Preparing for a job interview can be quite cumbersome – researching the company, the industry (if it’s a new industry for you), studying the job description, etc. It is a lot of work and can take up a lot of time! Hence the saying searching for a job is a full-time job! This blog post won’t take you through how to prepare for a job interview – we will however look at some other “random” tips. These tips are more of a random list of do’s and don’ts that will help you have a successful job interview. A list of things that you may not consider when preparing for your interview as they are more based on job interview etiquette. These 10 job interview tips will help you be more successful in ANY job interview that you have.
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In saying that, here are some great blog posts that will help you prepare for job interviews:
- Ace Your Next Job Interview by Mastering Interview Methods Being Used by Hiring Managers and Recruiters
- 5 Things You Need to Do Before A Video Call Job Interview
- When Interviews Go Wrong
- Questions That You Should Avoid Asking a Potential Employer in a Job Interview
Alright, let’s get started!
10 Tips for a Successful Job Interview
1. Smile throughout your job interview
Whether your job interview is over the phone, video call, or in-person – don’t forget to smile. Smiling through your interview will lead to you feeling happier and more confident but it will also leave the interviewer feeling the warmth of that smile. I am not talking about a fake or sleazy smile – but a genuine one. One that shows you are happy and grateful to have the chance to interview for the position you have applied for. People who smile through their interviews tend to leave the impression that they are more enjoyable to work with than those that don’t!
2. Dress appropriately
When trying to decide what you should wear for an interview, always air on the side of being overdressed. Leave the yoga pants for the gym, and the ripped jeans for a club – buy one suit if you don’t already have one and use it for all your interviews. If you are struggling financially to buy a suit, ask a friend (who is the same size) if you can borrow one or hit up your local thrift store to buy a second-hand outfit. And don’t forget to iron your clothes! If your interview is an online video call, take a look at this post for tips on dressing for an online job interview.
3. Be prompt
Be prompt in any correspondence you have with HR reps, recruiters, or hiring managers. Delayed responses demonstrate poor follow-up skills.
4. Manners matter
Practice good manners – this should be how you live your life in general but more so with a potential employer. Especially the receptionist! Personally, if I have ever had a strange first impression about a candidate that I couldn’t put my finger on, I have gone and asked the receptionist what kind of a first impression the candidate made when they came in.
Remember to say please and thank you where appropriate – doors being opened, being offered a coffee, and always thank the interviewer for taking the time to interview you (at the end of it and send a follow-up thank you email afterward).
5. Remember a job interview is a conversation
Don’t open your computer while completing a phone screen and google answers as an interviewer is asking you them – they can hear the keyboard on the other end. YES…people do this! ALL.THE.TIME! Be genuine, authentic, and honest. Remember, this is a conversation.
6. Don’t over talk and overtake the job interview
When an interviewer asks you a question, answer the question at hand. Be specific and concise demonstrate your verbal communication and listening skills. Take a look at this blog post, where I go through mastering interview methods used by hiring managers and recruiters. This post will explain why demonstrating your listening and communication skills can be vital in a job interview. When job candidates aren’t concise in their answers, or when they aren’t listening to the question being asked (they don’t know how to answer the question) they can tend to talk themselves in circles and often “over talk”. In other words, you have said or shared too much and haven’t really answered the question at hand.
Leave it to the interviewer to guide the way of the job interview. Avoid trying to take control of the job interview and remember the importance of listening skills. If you have questions, that are not relevant to the immediate conversation (that happen naturally), wait until the end to ask them.
7. Don’t get caught being a rapid resume firer
Okay, so you are probably wondering what a rapid resume firer is…
Either candidates who apply to every job that they think they might be qualified for, or several jobs within the same company. What happens when you rapidly just start applying to any and every job?
Well, if it’s within one company, a recruiter or HR representative may think that you are a jack of all trades, but a master of none. Or, if you apply to every job out there and can’t remember what jobs and at what companies you have applied to, a recruiter will be slightly turned off if they call you for an impromptu telephone interview (also called a phone screen) only to find out you are a rapid resume firer and can’t remember what jobs you have applied for. Know exactly what jobs you have applied for and the reasons why you have applied for them in the first place. A common phone screen interview question that a recruiter or HR rep will ask is “why did you apply for this position”. When an applicant responds with… “sorry, what company are you calling from?”… or “what position was it that I applied for at your company?”, it looks B.A.D.
Download this Job Application Tracking Spreadsheet to organize your job search and prepare yourself for phone screens – so you don’t get caught being a rapid resume firer.
8. Display confidence, but don’t be cocky!
Being confident and effectively demonstrating your knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the job successfully should you be hired is very important. But, there is a way to do this tactfully without coming across as arrogant. Being arrogant will only decrease your chances of landing the job. So yes, be confident, but never cocky!
I have read some interview advice out there telling job seekers that it is okay to be a diva. I will tell you it will only put a red flag above your head. You can be confident while remaining humble.
9. Don’t ask questions about other job applicants or the size of the applicant pool
Although it can be sooo tempting to know how many other candidates there are interviewing for the job, it is never okay to ask! It’s also never okay to ask about the quality of the other candidates in the applicant pool. Or, the names of the other candidates who have applied and are going through the interview process – this is something that is actually quite common when people interview for an internal job posting (in other words they already work for the company and are looking for a job change within the same company).
10. Always arrive early
Plan to show up for your interview 10-15 minutes early to check-in at reception or in the lobby. This shouldn’t be your “if I get stuck in traffic” buffer. Arrive 10-15 minutes early. Ensure you also allow for a buffer in the event you get stuck in traffic, lost, or public transit causes you issues. I know several hiring managers who will immediately disregard a job candidate if they show up late for a job interview.
Since most organizations have moved to video call job interviews (due to Covid), be sure to log in to the call 5 minutes early to wait for the interviewer (unless they direct you otherwise).
That wraps up my list of 10 interview quick tips that will help you ensure you successfully master the etiquette portion of a job interview.
If you find that you are not able to even secure job interviews or telephone screens after sending out job applications – you may need to look at updating and targeting your resume to the jobs you are applying for. I have carefully crafted this resume and cover letter template + writing guide to help you master the art of resume writing.