No list of interview tips can be truly exhaustive. But in my years as a recruiter, I’ve noticed that these pieces of wisdom continue to provide candidates with useful guidance and inspiration.
Here they are:
Tip 1 – Do your homework. In addition to familiarizing yourself with the company’s overarching mission,, spend a little time looking for recent company initiatives. This not only signals that you came prepared, it also sends the message that you’re curious and interested.
Tip 2 – Ask thoughtful questions. Part of this is included in doing your homework. But in addition to having a few prepared questions, pay attention to new information that surfaces during the interview – and don’t be afraid to incorporate it! Let them know you’re listening.
Tip 3 – Know your strengths and weaknesses. Project confidence and sincerity by coming to the table with a well-developed, carefully articulated sense of your strengths. Be open about your weaknesses (nothing sounds more disingenuous that “I’m 100% awesome”) but try to frame them in a positive way
Tip 4 – Gauge what the culture is like. Pay attention to the demeanor of your interviewers and think about what kind of work culture that demeanor belongs to. It may seem silly to say out loud, but using “vibes” to assess potential fit is an important skill to develop!
Tip 5 – Don’t discuss salary & benefits. Focus on your accomplishments and the value you can bring to the company. Save the salary discussion for after they offer you the job.
Tip 6 – Get sleep the night before. Treat your interviews with the same seriousness you would bring to an important presentation. Take care of your body: rest up, drink water, and put your energy toward putting your best foot forward.
Tip 7 – Think about your body language. Practice looking poised, but comfortable. Don’t touch your face excessively. Make eye contact!
Tip 8 – Tell a good story. If your interviewer wanted a flat list of your accomplishments, they would just reread your resume. The interview itself is for fitting those details into a story about who you are, how you got here, and where you’re going.
Articles about interviewing
If you’re looking for some more interview tips, these are a few articles from recent years that I’ve found to be particularly insightful:
Forbes: 12 Surprising Interview Tips. This article cleverly breaks up its tips into before, during, and after the interview. The specific suggestions and concrete communication frameworks add some detail to the general tips on the previous page.
The Muse: 8 Ways to Make a Great First Impression at a Job Interview. While I think the idea of “nailing” an interview in the first five minutes is kind of gimmicky, this article usefully breaks down the importance of first impressions.
US News and World Report: Top Five Interviewing Tips For Experienced Professionals. Like I said, this isn’t your first rodeo. This article offers some specific insight that people with extensive backgrounds bring to the table.
Glassdoor: The 8 Questions Asked in Nearly Every Job Interview. As you know, it’s important to come to the interview with some prepared answers to specific questions. I thought this list covered the basics well.