How to Ace your Next Job Interview
Job interviews can be scary. The thoughts of the unknown are what scare us the most. What if I get asked a question I don’t know how to answer? What if my answers aren’t as strong as other candidates? What if my background isn’t good enough for what they’re looking for?
In this article, we’ll answer these questions and more. No matter your reason for interviewing, you can use these tips to help you land the job of your dreams (and get a stronger offer too!). Keep reading to learn how to ace your next job interview!
Do Your Research
The first part of acing your next job interview is doing your research. You should know things like what the business does, a brief understanding of the companies history, team members you could potentially be working alongside, and any other helpful information you can find.
Research Your Interviewer
It’s always a good idea to research the person that will be interviewing you. If you do not know who will be interviewing you, it’s a good idea to reach out to either your recruiter or Human Resources at the company to get this information.
If the interview includes multiple people, try researching each one individually. This can help you to understand what is most important to each person. You can then tailor your answers to each person, giving you the upper hand against other candidates.
Once you have the interviewer’s name, try researching them on LinkedIn to find their job history and education. You can also look at some of the posts they have engaged with to get a better understanding of them as a colleague.
If you notice that they frequently interact with posts about leadership, you’ll know that it could be a big selling point to visit during your interview. If you notice that they frequently post about how continuous education helps their job performance, you could mention how you have an insatiable appetite for learning new skills.
It’s important to research who is interviewing you and to use this knowledge as a tool for persuasion when providing your answers.
Research Possible Coworkers
Tools like LinkedIn make it very easy to find potential coworkers. Typically you’ll find similar connections and will be able to tell based on their job title if they could be one of your coworkers. Similarly to the previous step, research these people to understand what qualities they have and how you could relate to them.
Research the Company
Knowing the companies history can take you far in an interview. You can use the information about the company to tailor your responses in a way that makes you stand out among others.
You should know the main business objectives (how they make money), what kind of business they are, and the company values or mission statement. This can help you answer questions in a way that relates to their business objectives.
Prepare for Common Interview Questions
There are thousands of potential interview questions, but there are usually a few key ones that always get brought up. You need to prepare for how you will answer these questions. While you can’t prepare for every question, prepping for the basics can go a long way.
Question: “Tell me about yourself.”
Answer: The best way to answer this question is to identify key skills that are relevant to the job and find a way to work them into your answer. For example, if you are applying for a job in marketing you might want to answer the question with information pertaining to your passion and experience in marketing.
Many people will take this question as the time to go through their resume. And while you can certainly work some of that information in, this isn’t necessarily the time to go through your resume piece by piece. Some information you could consider mentioning is your education and any skills you have acquired throughout your career.
Some interviewers will ask you to include information about your life outside of work. The key here is to be honest, but smart. Don’t include any information that could harm your qualifications. If you’re applying to be a grade school teacher, you shouldn’t bring up how you like to drink on the weekends or travel to gets away from children. Your answer should instead include information about how you like to help teach others or interact with people.
Question: “Why are you leaving your current job?”
Answer: This question can be difficult to answer. Whatever your reason for leaving your current job is, you shouldn’t show signs of spite or negativity.
If you are looking for a position with better pay, you could mention that you are looking for a career with more growth. You should never mention “I want more money” as it will quickly move you to the bottom of the pile.
Another great answer to this question is to mention that you would like a more challenging position. This will show the interviewer that you are eager to learn and be challenged, which is something every company desires.
Question: “What is your biggest weakness?”
Answer: This might one of the most hated interview questions. You need to make yourself look strong while also showing a “weakness”. There are many no-nos for this question. Never mention things like “I have a hard time staying organized” or “I don’t react to change well.” Instead, try to mention something that is less important to the job and that you are working to improve that weakness.
A good answer could be something like, “My biggest weakness is that I dislike spontaneity. I like to be well prepared for upcoming projects and initiatives. Recently, however, I’ve begun to embrace it as it has helped me think more creatively. ” This answer shows that you have a weakness, it might not be extremely relevant to the position, and you’ve worked to address your weakness.
Another major wrong answer to this question is, “I don’t have any weaknesses!” This will instantly throw up red flags to the interviewer. If you can’t think of any weaknesses right off the bat, come up with one that isn’t directly related to the job.
Other wrong answers:
- I work too much
- I have a hard time working with certain people
- I am not a good communicator
Question: “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
Answer: This question is trying to gauge both your ambition and your realism. By answering this question too ambitiously, you might be looked at as overconfident. Answer it too conservatively and your interviewer may not think you are capable of advancing in your position.
A good answer should include information relevant to the position that shows growth. For example, you could say “In 5 years, I see myself working in a leadership role where I can help others develop their skills while continuing to meet long and short term business goals.” This answer shows that you want to become a leader and help the company grow.
Question: “Why should we hire you?”
Answer: This question is considered “easier” than some of the others. Essentially, you’ll need to summarize the benefits that you can provide the company, your prior experience that can validate your capabilities, and any other relevant information. It is also a good idea to mention how you will achieve the duties of the position and overall business goals.
A great answer to this question should include at least three benefits that you can provide as well as your skills or qualities that are critical to the position.
Ask the Interviewer Questions
Want a sure way to get denied a job? It’s pretty simple, don’t ask any questions in the interview. Your interviewer expects you to ask questions related to the position, the company, the culture, and more. Asking good questions can help set yourself apart from many other candidates.
If your interview contains multiple people, be sure to divide your questions up so there isn’t only one person answering questions.
The Best Questions to Ask in an Interview
What do you think are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this position?
By asking this question, the interviewer will have to respond with some qualities that are important to him or her. You can then follow up on their answer with examples of how those qualities are shown in your previous experiences.
What are the biggest opportunities and difficulties that the company and this department face currently?
This question will require the interviewer to discuss both the positives and negatives that the company and the department face at the moment. You can use this information to explain how you were able to help your previous company throughout a similar opportunity or difficulty.
What is the company culture like?
This question can show red flags if the company has a negative culture. This question is more for your own knowledge to help you determine if you’re still interested in the job.
How do you see this position evolving in the future?
In this question, you want to look for opportunities for growth in the company. A good answer will show that there is ample opportunity for you to grow and develop your career.
What is the salary range for this position?
This question will help you gauge whether or not you will continue through the interview process. If the amount the company is offering is below what you’re looking for you could follow up by asking “Is there any room for movement in the salary range?”. If not, continue through the interview and follow up by email stating that the salary range will not work for you.
What are the next steps in the interview process?
This question will help show that you are still interested in the position and it will also provide you with the necessary information for the next steps. This question should be one of the last questions you ask.
Get to your interview ahead of time
Getting to your interview on time is a critical step in landing your next job. Being late to an interview shows that it’s likely to happen again. We recommend getting to your interview 15 to 30 minutes ahead of time in case of traffic. This will also allow you to
If you’re new to the area, map out the location of your interview so you know the best way to get there. It might be wise to drive to the location a couple of days before to get a good idea of how long it might take and the parking situation.
One thing many interviewers are looking for is confidence. And while many people think this is a personality trait, you can easily learn to be more confident for your interview.
Practice your Answers
Practicing your answers ahead of time will help to build your confidence and lower some of the stress that comes with an interview. Try saying your answers out loud, just as you would during a normal interview. There is even computer software that you can get to help you practice for your next interview.
Know your worth
One of the top reasons people stress over interviews is because they are desperate to get out of their current job or financially need the position. By shifting your mindset into thinking that you are the best person for the job, the stress will be alleviated. Try to think of how much the company needs you, rather than how much you need the position. This mindset will help you to display confidence and ultimately land you the job of your dreams.
Thank everyone involved
Before you leave your interview, thank everyone involved for their time and state that you look forward to hearing back from them. Once the interview is completed, you should send either a handwritten letter or email thanking them again and including one last reason they should hire you. You should always include information that was discussed during the interview in your thank you letter.
Interviews can be stressful, awkward, and just downright not fun. There are many ways you can alleviate some of these feelings to help you to land your next job. By researching the company, your interviewer, and possible coworkers, you can use this information to help you stand out against other candidates. Know what is important to them and the company beforehand so that you can tailor your answers to what speaks to them. During the interview be sure to ask the interviewer a mix of questions that are both engaging and useful for yourself. You can follow up on these questions showcasing your previous experiences and how you can help the company achieve its goals.
By keeping an open mind and knowing your worth, you can lower your stress knowing that the company needs you just as much as you need them.
Not ready to start browsing the job boards just yet? Read our article on how to ask for a raise to boost your income at your current position!