Congrats! Your potential employer called you back and set up a time for a job interview. What should you do next? How can you prepare and reduce your anxiety at the same time?
Heading to a job interview is totally stressful. Whether you’re a student looking for a summer job, a recent grad trying to land your first “real job” or a mom returning to work for the first time after 10 years.
As a part of my day job, I help law students prepare cover letters and resumes for job applications. I also discuss interview tips and techniques. I’ve found that preparation and confidence can make a huge difference no matter who you’re meeting or where.
I hope these tips and hacks can help you feel comfortable and confident so you can ace your next interview.
15 Tips to Ace your Job Interview
- The basics: Make sure you find out the answers to these key questions
- Where are you meeting?
- What time is your appointment?
- Who are you meeting with?
- Once you find out where your interview is taking place, figure out the best way to get there including parking options. Determine how long it will take to get there and include any necessary time to find a parking spot and walk to the appointment. By figuring out all of these details ahead of time, you’ll reduce the amount of rushing and anxiety around the time of the appointment.
- Choose your outfit early on. Do you need to send anything to the dry cleaner or purchase anything to complete the outfit? Avoid the stress of not knowing what to wear by figuring this out far enough in advance.
- After you find out who you’ll be meeting with, study up on them. Can you find them on LinkedIn? Do they have social media accounts where they discuss work related issues? If you can’t find out about your interviewers, that’s ok. Check out the rest of the tips below.
- Do your research! In this article from Inc.com,the author discusses the importance of researching your chosen workplace. Check out the mission statement and structure of the organization. In addition to the different lines of work, locations and top of mind issues being faced in the workplace.
- To prepare for the interview questions, write out a list of your most recent job accomplishments and projects. Think about the results you’ve achieved, the teams you’ve been a part of or led and any related numbers/statistics that might be of interest.
- Study the job description and write out or think about ways your skills match the job description. You can use the list of accomplishments and projects set out above and then connect the dots between what you’ve already done and what is required in the new position.
- Draft answers to typically asked questions. Use all of the information you’ve already gathered and prepare answers to the most commonly asked interview questions. Some of these include:
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Why do you want this job?
- Why are you leaving your current employer?
- Draft a few questions to ask your interviewers. Try to make sure these are questions that the you can’t just find the answers to online. Otherwise, it might seem as though you didn’t do your research. Here are a couple of helpful ideas to start:
- What are your expectations of the individual who gets the position?
- Are there opportunities for growth at your organization?
- What are the day to day responsibilities of the position?
At the Interview
- Remember to smile, give a firm (but not too firm) handshake and use appropriate body language. Try your best not to fidget or play with your hair. Do your best to project confidence by maintaining eye contact with the interviewer, using good posture and not crossing your arms in front of your chest.
- Don’t speak negatively about your current or past employers. Many fields are small and people talk. You don’t want to be the person that says something inappropriate or negative about anyone else.
- Be kind to everyone. This is so important! Always treat others how you would want to be treated. During the summer of my first year of law school I was hired by a government agency. I remember my first day coming into the office and the receptionist introducing herself to me and telling me that I was the only candidate who was polite to her during the interview process. I’m not suggesting that you act politely just to get a job, but acting with grace and humility should be a part of your life in general.
- If you need time to think about an answer, take it. In my opinion it’s better to take a few seconds to respond than to give an answer that you’re unhappy with.
- Before you leave the job interview, ask about the next steps and the timing. That way you won’t be left wondering about when you may or may not hear from the employer.
- Do your best to send a thank you email to the people you met at the interview. It doesn’t need to be long or detailed. You can thank the individuals for the opportunity to meet with them and tell them that you look forward to hearing from them about the next steps.
If you’d like to see hear more about career development and strategies please let me know!