Job Interview Tips: How to Make a Great Impression You have your job interview scheduled—congratulations! Now it’s time to prepare, and we’ve got you covered. In this article you’ll learn: How to practice your answers to interview questions Prepare your own questions for employers Make a great first impression What to bring to the interview Tips on good manners and body language How to win them over with your authenticity and positivity Practice strong answers In the days before your job interview, set aside time to do the following: Research the company so you can go into your interview with a solid understanding of the requirements of the job and how your background makes you a great fit.  Read company reviews  to learn more about the company culture and what others are saying about this employer.  Related:  The Complete Guide to Researching a Company Prepare your answer to the common question: “Tell me about yourself, and why are you interested in this role with our company?”. The idea is to quickly communicate who you are and what value you will bring to the company and the role.  Related:  Interview Question: “Tell Me About Yourself Re-read the job description. You may want to print it out and begin underlining specific skills the employer is looking for. Think about examples from your past and current work that align with these requirements. Prepare to be asked about times in the past when you used a specific skill and to tell stories with a clear  S ituation,  T ask,  A ction and  R esult. Writing out a few examples before the interview can help you respond with good quality answers.  Related:  How to Use the STAR Interview Response Technique Practise! Actually practising your answers out loud is an incredibly effective way to prepare. Say them to yourself or ask a friend to help run through questions and answers. Ask your friend for feedback in your answers. You’ll find you gain confidence as you get used to saying the words. Prepare smart questions Interviews are a two-way street. Employers expect you to ask questions: they want to know that you’re thinking seriously about what it would be like to work there. Here are some questions you may want to consider asking your interviewers: “Can you explain some of the day-to-day responsibilities for this job?” “How would you describe the characteristics of someone who would succeed in this role?” “If I were in this position, how would my performance be measured? How often?” “What departments does this team work with regularly? How do these departments typically collaborate? What does that process look like?” “What are the challenges you’re currently facing in your role?” Related:  Top 16 Interview Questions and Answers Think about first impressions Dress for the job you want. If you’re speaking to a recruiter before the interview, you can ask them about the dress code in the workplace and choose your outfit accordingly. If you don’t have someone to ask,  research the company  to learn what’s appropriate. Don’t forget the little things. Shine your shoes, make sure your nails are clean and tidy, and check your clothes for holes, stains, pet hair and loose threads. Brush your teeth and use floss. Plan your schedule so that you can arrive 10–15 minutes early. Map out your route to the interview location so you can be sure to arrive on time. Consider doing a trial run. If you’re taking public transportation, identify a backup plan if there are delays or closures. Pro-tip:  When you arrive early, use the extra minutes to observe the workplace dynamics. What to bring to the interview Set aside time before your interview to get the following items together. At least five copies of your printed resume on clean paper. While the hiring manager has likely seen your resume, they may not have read every line. Or you might be speaking with someone new. In either case, you might want to highlight specific accomplishments on your copy that you can discuss. A pen and a small notebook. Prepare to take notes, but not on your smartphone or any other electronic device. Write information down so that you can refer to these details in your follow-up thank you notes. Maintain eye contact as much as possible. A written version of the prepared questions for your interviewers. A single bag for all your materials. It’s easy to mistake nervous for disorganised, so keep all your documents in a single, multi-use messenger bag or portfolio. Make sure that it’s professional and appropriate to the corporate culture as well as your own style. Remember good manners and body language Non-verbal communication can be just as important as anything you say in the interview. Use confident, accessible body language. Smile frequently. Make eye contact when you’re speaking. Sit or stand tall with your shoulders back. Before the interview, take a deep breath and exhale slowly. This will help you manage any feelings of anxiety and will encourage greater self-confidence. Treat every single person you encounter with respect. This includes people on the road and in the parking lot, security personnel and front desk staff. Treat everyone you don’t know as though they’re the hiring manager. Even if they aren’t, your potential employer might ask for their feedback. Nail the handshake. During a job interview, the hiring manager (or person in seniority) should extend their hand first to initiate the handshake. Stand, look the person in the eye and smile. A good handshake should be firm but not crush the other person’s fingers. Send personalised thank you notes to each interviewer. You may want to ask for the business card of each person you speak with during the interview process so that you can follow up individually with a separate thank you email—if they don’t have a business card, you could ask for their email address and make a note of it. If you interviewed in the morning, send your follow-up emails the same day. If you are interviewed in the afternoon, the next morning is fine. Make certain that each email is distinct from the others, using the notes you took during the conversations.  Related:  Follow-up Email Examples for After the Interview Be authentic, concise and upbeat Respond truthfully to the questions you’re asked. Tie your answers back to your skills and accomplishments by providing examples of solutions and results you’ve achieved. If you cannot immediately think of an appropriate answer, say “Let me think of the best example to share,” pause as you collect your thoughts and then respond. Keep your answers short and focused, making sure that you actually answer the question you’ve been asked. Your time with each interviewer is limited so be mindful of rambling. Let your interviewer lead the conversation. Don’t speak negatively about current and former employers or colleagues. Companies want to hire problem solvers who overcome tough situations. If you’re feeling discouraged about your current job, focus on talking about what you’ve gained from that experience and what you want to do next.
To ace your next interview, start here! Our guide to interviewing for a job can help you showcase your strengths and feel confident throughout the entire process. Preparing for an interview When you're a job seeker preparing for a job interview, it's crucial to research the company. Find out all you can about the company's ethos and mission, and supplement this with research on some of the corporation's most recent and high-profile projects. Consider the role you’re applying for and how this role might fit in with the overall structure of the company. If you can, create a list of examples of relevant projects you've completed, and be ready to explain how this company fits in with your values. Whenever it’s possible, make sure to research the person who will be interviewing you. Start by checking for information about the interviewer on the company website and look at their profile on LinkedIn. Doing a basic Google search could uncover even more information. Find out how long the interviewer has been in their current position and look up any previous jobs they have had. Study recent work your interviewer has completed; you may be able to integrate this knowledge into your interview responses at some point. Before the interview itself, ensure that you practice your answers to  frequently asked interview questions . For example, you'll want to be able to explain why you'd like to work at this company and how your experience would make you a suitable fit for the role. Practice answering questions about how you might handle possible work conflicts or disagreements between colleagues, and think about the skills you have that could be an asset to the company's existing team. If you are an employer who is conducting interviews, you should read cover letters and resumes from candidates first, and you may also wish to look them up online, including on LinkedIn and other social media sites. These steps will give you a picture of who the candidate is and help you understand more about the quality of their past work. If you decide that the candidate merits an interview, aim to familiarize yourself with the job position that they’d potentially fill. Know the necessary tasks and personal characteristics that are essential to the situation. Understand why the company is looking to hire a new employee for this position and be able to explain the starting salary, work schedule, duties, and job expectations to the candidate. Prepare interview questions that help you understand how the candidate would fit in with your existing team, and that will reveal their level of expertise. As part of your preparation, be aware of any  questions that are illegal  to ask in interviews. Common interview questions Some companies conduct phone interviews before selecting candidates for in-person interviews. As the job seeker on a phone interview, you will be asked for general information about yourself and your experience, and the interviewer will also check that you understand the open position. For example, they might start with, "Tell me about yourself." To respond to that well, you could list your credentials and discuss your current and previous employment. Focus on conveying your strengths and putting everything in a positive light. They could also ask, "Why do you want to work at our company?" A high-quality answer to this question will include details about the company that show you have researched it and understand the position you're interviewing for. A potential answer is that working at the new company is an extension of your current work, or you could say that you're looking for a new start or challenge, explaining how the fresh start at this company would stimulate you in your work. Answer this question in a warm, enthusiastic tone that conveys your passion for the target position. For entry-level positions, candidates often have limited work experience, and the interview gauges the level of responsibility the candidate could handle and whether they are open to learning from others. When applying for entry-level jobs, you might be asked, "What do you aim to learn as an employee here?" This question gives you an opportunity to explain both your strengths and your weaknesses. To answer it fully, highlight any credentials or previous work experience that you feel prepared you for this position, and ensure that you mention that you intend to increase your current skill level by learning from your prospective co-workers. To show your enthusiasm, you could mention that you'd like to take part in any on-the-job training activities that the company has available or that you're looking to improve your expertise in a particular software program through using it daily at this company. Interview questions for mid-level positions often include specific technical questions related to your field. Your answers to these questions can demonstrate your competence level. Interviewers for mid-level posts like to see that candidates have long-term career plans, and they also want to learn more about the applicant's working style. To start, the interviewer might ask, "Where do you see yourself in five years?" To answer thoughtfully, you could share your career goals for five years from now. For example, you hope to move up within the company or you see yourself transitioning into a slightly different role than the one to which you're applying. For C-level positions, interviewers want to make sure that you are an ideal fit with their existing team. In addition to questions about your experience, they might ask, "How would you describe your leadership style?" Be as specific as possible when answering this question. You could incorporate examples of how you led previous projects or supervised team members at your current or former company, and you can explain how you helped with mediation between staff members. You could include examples of ways that you mentored junior colleagues or effectively steered group projects to a successful finish. Tips for interviews Arriving prepared for your interview makes a positive first impression. Bring at least three copies of your current resume. Both the employer and job seeker should practice interview questions in advance. You'll want to rehearse general questions and technical questions that are specific to your field. It can help to do mock interviews with people you trust, and alternating roles between candidate and interviewer could enhance your creativity and critical thinking, enabling you to come up with additional questions and answers to practice. If you know people who have interviewed at the company where you're applying, consider asking them about the types of questions asked in their interview. When you’re choosing what to wear to an interview, opt for something conservative and polished. Even if the dress code at your potential new workplace is business casual, you should choose a formal business look for the interview to make the best first impression. Although you might feel nervous during the interview, take time to space your words out and enunciate well. People often speak much faster in interviews than they realize, so aim to speak at a rate that feels a bit slow at the moment, and you'll probably achieve an ideal pace. Attending a few professional coaching sessions could help you optimize your speaking skills before the interview. Anticipating interview curveballs can help you avoid potential stumbling blocks and perform at your best under pressure. To identify possible curveballs, take an honest look at your resume. If there are gaps in your employment history or you've changed jobs frequently, prepare an explanation for questions about that. For example, you could say that you took time off to care for an ill relative. SimplyHired and similar websites have  lists of scenarios  that you can use for your mock interviews so you're not caught off guard during the real thing. In addition to preparing answers to potential interview questions, always prepare some questions of your own to ask the interviewer. You can ask about the daily responsibilities you'd have in the position and what the company would expect from you in the first month or two at the job. You could also ask about the overall company culture and the company's goals for the next few years. Asking questions helps demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job, and it also highlights the effort you've put into researching the position. Tips for video and phone interviews Major companies often conduct the first few  interview rounds by video  or phone. Since connection problems could cause a slight lag in speech, it's particularly important to speak as clearly as possible during these interviews. Make sure to check your microphone placement and volume levels in advance of a video interview to make sure that those are set correctly. Check your camera's view of the background before the interview, and make sure that your backdrop is free of clutter and distracting items. Consider doing the video interview while seated against a solid-colored background, such as a wall. If you don't have time to completely clear away clutter, placing a privacy screen directly behind you is an effective solution. If you're doing the video interview at home, ensure that your phone is turned off, and consider covering your doorbell or placing a sign on the door so that neighbors or delivery services don't knock and disturb your interview.
#1 Why Should I Hire You? You might think you are prepared to answer this one but the truth is, you are not! Don’t say how awesome you are or how you have superpowers. This question is secretly about the job description. All you need to do is a tie in the job description. (DO YOUR HOMEWORK) with your actual skills and knowledge that make it critical for you to be chosen. Use experiences from college, internships or past jobs to show how these skills were critical in your tasks back then. They should hire you because you can do that particular job not because you are great as an overall employee. Show your uniqueness.   #2: I am seeing a gap in your resume It is not a secret if you got fired or couldn’t find a suitable job after you quit the last one. Unemployment exists and your recruiter knows about it. Be honest, say you spent that time productively caring for your family, reading, taking online courses nor even working freelance. They don’t care about actual employment records, no one wants to hire someone who just spent their unemployed time on the couch in front of the TV in their Pajamas.   #3: Tell Me About Yourself Weekend activities don’t count here, you can’t really be irrelevant or boring when talking about yourself. You have these four areas to cover: Early years (pass by them quickly) then go to education then internship/employment history and then go to your most recent job and focus there. This question usually comes up in the beginning in the form of an introduction. So make it quick, direct and very much short.   #4: Why Did you Leave Your Last Job? Whatever you say, don’t talk badly about your former boss, manager or coworkers. It is not for fear of them knowing, it is because, that even if they were THAT horrible, it shows you take things too personally and have a hard time letting go. It also shows you didn’t really face your problems in the first job but basically chose the easy way out which is quitting. Need a better answer to this question?   #5: Have you ever had a conflict with a boss? Don’t say no. We have all had conflicts with bosses/managers. Just say “I remember one or two conflicts. Nothing big. We had disagreements and I always worked hard to not take it personally and worked on listening to the other person’s point of view and try to find mutual ground for the benefit of the company. It is not about who wins a fight.”   #6: What is your greatest weakness? Please don’t say binge-watching soap operas. That is not the point behind this question. You will find people advising you to take one point of strength in your character and saying it is a weakness. Also wrong because it shows you are deceiving the interviewer. Instead, say something like “I have had trouble in the past with planning and punctuality. However, I’m now working on fixing this with this new app that makes sure I never miss an appointment and arrive on time.” Then show them the actual app on your phone. You are human, you make mistakes and you have weaknesses. The interviewer knows that. He/She will appreciate it when you talk about a true weakness and show what you are doing to overcome it.   #7: You moved between three jobs in a year. Why should I hire you? “Well, I may have left three jobs in a year. But I would rather not be employed than be employed at a place where I don’t have room to grow, show my ideas and create some real change and take a company to the next level. The worst thing at a job is the part of knowing you are not going anywhere or worse, you are not taking the company anywhere. I know my path and I feel my position here will really help me take this company to the next level.” Then start talking some brilliant ideas for that department. See how you took a very negative question into a very positive place?   #8: What are your strengths? Be accurate. Choose the strengths that you actually possess. Don’t pick an answer that worked for a friend or a family member. Be original. Be Relevant, Use the job description advertised to work for you. Be specific. Don’t say “people skills” but say “persuasive communication.” And Be prepared to demonstrate.   #9: Why do you want this job? Very simply. Study the job description beforehand, then show how your skills match; Show your enthusiasm for the job and try to show how you would fit into the workplace culture.   #10: What attracted you to this company? Again and again, do your homework about the company before the interview. Use your information about the company to create phrases about why it is attractive to you. Don’t also forget to tie it in with the industry the company is within. Admire the products and services or a company’s marketing effort for an example. Just show you know the company. Saying it is close to where you live is not a good reason to want a vacancy.   #11: When were you most satisfied with your job? A simple example: “I worked hard to become a marketer and I enjoy putting those skills to work”. It is not about salary, benefits or things to expect from the company. It is about you showing where you shine.   #12: What can you do for us that other candidates can’t? Try humor. Saying something funny like “Can I interview them first and tell you?” shows you are quick to handle a tough situation and you can think creatively. That is not the answer of course after the laughter say something nice and don‘t trash talk the other candidates. Say something unique about yourself.   #13: What were the responsibilities of your last position? Don’t lie. They can get the real answer from your previous employer. Be clear, short and focus on your unique skills and tasks.   #14: Why are you leaving your present job? Don’t say entitled things like “too far”, “the salary is small” or “my boss hates me”. Instead, say you don’t really see your career evolving there and you would rather transfer to a company where you can grow and evolve.   #15: Do you have any questions for me? Rule number one here is to always ask a question. Ask about the company and the challenges you may expect at your job. Maybe there is a special project he/she mentioned, ask about that too. It shows you were listening while he/she was talking.
Tips for answering interview questions . I am just going to share just 3 tips on answering interview questions. 1. when asked what your reason for leaving is, obviously you cannot bad mouth your current employer but with that being said, PLEASE DO NOT answer with "growth", don't even put that on your CV hoping to elaborate in an interview. Rather say "my company is a small company and career growth opportunities are very limited therefore I would like to join a company that would have a career growth succession plan for the right candidate as I am aiming for (whatever you are aiming for) in my career plan." don't just answer "growth", what does that even mean? or if the reason is different to "growth" you are welcome to contact me and say so, I have an interview with a certain company and tell me your honest reason for wanting a job change I will try and help you construct a better way to phrase your reason for leaving. 2. When asked what are your weaknesses? Try to turn your weakness onto something that someone will view as a positive, do not give an actual weakness. e.g. "My weakness is i am very particular with how things should be done therefore sometimes i find myself doing a task that i should be delegating to an employee because I do not trust they will do it the way I want it being done however i am working on this and have learned to trust the people that I work with that they will deliver accordingly because at the end of the day we are all working towards achieving the same goal"... see that weakens portrays that you still goal-orientated, shows that you are not lazy, however, it is still a weakness when you are employed to be in a position to delegate but you still do things yourself. 3. Tell us about yourself: now this question  # sigh , the interview is not looking to hear about your life story, they do not know you at this point so they just want to know what are you bringing to the table. Tell them how your career has escalated from the ground up and what did you do to achieve that. Show them through a "myself" that if they do not employ you its practically their loss because you are actually a solution, not just another employee they are looking for. Lastly (but not least), be in it to win it. good luck on your next interview, go there, impress, wearing your biggest smile and confidence and make a statement.