Job interviews are tough. It can be so hard to know exactly how to behave and what an employer does and doesn’t want. I can’t provide any definitive advice that will ensure you’re getting hired but, as someone who has been told by multiple employers that I interview well, these are my top 5 job interview tips that will give you the best chance of dazzling the panel in front of you.
This is one of the most important job interview tips. It’s so very obvious and basic that it’s so easy to miss. Knowing the company you’re going to see and the job role you’re applying for is so important as it shows to the interviewer that you’re serious about what you’re doing. If possible, try and find out who the interviewer is and what they do, so you can drop in a couple of pieces to show that you’re interested in them, too; people love having their egos stroked. Don’t go overboard on that, though, as it could come across as very creepy if you know the name of your interviewer’s dog.
2) Dress to the nines…and beyond
Dressing for a job interview is often tricky, especially when the advert states something airy-fairy such as ‘business casual’. It’s a frickin’ oxymoron: what do they want, business or casual?! Unless it directly says that you must come in casual dress, always shoot for as formal as you can; it’s far worse to turn up in jeans and a t-shirt if that’s not what they’re looking for, whereas no-one can criticize you for overdressing if they didn’t specify either way. I actually have a specific ‘job interview outfit’ I use, in part because I know it’s suitable for most occasions but also because I like to think that getting into that outfit puts me in the job interview mindset. If in doubt dress-up, not down.
3) Quiet confidence
There’s certainly a balance between confident and arrogant that needs to be found, but a subtle and understated confidence is another one of my key job interview tips. Being personable, chatty and funny will obviously help to build a rapport with the interviewer, but a comfortable confidence is also a universally useful skill that employers value in the workplace. Regardless of whether you are a naturally chatty or naturally shy individual, you also need to show off your confidence in your credentials to be in the room. What I mean by this is: be self-assured in the fact that you deserve to be in the room, let your previous college and work experience do the talking for you, and don’t feel the need to big things up; just answer their questions honestly and tell them why you are suited to the role you’re there for.
4) Eye contact
Following on from confidence, your ability to hold eye contact will also determine how the interviewer perceives you. Looking someone in the eye is a good way to show that you view them as an equal, even if you can feel the power dynamic in the room, and it can help to make you more personable and feel a bit more natural. If you find it too difficult and awkward to maintain eye contact, trying focussing your vision on the tip of the interviewer’s nose; this will give the impression of you looking them in the eye, without you feeling uncomfortable.
5) Follow up
Of all the job interview tips on this list, this is perhaps the very best one. Sending a simple email to either the interviewer (or the HR advisor who you had contact with) to say thank you for seeing you and what a pleasure it was to meet the person is a sure-fire way to make them remember who you are, and also to show some genuine appreciation for letting you into the room. It’s very much a win-win as, even if they don’t reply or you don’t get the job, you can be confident that you put in the maximum effort possible. It’s vital to remember the name of the interviewer if you’re going to do this; people love the sound of their own name, so retaining that information will endear you to them, showing you really did take an interest in them and, as a result, the company.
This list is not exhaustive, but it’s a good starting point if you’ve never interviewed before. The headlines are simple: know who you’re speaking to, be polite, courteous, honest and confident in your speech, and thank them for taking the time afterwards. Happy interviewing.