Tips to do well in a job interview
From being a good storyteller to showing your initiative, this is how to stand out from other candidates.
If you get called in for a job interview, you likely made the cut because your resume and cover letter proved you have the qualifications. Now it’s up to you to follow these interview tips and demonstrate what your resume doesn’t show—the qualities that can’t be captured on paper.
Use this one-on-one time with the hiring manager to further prove you’re the perfect fit for the role. So aside from looking polished and professional, and being punctual and prepared for the interview, there are coveted hiring traits that you need to demonstrate.
Remember, sincerity, enthusiasm and good listening build rapport quickly. Showing a genuine interest in people—in this case the interviewer and his or her role at the company—can go a long way in achieving an instant connection and quite possibly a job offer. Here’s more advice on how to do well in a job interview.
6 interview tips to follow
1. Do your homework
It’s not enough to merely do quick research on the company and the position you’re applying for. You want to be up to date on current events and past company projects and awards so you can show excitement and your genuine interest.
Search the company website, social media pages, and even Google to learn the latest on the company and where they might be headed—and how you can help reach their goals. Having in-depth talking points about how your skills and interests can genuinely grow the role and company will have you standing out from other candidates.
2. Confidence is critical
There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Overconfidence will hurt your credibility and your chances of landing the job. On the other hand, people who lack confidence in themselves don’t inspire confidence in others—and that includes the recruiter.
Talking yourself up without coming across as fake and brash is key to winning interview points and making a memorable connection. The more prepared you are, the more confident and calm you’ll be, and the better you will do in an interview.
3. Be a great storyteller
At its most basic, an interview is a conversation about the role, your goals, and your background. You need to inspire the conversation with colour about your ideas, opinions, and relevant achievements that convey you are a solutions provider and a good fit for their vision of the position.
Don’t answer yes or no questions with yes or no answers; being a great conversationalist requires elaborating so there’s some exchange, but keep it short and sweet. You want to weave in details and specifics that demonstrate resourcefulness, your willingness to take action, and how you work with others. Rolling out tales of obstacles and outcomes to support your proficiency in the skills they’re looking for will help you score points.
4. Highlight your loyalty
With job hopping a trend and possibly a big part of your job history, it might be a tough sell for you to display the fundamental trait of loyalty. Few of us currently put in a five-year stint at any company, so just how else to demonstrate loyalty and trustworthiness?
Among the top interview tips you’ll hear over and over: Don’t go bad mouthing current or past employers or colleagues during the job interview. This screams disloyalty, no matter what the backroom story is here. Have a carefully crafted answer to “Why did you leave your last job?” Criticizing past employers gives future employers some insight into the backstabbing that may just be coming their way.
Instead highlight why you want to work for this employer and your willingness to commit. You want them to see how your diverse skill sets and perspective are the positive outcome of changing jobs, while subtly conveying that although it was painful leaving your last position, it was necessary for professional growth.
5. Show initiative
Support your candidacy with additional assets for consideration. Take the initiative to go above and beyond the resume by introducing relevant career portfolios, awards, and letters of recommendation. If you’re applying for a social media position, consider creating a brief campaign that demonstrates your brand building abilities.
Put yourself mentally in the job and figure out what challenges the manager may be facing and why they’re hiring. Working in examples of how you improved on processes or problem-solved at work or elsewhere will let them see how your brain works and how it can work for them.
Just don’t try to improve their company while you’re still in the interview process—tread very carefully if they ask. Even if their website is terrible, your words and solutions need to come across as respectful and optimistic—no one likes or hires a know it all!
6. Ask smart questions
At the end of the interview, you’ll be asked if you have any questions for the person across from you. Be sure to have a few questions that demonstrate you’re a serious candidate. Ask what skills are necessary to thrive, what the work environment is like, what challenges are top of mind of management.
Also, showing you have a backbone may give you an edge—when done politely. End the interview by asking, “Is there anything I said that makes you question whether I’m a good fit for the position?”
This may feel intimidating to ask, but delivering this question displays confidence and a true desire to fit in with the team and culture. You want them to know that you understand the importance of adapting.
Whatever their worries, let’s say a gap on your resume or lack of industry experience, the interviewer’s comments will offer you further opportunity to clarify any concerns, bring up additional personal assets, and end the interview on a high note.
Get ahead of the game
These interview tips can help take some of the nerves out of the job search process. Yes, it can be scary, but it’s also unavoidable. Want to learn some more ways to score that new job? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you’ll have access to great career advice and current job postings. You can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads.