Top 10 Tips on How to Nail a Job Interview
1. Do your research and be completely prepared for the interview.
As the saying goes, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. It goes without saying then that before you can learn how to nail a job interview, you first need to research the company, the career prospects, and the job responsibilities, and make sure that you can answer relevant questions about the role and the organisation.
Research the business structure, the levels of management, and the competition. Learn how the business operates, and prepare questions, not from a job applicant’s perspective but from a shareholder’s perspective.
Learn about the company’s values, goals, objectives, challenges, financial stats, and work culture, so that you arrive at your interview armed with intelligent, well-thought out questions about the company’s director-level agenda, you will be displaying director-level qualities.
Firstly, to make sure that you are right for the company and that the company is, in fact, right for you, and secondly, because quite obviously, your interview probably won’t be very successful if you don’t know much about the company and role you are applying for.
2. Be punctual, look the part, and start the interview on the right foot.
First impressions are lasting impressions. If you arrive late, untidy or badly dressed, just know that your interviewer is judging you before you even begin the interview. Negative first impressions will unfortunately reflect on your work abilities, for example, if your shirt is not ironed and wrinkled, it tells the interviewer that you lack presentation and preparation skills, and that you don’t take the interview seriously.
3. Anticipate the interviewer’s questions and leave no stone unturned.
Most of the qualities, skills and competencies required for a role, are included in the job advert specifications. With thorough preparation, you can anticipate what type of questions have a higher probability of being asked, and you can then prepare your answers accordingly, so that you put thought, structure, and impact into each one of your answers.
Play the devil’s advocate and leave no stone unturned. Try and pick holes in your own answers and overcome any objections which could potentially arise. By the time you arrive at your interview, it should be like well-rehearsed clock work so that you leave no other option but to hire you.
4. Ensure sure that the interviewer has a positive image of you already, by using a well-tailored, professional CV / Resume.
Just as first impressions are important at the interview, so is your resume before the interview, since this is the true first impression.
Your resume is telling the hiring manager who you are and what you are about, before they have a chance to actually meet you, and most often, your resume is the reason why they decide to meet you in the first place.
A professional, well written resume will grab attention, and the way you compile your resume will show your level of initiative.
5. Sell yourself but don’t be arrogant!
Don’t undersell yourself and don’t oversell yourself. It’s a delicate line, and crossing it doesn’t usually sit well with the interviewer. Be honest in your interview, and don’t over-exaggerate what you’re capable of. Most hiring managers can see through this, and can tell by the way you answer their questions.
Be mindful of your tone at all times, and keep your answers relevant and to the point. Explain how you can contribute to the business, and elaborate using your skills and strengths.
Show confidence in your abilities. Underselling yourself might seem polite and humble at the time, but it doesn’t sell you and your abilities.
6. Turn any negatives around with positive spins.
There are usually generic questions in interviews, such as “tell me your strengths and weaknesses”. Most people have no problem listing their strengths, but listing their weaknesses is a whole different story.
Many candidates will have arrogant, generic answers, such as “I have no weaknesses” , because they hadn’t planned for an inquiry into their weaker abilities. Everyone has weaknesses, so you will either be portrayed as overconfident, or deluded with a sense of self importance.
Rather be honest and mention weaknesses, but anticipate the question and show that you can compensate for certain weaknesses by using certain strengths. For example, you have a bad hand writing, but you make up for it by typing fast and strong IT skills, or you often overthink things, which makes you anxious at times, but that’s only because you try to be a perfectionist in everything you do.
7. Show initiative.
To know how to nail a job interview, you need to know how to ask meaningful questions about the company, the job role, career prospects, and prospects for growth. Hiring managers are looking for employees who are willing to align their own long term goals with those of the company, and will be looking out for qualities of the opposite who don’t plan on staying for the long haul, so don’t focus too much on the short term in your questioning.
Show them that you are not there for a job, but rather that you are there for a career. Commitment is sought after, since loyalty is a scarce commodity, so ask them about your growth potential, ask them about where they see the company in 5 years from then. If it’s a large company, read the news and find developing stories which you can engage with the interviewer, whilst portraying initiative at the same time.
Make use of a professional, pre-designed amendable CV resume in PDF format from Diy My Design, and show initiative in your presentation and professionalism.
8. Use professional, open body language.
Body language is imperative and will determine how you connect with the interviewer. Arrive with a friendly smile, a firm hand shake, and eye contact.
During the interview, don’t cross your arms, because this usually demonstrates awkwardness, and a lack in confidence. Rather have your arms in front or by your side. Show that you are relaxed with the interviewer, and the rest of the interview will be comfortable.
Keep eye contact during the interview, but not in a creepy forced way (you’re allowed to blink once in a while!).
9. Don’t ramble. Get to the point if you are asked specific questions, and eliminate filler words, such as “ah” and “um”.
Don’t talk over the interviewer, rather listen to each question carefully, and show that you demonstrate good communication skills by always letting the interviewer finish their sentence. Show that you demonstrate great listening skills, and that instructions will never fall on deaf ears.
Be wary of the filler words such as “uh”, “ah”, or “um”, because words like these make you sound both less professional, and less confident. Also watch out for slang and incorrect vocabulary, since this will probably reflect negatively on your education.
At the same time, make sure you do not talk too fast because this will make you seem nervous. Just take a deep breath, and tell your story.
10. Build rapport and close the interview in a way that leaves a lasting impression.
When the interview is over, remember to only close your end of the interview, after having asked a few questions first, but also try not to ask questions for the sake of asking questions.
Thank the interviewers for their time and for the interview opportunity. These are people at the end of the day, so you need to relate to them, in order to give yourself the best chance.
The interviewer can either hear a list of cold hard facts and stats, or they can get to know you on a personal level by hearing your story, building rapport, and engaging both ways, with open questions and open answers. Don’t sound like an impersonal robot who programmed and rehearsed their lines.
If you notice something relatable which you can have a casual chat about at the appropriate moment, this can only help build rapport. Let the interview end with polite small talk, i.e the weather or a sports team, but obviously don’t say anything inappropriate or weird, and not for long because they might have a busy schedule.
Last but not least, DO NOT OVERTHINK.. you’ve done your best so wait for that phone call. If you don’t get the position this time, go through these steps again and try and identify where you can improve. Good luck! You now how to nail a job interview so onwards and upwards!
Have you already nailed the interview? Learn how to approach your first week in a new job!