Catherine's Career Corner

November 7th, 2012
11 Steps to Ace Any Job Interview!

  • Nov 7, 2012
  • Catherine Adenle
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If you have been selected for an interview, you know that you have already got what the selectors regard as the required competencies, great experience and a suitable fit. However, you still need to prepare, plan and practice. Follow these 11 steps to ace any job interview!

 

Written by Catherine Adenle

If you are on this page, that means you’ve just been selected for an interview, congratulations! Lucky you, it’s getting much harder now to get called for an interview. For you, though, now comes the harder part as you need to follow these 11 steps to ace any job interview. So, ensure that you don’t blow it. With job interviews, the more thorough your preparation before the day, the most likely your chance of being hired by the potential employer.

So what now?

Well, to ace any job interview, you may want to read the invitation letter carefully, be sure to check the day and time of the interview and the venue; make an electronic entry in your Outlook diary, a manual entry in your diary and do not rely on just your memory alone.

Then ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is going to interview me?
  • What kind of interview is it likely to be?
  • Are my expected to do any tests and, if so, what tests will they be?
  • Is there a job specification or outline, and do I have it?

If you do not know the answers to these questions, you should telephone the writer of your invitation letter and politely and ask for clarification. There is no harm in doing this; it only shows that you are proactive.

To further prepare, go through these 11 steps to ace any job interview:

1. Research

If you’ve applied for a job and you’ve been selected for an interview, you must investigate the company. This will include the company’s products, services, their competitors, details of how the company was formed or developed, the markets, turnover, plans for the future, number of branches, people employed, the company’s values etc. Take steps to obtain as much information as possible. Google the company’s name, read their last annual report. Know the company backwards and forwards. Know their past, current role in the market, and their goals for the future. In addition, if you know who will be interviewing you, look online to see if they have written any articles for professionals so that you have an idea of their opinions on issues.

See How to Research a Company

2. Practice

To ace any job interview, study the list of commonly asked questions and how to answer them. It is important that for you study the list of anticipated questions and suitable answers beforehand so that you can practice. Look at ways of turning the answers to further illustrate your transferable skills. If you notice, most politicians are particularly adept at this method of getting across their predetermined points, and you should cleverly approach the interview with the same objective. You should practice your answers aloud, either to a friend, a colleague, your manager or to a mirror and record your answers. Thinking about your answer is one thing, but the spoken words is sometimes a different thing altogether. Sometimes, words do not always come out as we intend, practicing will enable you to sell yourself in a way that is comfortable and natural to you.

Analyze the job description, know what the company is seeking in a candidate. Then, make a list of the skills, knowledge and personal qualities that are required by the employer and are critical for success in the job. Tie your own skills to their requirement with examples. Practice how you will convey the examples. Lastly, practice your closing statement.

See 100 Potential Interview Questions

3. Prepare

You might want to spend some time to revitalize your image. Upgrade your wardrobe to ensure that you have just the right outfit for your job interview. Ensure that you do whatever will make you look good and feel good about yourself. Wear shoes that are in good condition, go well with your attire, and are comfortable to wear. No loud colors or open toes sandals. If you must carry a bag or a briefcase, they should be conservative in color and design. Remember to clean your nails are keep them in in good condition. If you are a woman, your nail polish should be conservative in color and nails should not be claws.

If you are a smoker, try not to smoke and avoid being around others who are smoking. There is every probability that the smell will stay on your clothing and may be offensive to non-smokers. Limit the amount of jewelry you wear. Keep everything simple and conservative. It is important that you package yourself like a professional. A polished physical appearance and professional attire do matter! Regardless of the type of job you are interviewing for, first impression counts.

See Dressing for Success

4. Plan

It is important that you know where you are going for the interview. Have the address, telephone numbers and another route just in case the route you know is closed. To ensure that you how much travel time you need to get there on the day, you may want to do a test run to see how long it takes. It’s important to arrive 15 minutes early or on time. Give yourself a bit of extra time so that you can have an opportunity to catch your breath, stay calm or freshen up, if need be. Remember, an interview is more stressful than normal if you are rushing so that you can get there on time.

If you are lucky to be called for a job interview, remember that everything that you do or say while you are in the potential employers’ office or during the job interview will be examined under a microscope.

5. Gather

Gather everything that you need together in preparation for the interview. Remember that thorough preparation for a job interview is the key to maximizing your chances of being successful. Take all the essential items for the job interview. These are the items that you may want to consider:

  • Your interview invitation
  • The job profile
  • Few copies of your submitted CV
  • A fine pen
  • A notepad – with a list of questions for your interviewer and you will also have a place to job down things as your discussion progresses.
  • Your skills portfolio (make sure this is a smart folder) containing:
    • Examples of your work to show what you can do and what you have done. Only show great work pieces that showcase you in your best light.
    • Letters of commendation
    • Company awards
    • Target achievement results
    • Internal or external press clippings
    • Customer satisfaction surveys
    • Certificates,

Remember to get your references in order and you may want to request that a letter of recommendation be written on your behalf. However, you don’t need to provide references prior to an interview or include them with your CV, unless the job ad specifically states that references are to be included with the submission.

See Never Go to a Job Interview without These 10 Things

6. Re-energize

OK, you are now fired up and ready to go! You have painstakingly prepared yourself for the interview. Your answers to likely questions are now rolling off your tongue effortlessly. Now, it’s the night before you rock ‘n’ roll! It is important that you get an early rest. So, go to bed early so that you can wake up feeling energized in the morning. If like me, you count sheep for ages before dosing off, then, have a warm shower, some warm milk, turn off your bedroom light and relax. However, be sure to set your alarm Doing this can increase your chances of success as a good night rest is good for the brain.

7. Arrive

If you are lucky to be called for a job interview, remember that everything that you do or say while you are in the potential employers’ office or during the job interview will be examined under a microscope. Consequently, proper interview etiquette is important on the day. Greet the receptionist and everyone else you meet politely, pleasantly and enthusiastically. One of the benefits of arriving 15 minutes early to your interview is so that you can pick up some useful intelligence about most companies just by sitting in their reception and observing.

8. Setup

Once you get to the interview room, as you are introduced to your interviewers, shake their hands firmly and smile. Gently pull out your apportioned seat, sit up and place your smart looking skills portfolio, your notepad and pen in front of you. During the interview, make eye contact as you articulate your points. Remember not to slouch, watch your body language throughout. Relax and lean forward a little towards the interviewer so you appear interested and engaged. It helps to keep your feet on the floor and your back against the lower back of the chair. Get involved, be engaged, pay attention, listen and look very interested.

The more positive an impression you make, the better chance of you getting the job.

9. Standout

The only way to ace any job interview is to stand out (for the right reasons) from the sea of other job seekers. In a sea of horses, you better be a Unicorn! You have to show passion, enthusiasm and a depth in knowledge. Focus more on what you can do for the company, rather than what they can do for you. Above all, look to showcase your skills or Prime Selling Points. Look at the copy of the CV that you sent to them, consider your skills that are linked to their requirement and go through the evidences that will showcase those skills. Remember that your skills won you the interview in the first place, now while sitting in front of them; it is your opportunity to use the skills as part of the main agenda in your interview. Recruiters will find this consistency very reassuring. Not only that, ensure that you maintain eye contact and answer all their questions in a clever manner. Ask them your own prepared questions too.

Interviewers will always ask if you have questions for them. Create the right impression by preparing at least one question for them. Waste no further opportunities to promote your keenness at securing the job. Get a question from your research into the company and its activities, and strongly connect it to your skills. Your question can concern future training, technical matters, new products or anything to demonstrate your ability and illustrate your skills.

See the Best Questions to Ask in the Interview and See For a Job, You Need that X-Factor!

10. Close

As the interview draws to a close, this is when to slot in your prepared closing statement and let the interviewers or hiring manager know that you still think the job is an excellent fit to your skills, attributes and that you are highly interested in the job.

It is important to prepare the scene for getting off the interview chair. Gather your belongings, rise with a smile, and give a firm handshake with a friendly but business like parting statement: ‘Thank you for your time. I have enjoyed the interview and feel that it is been very useful. It has increased my interest in the job and confirmed my ability to be of value to your company.’ Remember that you are still creating a lasting impression that will get you noticed and remembered.

It’s appropriate to ask what the next step in the hiring process will be and when you might expect to hear from them.

Again, remain professional and be polite to everyone until you leave the building.

11. Gratitude

It helps if you follow up a job interview with a thank you note reiterating your interest in the job. Remember that it is important to for you to be noticed. It’s a way of reminding them that you are still interested in the role. In your thank you note, you may restate why you want the job and how you might make significant contributions to the potential employer. Then, wait to hear back from them.

See Video: How to Say Thank You for a Job Interview

Now, with these 11 steps, go and knock their socks off!

With some practice and preparation, job interviews need not be a mystery or a horror. In fact, it can be enjoyable, informative, and even sometimes fun. Remember that every interview that you complete will make you more practiced in the art of getting interviewed. By continuing to interview for jobs, you will learn the range of variety of questions and scenarios that may confront you. Then you will be better prepared to win the job of your dreams!


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Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers.

Latest posts by Catherine Adenle (see all)

One thought on “11 Steps to Ace Any Job Interview!

  1. This is the best job interview tips ever! It is exactly what I need as a job seeker. Thank you.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

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