The job interview can be a nerve-wracking process, but if you prepare yourself, you’ll have a better chance of convincing employers that you’re the best candidate for the job.

To help you prepare, we’ve put together 19 job interview tips. By following them, you’ll calm your nerves and boost your confidence, which is essential to nailing your interview and landing the job you want!

Tip #1 – Learn about the company

The first step in preparing for a job interview is to research the company you are interviewing with. In one survey, 47% of hiring managers said that they would NOT offer the job to someone who didn’t know much about the company. So don’t skip this step!

The best way to research a company is to review its website and search for news articles or blog posts about it. Try to learn about the company’s product, business model, values, and the challenges it’s facing.

Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to ask more informed questions during the interview.

Read the full guide: “How to Research a Company for an Interview

Tip #2 – Practice answering the most common interview questions

The following are some of the most common questions asked by interviewers. Practice answering them in a way that focuses on your strengths while remaining honest.

Common interview questions include:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to overcome a challenge at work.
  • Tell me about a time when you made a mistake at work.
  • Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond your job duties.
  • Why do you want to leave your current job?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

Read the full guide: “How to Answer Common Interview Questions

Tip #3 – Review the job posting

There are a few key reasons why you should always review the job posting before an interview:

Reviewing the job posting:

  • Will help refresh your memory about what the company is looking for in a candidate.
  • Will help you prepare specific questions or talking points that will show the interviewer that you’re truly interested in and qualified for the role.
  • Will put you in the right frame of mind to discuss your expertise and skills in a way that is most relevant to what the company is seeking.

Re-reading the job description can be especially helpful if you’ve been interviewing for multiple positions and start to feel like they’re all starting to blur together.

To help keep things organized, consider using Jobscan’s Job Tracker. It’s a free tool that allows you to track and manage your job applications and interviews all in one place.

Tip #4 – Prepare questions you can ask the interviewer

Towards the end of most job interviews, you’ll be asked if you have any questions.

It’s always a good idea to have some questions prepared because it shows that you’re interested in the position and the company and that you’ve done your homework.

Questions you might want to ask the interviewer:

  • What do you enjoy most about working here?
  • What would you say is the biggest challenge facing the company?
  • How would you describe the company’s culture?
  • What are the company’s values?
  • What are the biggest priorities for the company right now?
  • Where do you see the company going in the next 5-10 years?
  • Who would I be working with closely on a day-to-day basis?

Read the full guide: “4 Important Questions to Ask in an Interview (And Why)

Tip #5 – Be prepared to talk about the salary

One of the most common and difficult questions to answer in a job interview is, “What are your salary requirements?”

It’s natural to want to give a lowball number in order to get the job, but this can backfire if the employer is looking for someone who is more experienced.

On the other hand, giving a high number may price you out of the job. So how can you handle this question without shooting yourself in the foot?

First, try to avoid giving a specific number. Instead, say something like, “I’m open to negotiation based on the job responsibilities.”

If pressed for a number, be honest but also try to emphasize your value. For example, you could say something like, “I’m currently making $50,000 at my job. I’m confident that I can bring a lot of value to your company and I’m hoping for a salary that reflects that.”

By being honest and emphasizing your value, you’re more likely to get the salary you deserve.

Read the full guide: “How to Answer: What are Your Salary Expectations?

Tip #6 – Dress appropriately

One common piece of advice is to “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” In other words, it is generally best to err on the side of being too dressy, rather than too casual.

A good rule of thumb is to dress one step up from what is considered normal for the workplace. So, if jeans and a polo shirt are considered acceptable attire at the company, you would wear slacks and a button-down shirt to your interview.

Avoid wearing anything that is too revealing, controversial, or distracting. You want the interviewer to focus on your qualifications, not your clothing.

Tip #7 – Bring copies of your resume, references, a pen, and a notebook

There are a few essential items that you should always bring with you to an interview.

First, be sure to bring several copies of your resume. The person or people interviewing you might want a copy, and you can also refer to your resume if you need specific examples.

Next, be sure to bring a list of references. These can be professional references or personal references, but they should be people who can attest to your skills and abilities.

Finally, bring a notebook and pen so that you can take notes during the interview. This will not only show that you’re serious about the job, but it will also help you remember important details about the position.

Tip #8 – Arrive 10-15 minutes early

Arriving 10-15 minutes early for a job interview is a good way to make a positive first impression on your interviewer. This will give you time to fill out any paperwork and get settled in before the interview begins.

Don’t arrive too early! This can be seen as intrusive and make the interviewer feel uncomfortable, so aim to arrive slightly early.

Tip #9 – Smile and make eye contact

Smiling and making eye contact during a job interview shows that you’re confident, engaged, and interested in the position. It also conveys that you’re friendly and easy to talk to – two qualities that are always valued in the workplace.

Just how important is it to smile and make eye contact? According to a survey, 65% of recruiters said that they would reject candidates who didn’t make enough eye contact, while 40% of recruiters thought that a lack of a smile was a good enough reason not to hire them!

Tip #10 – Don’t come across as arrogant

While it is essential to exude confidence during your interview, you don’t want to come across as cocky or entitled. Arrogance will alienate the interviewer and damage your chances of being hired.

In fact, according to a survey of hiring managers, 76% of respondents say they would reject a candidate who is arrogant.

Tip #11 – Don’t badmouth a previous employer

Interviewers are always looking for red flags, and one of the biggest is when a candidate badmouths a former boss or company. While it’s important to be honest, you don’t want to come across as negative and petty.

After all, no job is perfect. Mature job candidates understand this, which is why they take responsibility for their own actions and don’t try to shift blame onto others.

Read the full guide: “Real-Life Interview Blunders and How to Avoid Them

Tip #12 – Be concise in your answers

Many of us tend to talk too much when we’re nervous. During your interview, avoid going off on tangents and instead focus on answering questions in a clear and concise way.

This will show that you have the ability to effectively communicate your ideas and opinions, which is an important skill in any job.

Tip #13 – Tie your answers to the job requirements

It’s important to remember that, in a job interview, you are not just selling yourself as a person – you’re also selling your ability to do the job.

With that in mind, every question you answer should be focused on demonstrating how your background and experience have prepared you to excel in the role you’re applying for. To do that effectively, you need to be able to tie your answers back to the requirements listed in the job description.

By providing specific examples of solutions and results you’ve achieved, you’ll be able to show the interviewer that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in the role.

Tip #14 – Tips for interviews via Zoom

In today’s job market, more and more employers are choosing to conduct interviews using video conferencing software like Zoom. This is because it tends to be more convenient for remote positions or initial screening interviews.

Virtual interview tips:

  • Make sure that you have a strong internet connection and that your camera and audio are working properly.
  • Find a quiet location where you won’t be interrupted during the interview.
  • Even though you’re remote, you should still dress professionally.
  • Consider using a virtual or blurred background.
  • Position the camera at eye level.
  • Arrange your seating so the window light is facing you (or place lamps behind your computer).
  • Sit an arm’s length away from the camera.
  • Consider using the “touch up my appearance” setting on Zoom.

Read the full guide: “Zoom Interviews: 8 Tips for Your Video Interviews

Tip #15 – Turn off your cell phone!

In a job interview, you only have a few short minutes to create a good impression and sell yourself as the best person for the job. But if you’re distracted by your phone, it’s all too easy to blow your chance.

recent survey found that 90 percent of interviewers would disqualify a candidate if they simply touched their phones during an interview!

Among interview best practices, turning off your phone and putting it away is one of the most important. By staying focused and present, you’ll increase your chances of getting the job.

Tip #16 – Ask about the next steps at the end of the interview

When you reach the end of the interview, it is perfectly natural to want to know what the next steps in the hiring process are. You can ask your interviewer about this directly.

For example, you might say something like, “Can you tell me what the next steps are in the hiring process?” or “When can I expect to hear back from you about whether I’ve been selected for the job?”

Asking questions like this helps keep the conversation going and shows that you’re interested in the position and are actively pursuing it.

Tip #17 – Send a thank you note or email

After the interview, reach out to your interviewer and thank them for their time. This indicates that you are professional and courteous, and it may help you stand out from the other candidates.

The key to a successful follow-up note is to keep it brief and to the point. For example:

“Thank you so much for the opportunity to interview with you. I appreciate your time and I am very excited about the possibility of joining your team. I look forward to hearing from you soon.”

If you don’t know the interviewer’s email address, you can send it to the human resources department and ask them to forward it.

Read the full guide: “How to Write a Thank-You Email After an Interview

Tip #18 – Send a follow-up email

Don’t be afraid to touch base with the hiring manager if you haven’t heard back within a reasonable amount of time.

When reaching out, keep your communication professional and courteous. You don’t want to come across as desperate or pushy, but you do want to let the interviewer know that you’re still interested in the role and would like to know if they’ve made a decision. For example:

“I just wanted to check in and see if there was an update on the job opening. I’m still very interested and would love to know where things are at. Thanks!”

Read the full guide: “How to Follow Up After an Interview

Tip #19 – Stay positive!

Job interviews can be daunting experiences, especially if you’re not used to them.

The good news is that with each interview you’ll gain valuable experience and learn how to effectively sell yourself to potential employers. You’ll also become more comfortable with the format and the questions that are typically asked.

So if you’re feeling nervous about your next job interview, just remember that it’s all part of the process. The more job interviews you have, the better you’ll become at them!

Track and manage your job applications and interviews all in one place. Use Jobscan’s Job Tracker for FREE.

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Robert Henderson, CPRW, Resume Expert

Robert Henderson, CPRW, is a career advice writer and a resume expert at Jobscan.

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