How to Ace Your Next Interview
By: Christian Gordun
Congratulations! You’ve finally landed an interview for your dream job. But interviewing can be stressful and anxiety producing, especially if you’re not prepared, so we’ve created a short guide with practical steps to help you outshine the competition.
Do Your Research
This may sound obvious, but it’s important to have a solid understanding of who the employer is and what they do before you get to the interview. Conduct some online research about the company to find out what their history is, who their clients are and a list of their most recent achievements. This knowledge will exhibit a genuine interest in the company, professionalism and research skills.
Dress to Impress
Your appearance is the first thing an interviewer will notice, so it’s important to look polished and professional. In most cases, stick with business or business casual attire, a suit or slacks with a pressed button down shirt (and a tie for men). Technology companies and start-ups tend to operate with a more casual dress code, so opt for a clean pair of khakis or smart jeans and a nice top (a button down shirt for men).
Practice Makes Perfect
Tap a friend or relative to have them do a mock interview with you (and if you can’t find a buddy, practice rehearsing your answers in the mirror). It may feel silly but, during the real thing, you’ll feel a lot more prepared. Also, visualization can be an effective tool for performance anxiety. Sit down with your eyes closed and rehearse in your mind exactly how the interview will go, from getting into the elevator to shaking hands with your interviewer. Here is a list of commonly asked interview questions.
The interview is your time to shine, and because no one else will do it for you, it’s important to talk up your professional accomplishments. Make sure to effectively communicate your relevant experience, emphasizing the ways in which you will use the skills you’ve acquired at your previous employer(s) to benefit the company you’re interviewing for. You don’t want to come across as self-important or arrogant, but confidence is key.
Be Prepared to Ask Questions
At the end of every interview, your potential employer will ask if you have any questions. This is your opportunity to identify whether or not the company would be a good fit for you, so it’s important to inquire about working environment, company goals and responsibilities such as: “What are the prospects for job growth and advancement?” or “What is the company’s management style?” Here is a list of questions to avoid.
Show Your Thanks
Always, always, always send a thank you note to your interviewer as soon as possible, but at least within 24 hours of the interview. Email is a perfectly acceptable way to send your sentiments, but, in our age of digital communication, a handwritten note adds a personal touch. Sending a thank you note shows etiquette and a professional demeanor, and reinforces your interest in the position. It is also a good forum to bring up anything you forgot to mention in the interview.