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6 Steps to Ace That Interview!

Want to learn how to make yourself stand out from the competition?  Take a look at these six tips that will get you well on your way!

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#1 Research the Position & the Company

research illustration

Nothing is more off-putting than interviewing a candidate who knows little to nothing about the company, or the job that they are applying for. This goes for pre-scheduled phone interviews that often occur before the in-person interviews; I actually have had candidates ask me ‘ which position is this for, again?’ Needless to say, the interview ends right there.

There is no excuse for not researching the company. These days, information is literally at your fingertips. First stop is the company website: take a look at what they are currently working on, or get a better feel for all of the services or products they may offer. Read their blog posts and peek at the Leadership Team page. Review their Twitter / Instagram / Facebook or whatever-social media sites they may be on to get a better sense of their culture and what type of information they like to share.

Aside from taking a good look at the company’s website, check out other sites such as Glassdoor that give you first-hand reviews by current and past employees about the pros and cons of working there. Previous interviewees also sometimes post about their interview experiences so it’s also potentially a bit of insight into what you might encounter yourself as you go through the process. Leverage LinkedIn too, to see if you have any connections to individuals who work, or have worked, at the company you’re interested in (you have a LinkedIn profile, right?).

If you’re able to dig up some inside scoop on the position, what the interviewers may really be looking for, or what pitfalls to watch out for, you’ll be way ahead of the competition. The more you know about the company, the more the interviewers are going to be impressed. It shows a deep interest in the role and a commitment to making informed choices.

#2 Delve Into Possible Interview Questions

This is particularly important if you’ve not interviewed in some time, or have applied to a position that you don’t have a lot of experience in. The job posting itself is the best place to start: take a look at the duties and what the main competency areas are that they’ll likely be screening for. Applying to work in retail? Likely questions to do with how well you deal with difficult customers and how you provide a great customer experience. Management role? Expect questions around managing projects and people. Figure out what the main skills are and research questions online associated to that role. Have a handful of great examples you can use when the interviewer asks, ‘Tell me about a time when….’

#3 Set Up a Mock Interview

Practice, practice, practice! Enlist the help of a friend to act the part of interviewer, and give you honest feedback about how you’re presenting yourself. Pay attention to body language, nervous tics, and repeated use of the same word(s). And be sure to eliminate any negative talk about your current job, employer, and so forth.

#4 Don’t Be Late!

You need to be 15 minutes early for your interview, so plan your route. Know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. Time it in a pre-run, or estimate it using an app.

#5 Dress Appropriately

Regardless of how often this advice is given out, people still show up to interviews in inappropriate attire: beachwear, yoga pants, too low /too high cut clothing, torn or dirty, and so on. Anything that causes the interviewer to focus on it and not your interview answers is a no-go. Look the part - professional and put together.

#6 Be Confident!

You've got this! Smile, be relaxed, and offer a firm handshake. Make small talk to start - interviewers are people too and some aren’t great at small talk either, so they’ll appreciate having someone take that lead.  It also highlights your awesome communication skills.

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Written by Jana Tulloch

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