June 26th, 2015

6 Ways To Ace a Job Interview

by Jacqueline Whitmore
Photo credit: Aileen Pincus, Flickr

Photo credit: Aileen Pincus, Flickr

Interviews can unnerve even the most confident of job hunters. Your palms sweat, self-doubt creeps into your mind, and you think: What if I’m not qualified? Will they like me?

Most people think about job interviews as a way for the company to find the right employee, but they are also a chance for the applicant to interview the company.

I suggest that you take control of the interview, highlight your strengths, and go beyond the job description. Here are 6 ways to ace a job interview:

  1. Calm down. Anxiety often replaces confidence as you walk toward the boardroom for your interview. But if you’ve been invited to interview, your resume already convinced the company you’re qualified. Don’t think about your interview as a test—consider it a conversation.
  2. Go beyond Google. If you’ve done your research, you know how the company presents its business. Use your interview to dig deeper. Ask questions about company culture, and get a feel for what your interviewer enjoys about his or her job. Ask something like, “What do you enjoy most about your job?” Or, “What’s the best part of working here?” If the interviewer can’t think of an answer or says something generic, consider it a red flag.
  3. Bring a notebook. Write your questions down before the interview, and leave space for responses. You’ll appear prepared, confident and responsible—and it will give you something to do with your hands if you feel nervous. Your attention to detail will help you stand out.
  4. Balance benefits and work. A majority of your questions should focus on the job and what you can do for the company, instead of the benefits. When you ask a benefit question, frame it in a way that highlights your skills, like: “Does the company invest in continuing education for its employees?” or “What training and development programs are available?” It shows you want to continue to learn and grow with the company.
  5. Show your interest. Ask an open-ended question such as “How do you define success in this position?” This shows you want to be successful and sends the message that you’re seriously interested in working with the company. The employer’s answer will give insight into whether or not you’ll be a good fit.
  6. Be bold. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that put the interviewer on the spot. Ask, “How does your company foster growth and bring out the best in its employees?” Asking a bold question will highlight your confidence. If you discover the job’s not right for you, thank the employer and use the experience as a way to present yourself in a better light at your next interview.
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