Acing Your Job Interview
You’re joining your girlfriend in Seattle as she helps to establish her company’s latest branch in the city. You’ve been doing temporary jobs for the past six months so that you can start paying your student loans. You’ve done bartending, front yard landscaping, gutter upkeep, and all kinds of roof repairs. Your good with your hands, but you know that you can put what you studied in college to good use. This move to a new city will be a fresh start for you and your girlfriend.
You’ve sent out job applications to prospective companies, NGOs, and volunteer organizations. You’ve been invited for a couple of interviews. You’re both excited and nervous. You haven’t interviewed for the past few months. You’re wondering if you still have what it takes to do well in a job interview. How does one ace a job interview?
Amidst the Competition
One out of six. That’s the ratio of job interviewees vs. (unsuccessful) job applicants. So consider yourself lucky that you’ve been invited for an interview. Note that companies typically start with a pile of résumés. It’s then reduced to a long list and then finally cut down to a shortlist. The shortlist is typically between three to five applicants. You need to make yourself stand out.
How Do You Ace an Interview
Cultures differ from one company to the next. Positions and the nature of the job affect how the interview will be conducted. You have no control over extraneous factors such as the capability and performance of your fellow interviewees.
There probably isn’t catch-all advice for every job applicant and every given circumstance. These are general strategies that you can use:
- Pre-work. Update all information about you on the Internet to reflect the latest developments about your professional life. For example, make sure that your LinkedIn and other job site profile are updated. Recruiters regularly check these platforms. Avoid being asked about inconsistent information. Fix everything on all your online professional presence.
- Research. Read as much information as you can about the company you will have an interview with. If there’s anything that you don’t understand, formulate a question and ask it during the interview. This will demonstrate that you spent the effort to know about their company. Likewise, review the job ad or job description of the position you’re applying for. You’ve sent out many. Make sure that you have the right job description in mind.
- The 5% that separates. Your qualifications, experience, capabilities, and skills, probably account for 95% of the reason why you’re being interviewed. Recruiters will look at the 5% to make an offer. The 5% could be how you present yourself during the interview, including your body language, your honesty, and the way you respond to questions. Remember that recruiters are always asking in their heads questions like: “Who would fit best with my team?” Answer questions with confidence, but don’t be arrogant and cocky. Observe your interviewer's body language and find the right opportunity to ask questions.
- Don’t ask about the salary. Do not ask about compensation, especially if it’s just the first interview. Reserve this question further down the interview process, when you get a sense that you are being considered for a job offer.
Dress well. Do not be late. Get inside information. All these are also helpful tips. Focus on your strengths, be calm, and maintain your composure. You will increase your chances of success.