7 Ways To Ace A Job Interview

by Kevin on August 8, 2014

Have you ever had a job interview and thought to yourself, “I sure hope I’m good enough”? If you have, that is a common thought. However, in the job market these days good enough just isn’t good enough! It might get you a “thank you” letter after the fact, but it will seldom land you the job. In order to get a job offer, you’ll have to ace the job interview. Here are seven ways to do that…

1. Know your job

It’s important to have a good handle on what it is that you will need to do for the job you’re applying for. But it’s also important that you know the job you’re doing right now. The interviewer will want to know if you are a good fit for the new job, and one of the ways that they will determine this is by how competent you are on your current job.

You’ll have to come across as being the resident expert in the job you hold right now. This way you will show that you have mastered your job, and that you are ready to move on. That is the kind of employee that most companies are looking to hire.

2. Make sure you can do all that your resume says you can

One of the major reasons that job candidates turn in a poor interview is that they are not entirely capable of doing everything that they have on their resumes. While there may be a little bit of wiggle room, the interview will focus heavily on the skills, credentials, and experiences that you claim on your resume. If your actual capabilities are something less than what you’ve claimed, you’ll be on the defensive throughout the interview.

3. Have strong and relevant references

Your references should be people who are higher up the chain of command than you are. If you are a staffer, your references should at least be supervisors or higher. If you are a supervisor, your references should be managers or higher. These references can be either from your current employer, or from previous ones.

It can also help to have references out of the sales department, particularly if these people are well-known among the competition. It should go without saying that friends and coworkers (of equal or lower rank) will not impress prospective employers nearly as much as people of rank and influence.

4. Research the company and the industry

Before you even go on your interview, you should have a solid grasp of the employers profile, market, competition, and specific problems. In this way, you’ll impress your interviewer with the degree to which you understand their business. It will give you instant credibility, and the interview should flow smoothly from there.

5. Arrive early

This one is cliché, but it’s worth bringing up anyway. By arriving early, you give yourself a chance to focus completely on the upcoming interview (rather than on the traffic and the parking situation). That will help you to settle down and organize your thoughts.

Never be late to a job interview – when you do, you’re almost conceding the interview to the interviewer. Not only will you need to have a good excuse for being late, but you will most likely spend the rest of the interview apologizing, and always knowing that you blew it by coming late. That will add more stress to an already tense situation.

6. Be prepared to talk shop

In item #4 above, we discussed researching the company and the industry, and here’s where you will need to put that into your plan of attack.

Your interview should proceed like a business meeting, and less like a straight question-and-answer session. A certain amount of opening formalities are customary, but you will need to be prepared to “talk shop” as soon as possible and throughout the interview. This will show that you’re a serious candidate, who knows the company and the business that it operates in. It will also be your chance to demonstrate what you know without the interviewer even asking questions.

You should never allow a discussion of relatively minor issues, such as the company’s 401(k) plan, the health insurance, and paid days off. Those are the questions that novices ask – and you never want to come across as one of those.

7. Be ready with questions of your own

Never expect to rely entirely upon the interviewer’s questions in order to keep the interview flowing. Not only will your questions help you to control the interview, but they will also give you a solid plan just in case the interviewer is either unprepared, or maybe just isn’t very good at interviews.

By having your own questions – and they need to be serious ones – you’ll take some of the pressure off of the interviewer which will be much appreciated. The interviewer will most likely leave your meeting believing you to be a strong candidate.

You can never know what you’ll be facing when you go in to an interview, but you can stack the deck in your favor with a strong measure of advance planning. In today’s hyper-competitive job market, we need to be prepared to do nothing less.

Have you ever been on a job interview only to realize very quickly that you are not prepared for it?

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