by Randall S. Hansen Ph.D.
Like most elements of job-hunting there are really no hidden secrets or expert insider tips for helping job-seekers succeed in job interviews. Rather there are proven methods strategies and techniques for interviewing success. Whether you are new to interviewing or just not receiving the job offers you expected from interviewing this article provides you with expert advice for upping your interviewing technique ideally pushing you to the next level and landing the job offer(s) you seek.
Ready to have greater interviewing success? Here are five ways to assure a successful job interview.
1. Do Your Research.
Knowledge is power — and a key to your success. What should you research?
- Research the employer. Know as much as possible about the organization including key personnel locations products services profits corporate culture and the like. [Learn more in our Research Guide.]
- Research the position. Know everything there is to know about the qualifications and qualities that the employer seeks for the position.
- Research the interviewer. When possible ask about who will be interviewing you — and then use Google LinkedIn and other social media to learn about each person.
- Research the type of interview. When you’re invited to the interview ask about the type of interview to expect — and the type of questions. [Learn more in our Types of Job Interviews.]
2. Prepare Prepare Prepare.
Here’s a simple truth: the more you prepare for an interview the more you’re likely to succeed.Develop a list of commonly asked interview questions related to the type of job interview you’re expecting — and develop responses that showcase your abilities and accomplishments — and what you can do for your next employer. Do not memorize your responses but develop a narrative/story/anecdote to help you remember the key points you want to express.Practice your interviewing style and responses to key questions. Ask a family member or friend to take you through a mock (staged) interview. Consider video recording it so that you can analyze it AFTER.If you have struggled in previous interviews consider asking a career professional for guidance.The more you prepare the more confidant you’ll become.[Learn more in our Job Interview Questions Database for Job-Seekers.]
3. Wow With Great Interviewing Prowess.
Do whatever it takes to be mentally and physically up and ready to be brilliant in the interview.Some key interview wowing factors to remember:
- Dress to impress; your clothes should be clean pressed and match the attire of the employer. [Learn more in our When Job-Hunting: Dress for Success.]
- Arrive on time; ideally arrive about 10-15 minutes early to allow time to compose yourself.
- Greet receptionists and assistants warmly; these gatekeepers often play a role.
- At the start of the interview: stand smile make eye contact shake hands firmly and offer a warm greeting to each interviewer.
- Speak confidently and passionately. Showcase your knowledge and preparation.
- Express yourself with good body language (non-verbal) techniques. [Learn more in our Unspoken Secrets of Job Interviewing.]
- Sell yourself and your fit with the job and department/division/organization.
4. Ask All the Right Questions.
Prepare a few questions to ask at the interview but don’t be afraid of considering additional questions that arise from the interview.The key to success is asking at least a few questions — and asking questions that provoke discussion and insights. Do NOT ask questions that you can easily obtain from conducting basic research on the employer.When interviewing with the person who would be your boss ask a question such as “what are the key priorities you want the new hire to accomplish?”Remember that an interview is a two-way street so you should also ask questions that will help you make a decision if you are fortunate enough to receive a job offer.Finally if not discussed you can ask about next steps in the hiring process. “What’s next after this interview?” — or — “How soon do you expect to be making a decision?” If interviewing for a sales position you might ask “So… when do I start?”[Learn more in our Questions You Can Ask at the Job Interview and Closing the Job Interview.]
5. Send an Authentic Thank-You.
The job interview — the time spent with interacting with one or more employees of the organization — is the critical factor in deciding whether you are a good fit for the job and employer.However a smart authentic and timely thank-you note can be just the thing that pushes your candidacy above another equally competent candidate who does not bother with a thank-you.Whenever possible fire off a short and professional thank-you by email followed with a longer thank-you letter by postal mail. Thank-you notes are also a good time to emphasize key points highlight your fit or mention a key point you forgot to make in the interview.Remember to carefully spellcheck — especially the person’s name and the name of the employer — before sending![Learn more about thank-you notes in our FAQs About Job-Seeker Thank You Letters.]
Final Thoughts on Job Interview Success
Attacking every interview with gusto — showcasing your research knowledge skills and accomplishments — and winning over your interviewer with your expertise charm and passion — will go a long way to helping you succeed in job interviews.Follow the five suggestions outlined in this article and put job interviews behind you on your road to career and job-hunting success.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college career and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms. Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com. He is also founder of MyCollegeSuccessStory.com and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author with several books chapters in books and hundreds of articles. He’s often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally Dr. Hansen is also an educator having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at)quintcareers.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.