Back to Basics: 11 Tips to Help You Ace the Interview

Job interview successYour resume impressed, and you did well in your phone screen. You’ve made it to the face-to-face interview. You’ve set yourself apart from other candidates and showed you have the potential a recruiter looks for in a future employee.

The next step (notice I didn’t say “last step” – there’s a little more after this) is to pass the in-person interview. To do just that, follow these 11 time-tested tips…


Research | Know the company inside and out. Study up on their corporate culture, your fit within, and focus on what you can bring to them to make the company better.

Résumé | Bring several copies of your résumé with you, even if you’ve already emailed or submitted online. Let them know this is the most updated version for their convenience. If this is a more technical/creative position (graphic design, etc.) bring samples of your work in a portfolio.

Reputation | If needed, clean it up! This applies to Facebook, Twitter, etc. If you have pictures you wouldn’t want the Pope to see, take them down. If necessary, lock down your privacy settings. Yes, recruiters still have a way to get into this, so be safe and just have a clean online presence (especially when you’re job-seeking).

Respect | Treat the receptionists, assistants, custodians, EVERYBODY with respect. You never know who your interviewers will ask about your behavior after you leave. Simply be courteous.

Grooming | If possible, get a haircut or style the day before the interview. Plus, who doesn’t feel better after a great haircut? The same principle applies to fingernails (make sure they’re clean and trimmed) and to the clothes you wear (professionally cleaned and pressed suit can greatly improve your confidence).

Attire | Speaking of clothes, try on your interview attire the day before to make sure everything still fits and that there are no stains. Your interview attire doesn’t have to be brand new, it just needs to look nice. Interview attire varies from place to place, but there are some standards to know; for example, guys; if you don’t have a tie, borrow one from a friend.

During the Interview

Answer the Questions | Know some of the basic interview questions that will be asked. Be truthful. Provide concise, real-world examples with quantifiable results. The more you display your analytical skills, the better. Show the impact of your leadership.

Know the Interview Style | There are several styles of interviewing: traditional (one-on-one) interviews, panel interviews, and behavioral interviews. Be prepared for any of these types – you probably won’t know which style the hiring managers will use until you get there.

Mind Your Manners | Answer with “yes”, not “yeah”. Addressing the interviewer as “sir” or “miss” unless they direct you otherwise (even then, it is suggested to stick with formality). Make eye contact with the interview(s) when they’re talking to you; give them nonverbal cues that you’re listening.

After the Interview

Know the Timeline | As the interview ends, it is appropriate to ask what the hiring timeline looks like for that specific position. Ask them when you can follow up.

Follow Up! | Do what you said you’ll do. Follow up! I learned a neat trick from a colleague early in my career that I’ll pass on to you: “Be tenacious, but kind.” Don’t bombard them with relentless emails, phone calls, and thank you notes. Once you know the timeline for follow up, follow that. Leave a pre-written note, thanking them for their time at the front desk when you leave. Wait a week. Then follow up again. You can write a handwritten thank you letter and send it to them. Use this opportunity to restate why you’re so excited to work for them and why you’re the perfect fit.

Share the love, pass it on, and pay it forward. If you know someone that would benefit from these tips, please help them out! Sometimes, it just takes an act of kindness to get them (and you!) kick-started and on their way to success.





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Great Resumes Fast!



Kirk BaumannAbout the Author: Kirk Baumann is a passionate recruiting advocate preparing the next generation of talent for the career of their dreams. He’s a social media enthusiast who loves technology and how it’s connecting people in ways like never before. Kirk currently serves as Vice President, Career Services for Enactus United States (formerly known as SIFE). There, he helps Fortune 500 & 100 companies recruit top talent for their organizations as well as helping students, alumni, and young professionals find their dream job. Follow Kirk on Twitter!


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