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interview tips

10 Interview tips that will get you the job 

We’ve all been there. The nervous waiting, the stuttering responses, the awkward pauses, the sweaty palms just before that crucial handshake. Interviews are often anxiety ridden, nerve wracking, and downright stressful. But they don’t have to be! If you’re ready to land your dream job, then read on for these 10 interview tips that will get you the job!

interview tips

Top 10 interview tips to get you the job. (Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash)

Top 10 interview tips that will get you hired 

1. Research the company – Knowledge is power, as they say. The more knowledge you have the better equipped you will be to navigate any situation. This is also true when going for a job interview. Get to know the company, learn their values and mission statement. With the power of the internet and social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, it’s never been easier to find information. Use this to your advantage. The company will want to know why you are the right fit for them, so, tell them! Flex your knowledge of the company and relate it back to you and your story. 

2. Practice, practice, practice – As part of your research into the company, you will likely encounter what the company is looking for and what they value. Try to use your research to anticipate the types of questions they may ask during your interview and work on your responses. As we all know, practice makes perfect, and practicing your responses will also help ease your anxiety or nerves during the interview since you will already know what to say instead of working through your responses on the spot. If you can, enlisting the help of a friend or family member to conduct a mock interview will also allow you to stretch those muscles in preparation for your real interview. 

3. Develop your personal story – Another great interview tip many do not consider is to develop your story. As we mentioned previously, you want to establish a personal connection between yourself and the company. Use your knowledge of the company to tailor your story and brand to fit with their values and mission. An interviewer will likely ask you to tell them about yourself. “Who are you?” “What’s your story?” “Why are you the right fit for this company?” When preparing for your interview, evaluate your life and experiences. Ask yourself:

  • What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them? 
  • What do you value in a company? 
  • What are your skills and what can you bring to a company? 
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? 
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years/What are your long-term goals?

Work through these questions and begin developing a story. Your story is everything, there is no one else like you! 

interview tips

Interview tips: Show up early and dress to impress! (Woman photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com)

4. Show up early and dress to impress – First impressions are crucial. We have been told over and over again that a good first impression can make all the difference. Arriving late or underdressed to an interview may send the message that you are irresponsible and not really interested or committed to the position. 

However, things may happen outside of your control such as traffic and public transportation delays. If something does arise, it’s crucial to reach out and contact the interviewer immediately to inform them of the delay. The interviewer will appreciate the notice as it will allow that person to attend to other duties or interview the next person in line until your arrival.

5. Stay calm and speak confidently and clearly – There is nothing worse for an applicant than doing everything necessary to get the interview and then blowing it because the anxiety was too much. The first step to staying calm is to breathe properly. Stress and anxiety often creates a shortness of breath, which leads to more anxiety and a jumble of words that can seriously impact your chance of getting hired. Focus on taking deep breaths. Write a reminder on your notepad to “breathe and relax.” Also speak with confidence. If you’ve been practicing, then you already know your story and answering whatever questions interviewers throw at you will be a breeze. Maintaining good posture will also help not only your non-verbal communication, but your verbal communication as well, by giving you more confidence when you speak. 

You might be interested: How to manage and prevent burnout in the workplace

6. Practice good non-verbal communication – Another often forgotten interview tip is practicing your non-verbal communication. Non-verbal communication is just as important as your verbal skills. Non-verbal communication is also often the first impression you give when entering an interview. Proper posture, good eye contact, and a firm handshake will help you make a great first impression, setting a solid foundation for your interview.

Interview tips: Practice good non-verbal communication. (Business photo created by yanalya – www.freepik.com)

7. Listen and connect with your interviewer – Really listening to your interviewer is extremely important. Asking frequently to repeat a question can give off the impression that you are not focused or interested. Your interviewer may also mention things such as their alma mater, their favorite restaurant, weekend plans, a favorite book, or other topics that can be opportunities to connect and establish some commonalities. By listening and taking these opportunities to engage, you make a better impression and increase your chances of getting hired. 

8. Answer each question fully – Each question asked is a chance to tell your story and really sell why you are the best person for the job. Each question is also a tool interviewers use to gauge your personality, behavior, and skills. When you don’t have an answer to a question or don’t answer it fully, you are providing less information to your interviewer, thus lessening your chances of getting the job. Instead, someone who gave full answers and spoke about themselves will have a leg up over you. So be sure to take every question as an opportunity to share your story, your thoughts, skills, and values. 

9. Ask questions – Many candidates answer, “No,” when asked if they have questions. This is the wrong answer. Just as answering the interviewer’s questions is important to showcase who you are and why you are the right fit, asking your own questions is equally important. Asking questions again shows your interest and commitment to the position. Asking questions also gives you the opportunity to find out if this is the right place for you. By asking questions, you not only demonstrate that you were listening and engaging, you also show interest and commitment to the position. 

10. Follow up after the interview – Lastly, this interview tip could give you a boost up and help you stand out among other candidates. Following up after an interview is a great way to show your interest in the position and appreciation for the opportunity. You can follow up by sending a thank-you note or email reiterating your interest in the position. Sending a personalized note to each person who interviewed you also adds an extra touch and helps foster a stronger connection. You can also use your follow up note to include any details you may have forgotten to mention in your interview. 

job interview bad references review your salary

4 Tips to prevent bad references from damaging your job search

Whenever you apply for a job, you can almost guarantee that your potential employer will ask for references. However, what happens if your previous manager gives bad references to a prospective employer?

job interview bad references

Prospective employers just want to check that you were a good employee and you’ve stated the truth within your job application. As illegal as you think bad references might be, it is actually incredibly common, with estimates stating that 50% of managers give out bad references for previous employees.

Follow these tips to prevent bad references from damaging your job search, and protect your job search.

  1. Check your references

Bad references aren’t always caused by a previous termination of an employee’s contract. Sometimes it’s because of poor coworker relationships or because you left under challenging circumstances.

Firms like checkmyreference.com and Allison & Taylor Reference Checking actually offer to approach your previous employer and find out what they’re likely to say about you in their reference. If you’re worried about a bad reference or you’re unsure, this could be a great starting point for testing their opinions of you.

Double tip: DO NOT have a spouse, friend or relative call for you. If they don’t know what to ask, they might tip off your previous employer and the consequences might turn against you.

  1. Speak to your previous employer

At some point in your job search you may think that your previous employer will give you bad references, especially if your relationship with your manager was strained when you left. You may find it useful to actually speak to them and ask for an unbiased reference –usually confirm the employment dates/title of former employees– that represents you in the best possible way while still being highly accurate.

Your previous manager will be likely to appreciate this approach because you’re not only being proactive but you’re also stopping any potential cause for conflict or even legal action that could occur in the future due to a misleading reference. An agreement like this is protecting yourself as a job seeker and your previous company as a reference supplier, therefore creating a win-win situation for both parties.

Double tip: Don’t try this approach if you left in bad terms with your boss or the company. If you did, best way to go is to request a reference letter upon depart.

  1. Offer more reference options

You could counteract a bad reference by collating as many positive references for your future employer as possible, therefore implying that your bad reference is a one off and an anomaly. If you supply many glowing references and there’s only one bad reference, your future employer is likely to look past the one poor opinion of you.

One way to test who will offer a positive reference is by asking colleagues, past and present, to write a recommendation of you on LinkedIn. Once you find out who’s willing to write really positive references about you, you can contact them during future reference requests.

Double tip: Obviously, this process might take some time, so start it right away when you are at the beginning of your job search. Better to have all “ducks in a row” before answering some ads.

  1. When bad references keep happening

If your reference continues to address the issue in a negative way, then your next option is to serve them with a notice called the “Cease and Desist Letter.” The notice will emphasize that they might be open to a legal actions against the whole company –not just personal to your old boss or supervisor.

These notices are issued by an attorney and sent to senior management of the company, stating the nature and origin of the bad references. Frequently, corporate guidelines advise management against this behavior and direct the negative reference to not offer additional negative comments or bad references.

Double tip: Again, hire a professional that will act on your behalf and trust their experience and expertise. Fees well spent in preventing later damages are an investment in your future job opportunities.

In summary, it’s clear that there are ways to prevent a bad reference from occurring and approaches to counteracting a bad reference. While it’s always best to leave in good terms with an employer, it’s not always possible. Therefore the approaches described above can be incredibly useful. Checking your references via a third party, speaking to your previous manager and collating as many positive references as possible are ways to prevent bad references from sabotaging your job search in a diplomatic, proactive way.