Google is enough to give most people a headache. It’s difficult to know what to focus on and put into practice, after all, chances are you’re not going to recall every pearl of wisdom when there’s so much good input to consider.
Instead of wondering what you should be sure to implement and what isn’t *quite* as critical, we’ve created a short list of the top five things you can do before every interview to help get your head in the game and leave a great first impression.
And, what’s even better – these tips are helpful regardless of how exceptionally qualified you are or what position you’ve applied for!
Our Top 5 Tips for
Acing Your Job Interview
Research the Company
It goes without saying that you should research the business you’d like to work for before your interview, but it is surprising how many people skip this critical step. Take the time to read their “About Us” and learn more about the company history, their published mission, and how they talk about their products or services.
Regardless of what kind of position you may be interviewing for, the more you know about them and speak like you’re already one of the team, the better. The company website and team member LinkedIn pages are a great place to start your research.
Review Typical Interview Questions for the Position
If you’ve been job hunting in the same field for a while, it’s possible you’ve already spent a significant amount of time cruising job forums and reviewing some of the most commonly asked interview questions for your prospective position.
Even still, now that you have a specific title in your sights, you should once again take to the keyboard and spend some time investigating what questions you may be asked and begin formulating your answers ahead of time. If you are working with a recruiter, you can gain additional insight. Will it be heavy on technical questions, or more geared toward cultural fit? Will you get probing questions with no real right answer, like “If you were a tree, what kind would you be?”
Prepare Your Responses to Common Questions
You don’t need to rehearse your answers to every question, but you should have a good idea of what examples and references you want to share that are the most applicable to the job you’re interviewing for and make you sound like a rock star employee. Think of bullet points you want to be sure to mention rather than entire canned responses. It is a great idea to have specific examples of past projects or successes in mind that you can work into the conversation.
Practice Power Postures
One secret to quickly boosting your confidence just before an interview is practicing power postures (sometimes called power poses). By purposefully putting yourself into positions psychologically associated with power, dominance, and confidence, you can make yourself feel those things even if you wouldn’t otherwise. It’s a lot like smiling to improve your mood. Confidence, attitude and mostly enthusiasm are much more important in hiring decisions than most people realize.
It might sound a little over the top, but you don’t need to do these poses in front of anyone to feel the effect. You just need to commit to the full pose and hold the posture of your choice for at least two minutes (and you can do it in a restroom or stairwell if you have to).
Figure Out Your Hook
Last but not least, know your hook. What is the #1 reason you’re a perfect fit for this position? What pivotal moment in your life set you on the path to becoming exactly the right person they’re looking for? Or think of it this way – each candidate for a position has a brand identity that the interviewer should conjure up when they think of you. What is your branding – Super technical talent? Great teammate? Industry guru? Consistent achiever?
If you can tell a brief story about how your experiences or background have created a passion for all things (fill in the blank, as related to the field you’re interviewing for), then you will have a hook. Using a “hook” not only makes you more memorable but also makes it sound like the position is more than a job to you, it’s a perfect fit.