Whether you are applying for an entry-level position or a senior role, you will probably have to interview with a potential employer before receiving a job offer. Since a job interview gives you a chance to show your qualifications and make a good impression on the hiring team, you will want to perform at your best during this important meeting. In this article, we discuss how to ace an interview, including preparation tips for common job interview questions.
What should you do to master an interview?
To increase the chances of having a successful job interview, take the time to prepare before meeting with the hiring team. Think about the topics you are likely to discuss, ways to position yourself as a strong candidate and opportunities to make a positive impression on the hiring team. Include the following in your job interview preparations:
Research: Learn as much as you can about the company and the position.
Planning: Carefully consider what to wear and how to present yourself professionally.
Practice: Reflect on the most effective ways to discuss common interview subjects.
How to master a job interview
Here are seven things to keep in mind as you prepare for a successful job interview:
1. Research your potential employer
Before your interview, research the organization so you can be knowledgeable about its accomplishments, goals and mission. Browse the company’s website to learn about its history, recent announcements, executive officers, values and culture. Then search for recent news about the organization to study its latest achievements and future goals.
2. Review the job description
Study job listing so you are prepared to explain your fitness for the job’s roles and responsibilities during your interview. Pay attention to keywords such as required skills and experience, and focus on the responsibilities that a successful candidate will have. Consider how your qualifications and goals align with the description so you can discuss relevant examples with the hiring team.
3. Practice answering interview questions
While your conversation may include several company- or job-specific topics, most interviews include at least a few standard questions. To prepare, review a list of the most popular interview questions, and practice how you would answer. Focus your responses on the organization, the position and your relevant qualifications and goals.
4. Understand the STAR method
During job interviews, many hiring managers ask behavioral questions to assess how candidates handle common situations in the workplace. To prepare for these questions, get to know the STAR method, which involves discussing the situation, task, action and result. To use this method, begin by explaining the context of the situation before discussing your role, or task in these circumstances. Next, reflect on the actions you took to handle the challenge and the result of your initiative.
5. Dress appropriately for your interview
To make a good impression on the hiring team, take steps to dress appropriately when you meet. Try reviewing the company’s website or social media profiles to research the employee dress code and use that to guide what you wear. In most cases, a business casual outfit—such as dress pants with a professional shirt—or a business formal suit will work best for interview attire.
6. Think about your questions in advance
Although interviewers often ask more questions than they answer, most expect candidates to show their interest in the job and company by asking informed questions. Try preparing these in advance by reflecting on what you want to know, from corporate culture and organizational goals to opportunities for professional development and growth.
7. Follow up after the interview
Once the interview ends, you can take additional actions to increase your chance of getting the job. Try sending a thank-you email to the hiring manager within a day after the interview. In the email, reiterate your interest in the position, and express your gratitude for the interview. If you do not receive a response within a week after the job listing closes, consider sending an additional follow-up email to express your continued enthusiasm for the position and interest in taking the next step in the hiring process.