I’ve interviewed for a lot of jobs. Ever since I graduated college in 2011, I’ve been employed at multiple jobs in various fields which has added up to many, many interviews.
If I had a nickel for every interview I’ve gone on, those interviews would’ve been actually worth something. (Zing!)
Anyway, I’ve learned a few things along the rather bumpy road of employment I’ve had.
I’ve always been pretty good at interviews because of my personality. I like talking to people, I feel comfortable around almost everyone, and I can keep a conversation from stalling out.
While those are not all you need for a professional interview, they’re a pretty good place to start.
So what do you actually need for a professional interview to absolutely nail it? Here are 3 easy tips for job interviews so you come out winning.
1) Think of it as a Conversation, Not an Interview
A conversation is a much better word than interview. Just think of it as you talking one on one with someone about a topic you’re both really interested in.
You do that all the time with your friends, right? You can discuss your love of Star Wars on end with them. With your interviewer, it’s the same concept, just on a different topic.
What’s great about this conversation you’re having is the interviewer wants to hear you talk. They want to know your ideas, your opinions, and your background.
Unlike some of your more unkind friends, no one is going to roll their eyes when you talk about how you took the lead on a project with your last company. No one will yawn when you talk about how you found your way into this industry.
This is a conversation where you get to talk about yourself (something we all love doing, admit it), and what you can do for the other person.
The same goes for the questions the interviewer asks. Don’t think of them as “gotcha” questions, or as the interviewer trying to expose any of your weaknesses.
Think of it as them trying to get to know as much about you as possible. So this is your chance to tell them!
They’re opening the door for you to talk about things you’ve done already, goals you want to accomplish, how you work with others, etc. Tell them!
Get excited about the chance to be more open about yourself and your goals than you can be in other forums. Thinking of questions as an opportunity to sell yourself will make you less nervous.
2) Make Eye Contact
This isn’t a new tip, but it’s a critical one. You would be shocked at how many people are terrible at making eye contact.
I’ve had entire conversations with people who stare off to the side of me. Or check their phones constantly. Or meet my eyes and then look away over and over again. It made me feel unimportant, which isn’t something you want your interviewer to feel.
In the interview, make frequent eye contact and try to hold it for the duration of their question or your answer. Don’t stare at them like a creep, of course. Engaging their eyes will show them you’re attentive and that you’re listening to what they’re really saying.
You can glance elsewhere, and you don’t have to stare them down for the course of the entire interview. But making an effort to look them directly in the eye throughout the interview sends a clear message that you care about the interviewer as well as the interview.
3) Know An Absurd Amount About the Company
Don’t spend ten minutes on their website and think you know the in’s and out’s of the company. Read their blog if they have one, read reviews on other sites, and read every page on their website.
If you want this job, you have to show it. Knowing a lot about the company is a very clear sign you want it badly enough, and shows you’ve already put in the time and effort to try and get it.
Many people head into interviews underprepared in this aspect. The bare minimum doesn’t cut it on this front. Know the company backwards and forwards.
This shows the company 3 things right off the bat: 1) you care about their work, 2) you know how to work hard, because getting all that information takes time and effort, and 3) you’re smart. Smart enough to know this was a good interview move and smart enough to learn, maybe memorize, a bunch of new information.
That’s the type of employee people want. A smart go-getter who cares. Show them you’re that person!
My last bit of advice is to remember that they wanted to interview YOU. They already saw something in your resume or cover letter that makes them think you’re pretty awesome.
Take that confidence boost into the interview with you! You have something valuable to offer these people and both you and them should know that.
What job interview tips have helped you in the past? What’s one interview technique you need to work on?