Acing an interview is both art and science. In order to give effective answers, you need to anticipate the information that interviewers want and figure out how to state it in a detailed, coherent way.
But you also have to master the informal, interpersonal aspects of the interview, interacting with your potential employer in a way that makes you seem trustworthy, interesting, and likable.
Only through careful preparation can you master both the formal skills and the informal ones, creating a positive, lasting impression.
The next time you land an interview for a promising job, follow these interview tips.
During a job interview, you need to anticipate likely questions.
Preparing for an interview begins with thinking of the questions that the employer is likely to ask, as well as what responses will answer them effectively.
While every interview is different, most involve questions like these.
When employers lead with the question, “Tell me about yourself.” they don’t want you to tell them about your hobbies.
Instead, they want to know about qualities you have that can’t be easily listed on a resume, but that nonetheless make you a valuable worker.
If you have a thirst for knowledge, a love for interpersonal interaction, or a knack for perceiving business opportunities in pop culture trends, this is the time to say it.
Employers who ask, “What are your strengths?” aren’t looking for a list of skills and talents; they can get that from your resume.
Instead, they want concrete examples of things you’ve done that display your strengths.
The standard tactic for answering interview questions about your weaknesses is to list “weaknesses” that will actually come across as strengths.
But employers are expecting this, so you have to be a little more subtle.
Consider telling the interviewer about real weaknesses and challenges that you have had, but emphasizing the ways you overcame those obstacles and improved as a professional.
This way, you can give a positive impression of yourself without seeming like you never think about your flaws.
Preparing for likely questions is all about building confidence.
The better an idea you have of what interviewers will ask and how you will respond, the quicker and more coherent your answers all be.
Next, make sure you research the company. Interviewers don’t want to know the value of your skills in a generic office environment; they’re interested in finding someone who can address their needs, specifically.
You are thus more likely to land the job if you research the company in depth before the interview.
Here are some of the most important details to brush up on.
First, look at the team members. To the degree possible given the information that is publicly available, find out who you will be working with.
Focus on members of the department you are likely to work in, as well as managers and specialists from other departments that you’ll have to interact with.
The more you know about potential coworkers, the easier it is to show employers you are a team player.
Next, look at company history. Learn about when the company was founded, how it rose to success, and who has played a major role in it over the years.
Not only will this help you figure out how you can contribute, but it gives you a sense of why this business is important.
You can thus show your interviewer that you are committed to what you will be doing.
Figure out what challenges the company is facing or is likely to face in the future that will prevent growth. Then determine the ways in which you can resolve these issues.
Armed with this information, you can present yourself as a solution to the firm’s most pressing problems, showing the interviewer that there is clear value in hiring you.
Knowledge is power, and the more you know about a company, the greater an impression you will leave during the interview.
Once you have assembled this information, you’ll be ready to practice in person.
Finally, find a friend, preferably someone with business experience, who will be willing to conduct a mock interview with you.
Ask them to pay close attention to your facial expressions, style of speech, and other factors that impact how you will come across to the real interviewer.
This will help you improve upon the qualitative factors that affect your likelihood of getting a job but cannot be mastered through simple research and memorization.1
Holding a practice interview also makes it easier for you to identify and fill gaps in your knowledge.
If you have trouble answering one of your friend’s questions or cannot elaborate on one of your own answers, you know what to brush up on before the real interview.
How do you prepare for job interviews? Discover your current level of self-confidence with this free assessment.
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