3 Essential Tips for Acing the Interview

Posted February 3, 2014 by Jill Vived in Career Moves

You’ve been scouring job boards, networking like a fiend, and have finally landed that critical interview for the job you’ve always dreamed of. How do you pass the interview with flying colors?

Check out these three tips for acing the interview:

Research like you’re writing a term paper.

You can never be too prepared for an interview. You should know as many details as you can glean from the company’s website, from perusing LinkedIn profiles of some of the key players in the department you are interviewing for, and checking out sites such as Glassdoor.com to get input from other employees. Use this information to form a list of informed questions about the company and the role.

And what not do with this research? Certainly don’t exhibit stalker-ish behavior such as memorizing every detail from each individual’s LinkedIn profile, tossing out casual comments such as “oh, yes, you were the one who majored in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Linguistics, graduated cum laude, and was president of the chess club at the University of Arizona.” You don’t want to creep out your interviewer or potential cube mates.

Ask a lot a well thought out questions.

There is nothing worse than the candidate who comes in and doesn’t ask one single question. Don’t be that candidate. Of course, you don’t want to ask an entire hours worth of questions at the end of your interview either, but using your research, develop a few key questions addressing issues you really want to know about and make sure to ask.

You don’t need to wait until the end of the interview to ask the questions. Ask questions along the way at the appropriate time. If you want to know about your potential boss’s management style and he begins talking about a team project, use that as the perfect opportunity to follow up with your question.

Asking questions along the way also helps to facilitate a more conversational style interview, which often helps to give you even more insight into both the interviewer and the company.

Exhibit confidence.

It may sound a little superficial, but dressing the part has a way of making you feel your best and will help you bring your most confident self to the interview.  Do yourselves a favor, Career Girls, and dress for success. Don’t have anything in your closet and money is tight? You don’t need to spend a lot. Scour the sale racks for a deal, or add a new piece of jewelry or a new top to an existing outfit. Or better yet, borrow from a fashionista friend.

When you arrive at the interview, sit confidently in the waiting room and try to relax before the interviewer arrives. When your interviewer does approach, stand up, square your shoulders, smile broadly, make eye contact, and shake hands firmly. Give a generous, “I’m Jane, so nice to meet you,” and make some pleasantries. See my article, The Art of Small Talk in the Interview for tips on making small talk.

Once seated, sit up straight (definitely don’t slouch), and don’t fidget. Sometimes we women have a way of playing with our hair or jewelry, or inadvertently shaking our foot when our legs are crossed. These fidgety behaviors can make you look nervous and thereby less confident.

And most importantly of all, Career Girls? Be yourself. You don’t ever want to try to give an impression other than who you are. If you do get the job, they’ll eventually see the real you, so make sure the real you also shows up for the interview.

Now go knock ’em dead, Career Girl!

About the Author

Jill Vived

Jill Vived is a freelance writer and marketing communications professional currently working as the Director of Marketing for Vivalta, Inc., a recruiting firm specializing in placing finance and accounting professionals in Denver and San Francisco she co-owns with her husband. Working in the search industry has given Jill a distinct perspective on careers and job search that she is excited to share with Career Girls everywhere. When she is not reading up on everything marketing, branding, and career related, Jill spends her time chasing around her two young children, dreaming up DIY crafts, and enjoying the great outdoors.