Many experts and mentors – and maybe even well-meaning peers and parents – will tell you that the only way to ace your job interview is to provide the perfect job interview answer to every job interview question.
And while that is an important issue, so many other factors go into who gets the job offer, and who does not.
To help you ace your next job interview, here are 12 practical job interview tips that make a big difference:
First Things First
First and foremost, walk into the room with good energy and a smile pleasantly, making eye contact with the interviewer(s) as you shake their hand firmly – but not painfully!
Even if “yourself” is shy or a little awkward when you speak. Interviewers want to see the real person. They understand that you’re probably nervous, but it will help you be less nervous to know that it’s ok to just show them the nice person that you are.
Focus on Fit
Interviewers are looking for the right fit. So even if you are great in every way, you might not get the job. But you have to trust them to know this. Trying to present the person you think they want rather than who you are won’t help anyone. Again..just be yourself. Emphasize those aspects of you that they are looking for, but don’t lay on the BS.
Stay Alert and Interested
Don’t let your mind get lost in what you just said nor what they might ask next. As they say in Zen…be in the moment.
Maintain Eye Contact
Keep eye contact with the person asking the question while they are asking it. If there are others, as you answer, look at the questioner more often, but be sure to catch everyone else’s eyes too.
Be a Storyteller
Throughout the interview, look for chances to inject stories that show why you’d be a real asset to the company. Focus on results. Quantify whenever possible. Most important, make sure the stories you tell are relevant to this job and this employer.
Don’t go on too long – as interesting as you may think you are. But also, don’t just give a one or two-word answer. They want to see who you are. Give them a chance to hear your voice, see how you think, and hopefully get to know you a bit.
Interviewers are looking to see whether you’d be pleasant to work with and how you handle situations. They want to know you are a hard worker who sees problems as challenges and finds a way to solve them. They also want to know that in a crunch, you roll up your sleeves and pitch in. (Prepare stories about things you’ve done that show that.
Be a Good Listener
You should let the recruiter or hiring manager guide you in the interview. Don’t try to lead them. Listen. Ask questions if you don’t understand. And show them you are able to respond to what they asked and not what you wish they asked.
Throughout the interview, make sure you let them know you are a quick learner and would be excited to add these new skills. (Give an example if you have one.) Work needs often change, and many employers know that a person who can easily and willingly change with the times is a real asset.
You are not only interviewing for this job, but for the possibility of a job they don’t even have yet or know they need. So show them what you do have to offer and what makes you a person they’d like to have on their team. I recently interviewed someone who didn’t have the skills needed, but we liked her so much that the boss is thinking about a way to create a position for her. You never know!
Leave a Solid Last Impression
Leave with the same positive energy you started the job interview with. And remember after an interview to follow-up your interviews with thank you letters or e-mails. Job interview thank-you letters can’t hurt and they may very well help. Oh…keep them short and pleasant – and please check the grammar and spelling!
Instead of memorizing robotic answers to questions that may never come, focus on these 12 job interview basics – and work to impress the recruiter by first being a good person they want on their team!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Work Coach Cafe!
About the Author: Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 2011, NETability purchased WorkCoachCafe.com; Susan has been editor and publisher since. Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorgand on Google+.