Career Guidance

How to Ace the Interview

First impression is everything and employers are seeking candidates who are confident, assertive, and passionate about their career choice. They will use the interview to see if you’re a good fit for their company. Therefore, you will want to impress the hiring manager/interviewer as soon as they meet you. Below are a few tips on how to achieve a strong first impression before and during the interview.

  • Dress appropriately for the environment and arrive early. As soon as you walk into the office, greet the hiring manager with a bright smile and a phrase such as “It’s a pleasure to meet you!” and a firm handshake to demonstrate your enthusiasm.
  • Look the person in the eyes as you greet them and begin making some small talk to establish rapport. Try to do this naturally and not so scripted or pre-planned. Make sure to avoid political, ethnic, racial, or religious topics.
  • Let the manager/interviewer take the lead in sitting down while beginning the interview process. While establishing your confidence, this small gesture reminds the employer that you are dependent on them for the job offer.

Portrait of cheerful young manager handshake with new employee.

Know Yourself & Be Yourself

Once the interview begins, you job is to sell yourself by knowing the skills you possess well enough to show the potential employer that you know exactly what you want from the job. They are impressed with candidates to have done their research before arriving at the interview and appear organized and well prepared. Knowing your strengths is paramount to achieving a successful interview. For example, talking about how your efforts in a prior position led to explosive revenue growth year over year and increased ROI will demonstrate that you take your roles seriously. Also, knowing and expressing your shortcomings is also important as it will demonstrate honesty and the willingness to adapt to job challenges that you may not be familiar with.

During the interview, don’t be afraid to express your natural personality. Experienced interviewers can spot actors very quickly and are hesitant to hire someone they feel won’t be honest with them about who they are. Boast about the unique attributes and skills that make you an ideal candidate. Believe in yourself, your ability to learn, show them the “real you” and just be yourself.

Answer Honestly & Ask Questions

It is a given that, during an interview, you are going to be asked a series of important questions to determine if you are the right person for the job. It’s not only the answers to the questions that matter the most, but how you answer them. Interviewers will sometimes ask tough questions to see how you will respond to certain situations under pressure and to assess your character/honesty. There are some methods to answering these types of questions well.

  • Keep your answers short and don’t ramble. Be concise and straight to the point, respecting the interviewer’s time they are taking out of their busy day to meet with you.
  • Maintain eye contact during the entire interview – this is very important.
  • If you can’t gather your thoughts right away, say something like “That’s a great question. Can you give me a moment to think about this?” Doing so will show the interviewer that you are giving well thought out responses and answering truthfully.

Towards the end of the interview, you will most likely be asked if you have any questions. Make sure to inquire about the organization, the job itself, and the type of work environment you will be involved in. This shows the interviewer that you are serious about the job by demonstrating concerns of your own. It also helps to ensure that you are not wasting your time with a job you will hate if you catch something that wasn’t previously known.