Preparing For A Job Interview Is No Easy Task, So We Asked You For Your Best Advice And Here’s What We Learned
Preparing for a job interview takes a lot more than Googling a list of common interview questions. You have to make a great first impression —aka. look amazing, but professional (no wrinkly suits here!), have a great knowledge of the company you’re interviewing at, and its product, and, of course, know exactly how to convey that you’re the perfect fit for the job.
So to help you get prepared, we asked our followers on Instagram what their advice would be to ace a job interview.
We compiled a list of our all-time best pre-interview tips and tricks from all of you guys. From strategizing about how to tackle the toughest questions to packing your briefcase… to just breathing—Here’s how to make sure you bring your A-game.
It might sound silly, and yes, it’s easier said than done but RELAX
“Breathe!!!” Andrea (@a.e_a.m), one of our lovely followers wants to remind you that in order to make a good impression, you have to collect yourself. “Being nervous is normal. Think positive, make a good impression, smile, shake hands, at the end of your interview thank them for their time and always ask at least one question… “what does a typical day on the job look like” “what do you like best about working here,” and we couldn’t agree more.
Dress to impress —and don’t complain about your previous workplace.
It sometimes may happen that every inch of your being wants to exclaim loudly what a nutjob your horrible boss was at your previous workplace, but you need to figure out a way to talk positively about your bad experience. Come off as too critical, and recruiters won’t want to move forward with your application. Like Alex Moreno-Nwogu puts it: “First impressions are everything. A firm handshake, good body language, a big smile and being relatable will help 100%! Don’t complain about your situation, or downplay your last position. In the end, thank them for their time and for the opportunity. 2 big factors of denying someone employment is their demeanor. If you act like you are too good for the position, or like you know everything, the interviewer will make the assumption you are not trainable. If you are too relaxed, you will come off as lazy and unreliable. The equal medium of polite, excited and determined is what people like! Iron your clothes, spray some smell good, wear a watch (means you are conscious of time) and go get it!”
Don’t show up empty-handed
Picture this nightmare: You walk into an interview for your dream job, shake hands with the hiring manager, sit down, and then realize you’ve arrived completely empty-handed. We’re talking no copies of your resume, no pen, and paper for notes—heck, it’s a miracle you remembered to put on deodorant! Unfortunately, your lack of preparation may have just cost you your dream job.
Lety Legaria said it loud and clear, “Always take extra copies of your resume. The employee may already have it but it’s best to be prepared.” You most likely already submitted your resume when you applied for the job, but don’t assume the interviewer will have a copy of it on hand. Hiring managers get busy and sometimes forget to print out your resume. Why bring multiple copies? You never know how many employees you’re going to be meeting with.
Other helpful things to bring are, business cards, a portfolio or examples of your work and a folder to store everything neatly —it’ll make you look more prepared.
Be assertive —make eye contact.
Making the right amount of eye contact in an interview can make the difference in whether you successfully snag a job. According to UCLA professor and researcher Albert Mehrabian, 55 percent of messages processed by the brain are based on a person’s body language. This means that your facial and eye movements are constantly being judged. Nelida Gonzalez said “As cliche as it is, EYE CONTACT! Maintain eye contact as much as you can. An intense eye state distracts from minimal flaws.” Remember: The eyes become the window into your interest level, confidence, and professionalism during an interview. When you establish good eye contact, you’ll feel heard and appear likable.
Ask questions —clarify your own qualifications.
We got a great tip from @alwaystired13, “One thing I’ve learned is to ask after my interview if there is anything on my resume that is not clear or if they would like some clarification on. Can help clear up doubts on previous experience.” An interview is a two-way street. Your potential employer is asking you questions to learn about you and your skills. In return, you need to prepare questions to ask your interviewer about the position, your boss, and the company in order to be sure that this is the right job for you. And also, why not, ask them if they have any more questions about you!
Look into the STAR method
Jessica Hernandez shared a piece of wisdom with us, and now we share it with you: “Practice practice practice behavior interview questions (ex/ tell me about a time when…). Have at least three different stories and make sure to use the “STAR method” when telling ur story. It helps with organizing your story and highlighting urself in the best way.”
If you, like us, are left wondering, “ok, but what is the STAR method?”We got you: It’s a helpful method that provides a simple framework for helping you tell a meaningful story about a previous work experience. So, let’s break down that framework. STAR is an acronym that stands for:
Situation: Set the scene and give the necessary details of your example.
Task: Describe what your responsibility was in that situation.
Action: Explain exactly what steps you took to address it.
Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate—know your worth.
Beatriz Orozco reminded us of a VERY important thing when searching for a job: “Make sure they have an HR! Negotiate, colored applicants are less likely to negotiate than white candidates. KNOW YOUR WORTH.” —louder for the people in the back! It’s no secret that the gender wage gap impacts women of color more acutely – black women make 63 cents to the white man’s dollar and a Hispanic woman stands to lose over $1 million over her 40-year-career compared to her white, non-Hispanic male counterpart. So look after yourself, and don’t settle for anything less than what you, and your skills, are worth. Communicate in a manner that exudes confidence, not arrogance or disrespect, and get that bread!
Send a ‘thank you’ note
Eve Barrios gave us a pretty good recommendation: “Go old school and send a handwritten note thanking the interviewer(s) for their time.” Typically, as with email, send a separate (and unique) thank you to each member of the employer’s staff who interviewed you. Also send a different thank you to an external recruiter, if one referred you to the job. Pro-tip: If an external recruiter referred you, ask them which thank you is most appropriate for the employer, including whether email is appropriate and acceptable by this employer.