How to Ace a Job Interview
Job interviews. For some of us, there are few things more intimidating in this world than a face-to-face with a would-be employer. There’s a lot to freak out about like getting sweaty palms or forgetting your own name or not knowing an answer to an important question. But job interviews are a part of life and as job-hopping millennials, it’s important to get good at pitching ourselves and our amazing abilities.
The reality is that job interviews will probably always be a bit stressful, but there are some ways you can reduce your anxiety and walk into an interview feeling more confident and ready to nail it. Let’s talk about tactics that will help you ace that interview!
1. PLAN YOUR INTERVIEWING OUTFIT IN ADVANCE
It sounds super obvious, but think about what you’re going to wear AND try on the whole dang outfit at least a day or two before your interview. Doing advanced outfit prep lets you catch any potential clothing mishaps like a sneaky sweater stain or realizing that those heels are indeed too tricky for an already-trying day. The last thing you want on the morning of your interview is to be scrambling around, desperately looking for a dress that’s actually at the dry cleaners. So pull a Cher Horowitz and plan your look, ok?
2. DO SOME REAL RESEARCH
When you walk into an interview, you should know a lot of the fundamentals about the company and the role itself. Make sure you’ve reviewed the company’s website, checked out its social media feeds, and searched for any recent press. It’s good if you can refer to their recent partnership with XYZ company, or the company’s recent launch of a new product. And make sure you’ve read through the job descripion and understand what it entails. Displaying knowledge about the company and the available position shows that you’re pro-active and seriously interested in the job.
3. GET YOUR STORIES STRAIGHT
One of the best ways to shine during an interview is to tell a great story that proves you’ve done big things. How you structure those stories is important – your interviewer needs to be able to follow along and understand the main points. Think of a few work experiences: a major success at work, a project you owned, or a time where things went awry but you got better or learned something from that negative experience. Then practice telling each story using a STAR or PAR structure – that means Situation, Task, Actions, Results or Problem, Action, Result. Simple structures help you tell your stories clearly and ensure your interviewer comes away understanding just how awesome you are.
4. SHOW YOUR THINKING
If your interviewer poses hypothetical or analytical questions to you (like “How would you build a communication plan around our newest feature?”) don’t be afraid to think outloud a bit. These types of questions are intended to give the interviewer a sense of how you think or problem solve, so you might as well be transparent about your thought process. Walking your interviewer through your thoughts helps them see that you’ve got critical thinking skills, even if your answer isn’t perfect.
5. INVEST TIME IN CRAFTING YOUR QUESTIONS
Spending a little time thinking about questions for your interviewer(s) is a wise move. For starters, thinking through specific questions for each of your interviewers will show how you’ve prepared and thought critically about their responsibilities and how they relate to the job you’re interviewing for. Additionally, preparing good questions is a final opportunity to show off your smarts and to create a connection with your interviewer.