How to Ace Your Job Interview and Get the Job

Don’t panic! Whether you’re far along in your career or looking to land that first job, here’s what to keep in mind before, during and after your meeting.

Before You Go:

Information Overload 

A simple way to show your smarts and get ahead of the competition is to do some research before the interview. Scour the company’s website, blogs and social media accounts for a good overview of the organization. Then dig deep to discover everything from the company’s general mission statement to any mentions in the current news. Sprinkle your conversation with what you’ve learned to show you’ve prepared. 

Looking Good

Like it or not, studies show that job candidates have just seven seconds to make a great first impression — and that precious but limited time can make or break an interview. Consider everything from selecting appropriate clothing that best reflects a company’s culture right down to making sure you smile, maintain eye contact and have fresh breath. Practice a firm, quick handshake with friends — and use their feedback.

Conversation Starters

Practice answering some of the most common interview questions in advance, such as salary requirements, major strengths and weaknesses, and the dreaded “Tell me more about yourself.” And always make sure you have smart and informed questions for the interviewer when the opportunity inevitably arises. Even if the interviewer has answered your questions before you ask, consider a follow-up or ask for clarification.

Details, Details

Don’t forget about those little details that, if not considered, could result in a lost job opportunity. For example, check in for an interview five to 10 minutes before it’s scheduled; arriving late is a guaranteed way to lose major points. And always print extra copies of your résumé to have handy in case your interviewer forgets one or you score an impromptu meeting with additional higher-ups. 

During The Interview:

Mirror, Mirror

Mimicking an interviewer’s body language is an effective and not-so-obvious strategy for winning him or her over. The reason is that we tend to view those who reflect our body language — such as sitting toward the edge of a seat or leaning in while talking — as being on the same page in opinion and outlook.

Make Connections

While talking with a prospective new boss, try to discover a way to bond in order to set yourself apart from all the other candidates. The same alma mater, the love of a similar hobby, or a shared favorite aspect of a particular job are just some commonalities that you can play up. 

Story Time 

Rather than just listing a series of attributes that make you a good fit for a job, have a few anecdotes from current or past roles at the ready that you can share to demonstrate how you optimized your skill set in a way that is relevant to the position you’re hoping to fill. “Here’s how I solved that problem in my last position…” sounds a lot more persuasive than “I’m a problem solver.”

It’s a Wrap

When closing the conversation, always ask about next steps, to get a clearer idea of when final decisions will be made and other important variables. This is your chance to find out if you’ll be stressing about landing the gig for days, weeks or longer, as well as if there are additional interviews to schedule. Restate your interest in the position.

After It’s Over:

Show Some Gratitude

A thank-you note, which should be sent via email or snail mail immediately following an interview, is more than just a chance to express gratitude for the meeting. It’s also the right time to succinctly sum up your excitement for the gig and, in a line or two, emphasize why you are the right person to hire. 

Hurry Up & Wait

Waiting to hear if you got the job can be excruciating. If the anticipated call doesn’t come as quickly as expected, after one or two weeks, send a short follow-up email to reiterate your interest in the position and to inquire about developments. However, if you don’t hear back after that, it’s best to move on and continue the search.