Job interviews can be tough.
If you want to stand a chance of landing the job, you’ve got to be well-versed on the industry, company, and command a deep understanding of the value you’re bringing to the table for your potential new employer.
Throughout my career in content marketing, I’ve spent countless hours researching companies, reading reviews, and asking for tips from current employees before walking into an interview for a dream job.
Despite all the preparation I put into my job interviews, I’ve still had a handful where I left wondering how I could possibly have done any worse. From making no-brainer people skills blunders, to conveying insecure body language, we all know how easy it can be to slip up on a great first impression.
Now that I’ve had the opportunity to regularly interview new marketers here at CreativeLive, I’m able to very quickly assess whether or not someone will be a great fit for the job.
Based on my experience from both sides of the interview table, here are my 16 best job interview tips to help you ace your job search land your next dream job.
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Here’s are the best interviewing tips for pulling off interview success.
Before the Interview Tips
1. Research the company
Did you know that 47% of hiring managers have eliminated candidates after an interview because they had little to no knowledge of the company? Nearly half of professionals are going into interviews without having a well-formed understanding of the company and what they do. Beyond reading the job description, take the extra time to do your homework on your potential employer. Read their website, blog, social media channels, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and be sure to check out their competitors and make a mental list of what differentiates them in their industry.
2. Find out who you’re interviewing with
With 43% of hiring managers reporting that cultural fit is the single most influential factor in determining which candidate gets the job, how you come across in your job interview is a big deal. Based on your research and email conversations ahead of time, be sure you have as clear an idea as possible of how well you’re going to relate with the people you’re interviewing with, and prepare accordingly.
3. Prepare creative, insightful interview questions and craft your personal story
Sure, some of the common interview questions like, “Where do you see the company in 5 years?” can be useful in some cases, but make sure that the act of asking them doesn’t compromise your own credibility. Depending upon your potential role in the company, the person interviewing you likely doesn’t want to hear you asking about what the day-to-day activities will be – they want to hire an expert in your field, so act like one. Be sure to refresh your memory on your most relevant recent experience and craft an engaging story that effectively communicates your employment journey. Focus on how your experience will benefit your potential new employer.
During the Actual Interview Tips
Here’s an insightful statistic: over 33% of hiring managers say they know within the first 90 seconds of an interview if they’ll make a job offer to the candidate. That makes your interview prep even more important.
4. Dress code
Should I wear a suit or play it more casual? The real answer is, it depends on the job you’re interviewing for. If you’re not dressed for the job you want, you’re not doing yourself any favors. A whopping 70% of hiring managers say they’ve eliminated candidates after an interview because they were too fashionable or trendy. Don’t be afraid to ask how you should dress ahead of your interview.
5. Bring 2 extra copies of your resume to the interview location
This sounds like a no-brainer, but I’m surprised at how many people show up to an interview without any copies of their resume – leaving it to chance that the person you’re meeting with was given a copy, or had the chance to research you beforehand. Plan for the need to have a resume for every person you’re meeting with and you’ll never be caught off guard.
6. Perfect a firm handshake
26% of hiring managers say they’ve eliminated candidates after an interview because their handshake was weak. Mastering the art of the perfect handshake is required homework before heading into an interview.
7. Turn your cell phone off and arrive 5-10 minutes early
It may seem like overkill with all of the options we have for silencing ringers and putting your phone on vibrate without actually turning the device off, but there’s another reason you need to turn your phone off before an interview: so you won’t be tempted to check it. You’re at an interview for one purpose, and one purpose only: to land your dream job. Don’t allow any distractions to creep in.
Naturally, you don’t want to arrive late to an interview. If you’re running late, call ahead and be honest as to what’s setting you back. Aim for showing up 5-10 minutes early, as anything earlier can really throw a wrench into a busy person’s schedule if they feel that they need to accommodate your early arrival.
8. Use good posture.
33% of hiring managers say they’ve eliminated candidates after an interview because of bad posture. As you’re waiting in the lobby, standing, and walking around the office, be mindful of how your posture looks to the people around you. Are you slouching, or confidently arching your back? Take a launch stance while standing, and keep your back arched while sitting down for the conversation.
9. Use the triple nod when listening
38% of hiring managers say they’ve eliminated candidates after an interview because of a lack of smiling and engagement during the conversation. With employers consistently citing having a positive attitude as one of the most important factors in choosing to hire one candidate over another, showing that you’re upbeat and engaged while listening to your interviewer will go a long way in showing off your stellar people skills.
10. Hand gestures while speaking
Utilizing a healthy amount of hand gestures to illustrate your points will significantly help reinforce your communication skills and show them your confidence in what you’re saying.
11. Maintain eye contact
67% of hiring managers say they’ve eliminated candidates after an interview because they failed to make eye contact. This is a big one for me, too. I have a difficult time trusting someone who’s constantly looking down or around the room, instead of confidently communicating with me. According to many studies, people who have strong eye contact are perceived as being more persuasive, a necessary skill that every company places value on.
12. Get the email address for everyone you speak with
If you’re unsure about the company-wide email naming convention, then be sure to ask each person you interview with, for the best email address to reach them at. This will come in handy after the interview for thank you notes.
13. Ask when to expect a decision and who to follow up with
If you’re interviewing with multiple people, be sure to ask the hiring manager (or last person you interview with) when you can expect to hear back on next steps. There’s nothing worse than leaving an interview being left in the dark about when the company is looking to make a final decision. If you’re paying close attention, how they respond will also tell you a lot about how they felt the job interview went.
14. If you want the job, say so
Don’t allow there to be any ambiguity about whether or not you actually want the job. If by the end of your job interview, you’re still feeling excited about the opportunity and want to move forward with the company, you need to say it! Never leave anything up to chance with the interview process.
After the Interview Tips
15. Send a follow up thank you email
Before you go to bed on the date you had your interviews, be sure to send a brief, personalized thank you email to everyone you met with earlier in the day. Make sure to mention a small personal detail, mutual interest, or topic point you discussed with each person, and it’ll solidify a great first impression in their minds. Bonus points for sending a handwritten thank you note, which has become a much-appreciated lost courtesy.
16. Follow up if you don’t hear back soon (1 Week)
If you don’t hear back within 4-5 business days of your interview, it’s completely acceptable to follow up with either the person who’s been your point of contact throughout the interview process, or the hiring manager for the position. Keep the follow up very short and seek to provide value, rather than coming across as pushy or nudging them toward making a decision.