A job interview can be a nerve-wracking proposition. Whether you really want the job or really need it, there is a lot riding on your ability to make a great impression on a potential employer. The good news: You don’t have to go it alone.
We asked 10 recruiters, hiring managers and HR folks to share their top job interview tips for candidates. Their answers ranged from how to prepare for an interview to how to follow up. Here’s what they had to tell us.
The importance of research cannot be overstated. Just looking at and repeating one or two lines from the “about“ section of the prospective employer’s website is not enough. Information is too easy to secure. Do some deeper research that shows that you have some level of interest in the company, and prepare questions. Sharon DeLay, Boldly Go Career & HR Management
Don’t rely on the skill of your interviewer to learn what they need to know about you. Determine the skills and qualities necessary for the job and use every question as an opportunity to highlight those skills. If you were a waitress and your new job requires client service and grace under pressure, highlight that waitressing helped you develop those skills. Kyla Sandwith, De Novo Inc.
Either you are a fit or you are not
Remember that every interview question has a silent “in a way that matters to me” at the end of it. And by “me” I mean the employer, not the candidate. Frame your answers so that they respond to the company’s needs, assets and problems. Lauren Milligan, ResuMAYDAY
Ask the question: Who succeeds here? It sends the message that you are aware of, and understand the importance of, corporate culture and do not want to waste either your own time or the employer’s. Either you are a fit or you are not. Bruce Hurwitz, Hurwitz Strategic Staffing
Interview your interviewer. Don’t wait until they ask you if you have any questions to turn the tables on the conversation. Be careful of overstepping your bounds, but don’t hesitate to ask questions that show you are intellectually curious and insightful throughout the interview. Scott Neuner, Cicero Group
Mirror your interviewer. When people are comfortable around someone, they tend to unconsciously mirror their movements, body language and even voice. To give an air of confidence and make the atmosphere more comfortable, try to sit in a similar way to your interviewer and hold your hands as they do. Do this with subtlety, obviously, and don’t mirror their every action, or you will come across as mighty strange! James Rice, WikiJob
Be prepared to discuss salary. A lot of candidates don’t understand the salary range and compensation for the position they are applying for. Do some research prior to your interview to make sure your salary expectations are in line with what the position is worth, not what you need to make or think you are worth. That being said, companies are always willing to negotiate and pay more for skills, certifications and experience; use these items as leverage. Amanda McQueen, CorpInfo
Send a hand-written thank you note
It’s a great idea to do a mock interview with a family member or a friend to shake the pre-interview butterflies from your system and gather your thoughts. But this is not a rehearsal; the last thing you want is to sound like you’re a robot reading from a script. Anthony Mancuso, Electricians of Sacramento
Begin the follow-up process in the interview. Ask the interviewer before leaving where they are in their process and when you can expect to hear back. If the candidate hasn’t heard by the time frame that was communicated, then they should reach out with an email or phone call to verify their status. Too often, candidates will say that they never heard back from the recruiter, so they just moved on. The reality is that candidates who stay engaged with the process demonstrate a solid interest in the position, which can increase their chances for success from the interview. Elaine Krehmeyer, Career Revelations
Send a thank you note. After the interview is over, send an email thank you. Then, send a hand-written thank you note. They are old-fashioned, but they haven’t gone out of style. And, if you write one, you’ll likely be the only candidate who did. Angela Copeland, Copeland Coaching
Bear in mind that during an interview the employer is evaluating both your technical skill to do the job and your ability to fit into the company culture. Be sure to represent your abilities honestly and let your personality shine. If everything matches up, chances are you’ll move forward in the hiring process.