5 best strategies to ace that interview

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A job interview is something most of us want and dread at the same time. It is a step closer to the job that we want, which is why the pressure to do well can be so immense. We worry about what to say, how to act, what to wear, etc. For newcomers, the language barrier and unfamiliarity with the way interviews are conducted are additional concerns. The only way to overcome these is to prepare and plan ahead.

The following are tips on what you should do before, during and after your job interview:

  1. Prepare

    Learn as much as you can about the company and the position. Find information from the job ad, the organization’s website or through internet searches, the media, newsletters and trade journals, or from former employees (also try Glassdoor reviews). Draft thoughtful questions based on your research. This will come in handy later when it’s time for you to ask questions.

    Be ready to discuss your job history and experience. Most interviewers will ask behavioural or competency-based questions so you should remember concrete situations in your work life (see video below on the STAR method). Also practice answering usual questions such as “Tell me about yourself” or “Why should we hire you?” Read The most common job interview questions you should prepare for to help you practice.

    Interview techniques – STAR method, Jason Jordan

    Print a copy of your resume, cover letter and reference list a day before the interview. Bring relevant samples of your work, a notebook, and pen.

  2. Plan ahead

    Check the address and the amount of time it will take you to get to the interview venue. If appropriate, call the company a day before to confirm that you are coming for the interview. Prepare your clothes ahead of time. Dress professionally and make sure that you are prepared for the weather. It would be wise to bring your formal shoes and change at the venue’s restroom if you are wearing snow boots in winter; or pack a spare shirt if it will be a hot and humid day and you have to commute to get to the interview.

  3. Come on time

    Come at least 15-30 minutes early to have time to freshen up and compose yourself. When you get there, greet everyone politely to make a good impression. When it’s time for the interview, turn off your cellphone. Stand, greet the interviewer and offer a firm handshake. Remember to smile and make eye contact.

  4. Listen and respond honestly

    Pay attention to what the interviewer is saying. Mind your body language. Body language do’s and don’ts for a job interview will show you what kind of gestures will create a favorable impression.

    Provide focused, short and concise answers. Follow the STAR Method (Situation, Task, Action and Result) for answering questions. When it is your turn to ask, make it count. Show the interviewer that you are well-versed about the industry, company and the job. Read Questions you should ask in a job interview or watch this video from Seattle Pacific University to learn what type of questions you should ask.

  5. Thank the interviewer

    E-mail a “Thank You” note within 24 hours after the interview. This will make you memorable. The e-mail should convey your appreciation for the interviewer’s time and reiterate how enthusiastic you are about the opportunity. The article 7 tips for writing great emails will help you.

Keep in mind that you already have what it takes to do the job, that’s why they called you for the interview. Your preparation will give you confidence that will help you shine and stand out from the rest.
Article updated November 19, 2020.

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Community Resources

Watch 5 TED Talks to Watch before your Next Interview.

Need more sample behavioural questions and how to answer them? Watch the video below:

How to Answer behavioral interview questions using the STAR method (Top 10 behavioral questions), Don Georgevich

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