When you look for a new job or position inside a company, whether it's an entry-level position or a senior role, you may be invited for an interview following application submission. A job interview gives you an excellent chance to show the hiring team your best qualifications and experience. Knowing the top tips on how to leave a remarkable impression can help you complete a successful interview in the career you desire. In this article, we explore how to ace an interview and provide tips you can use to increase the success of a job interview.
How to ace an interview
Taking the time to prepare before an interview takes place can help you deliver answers that leave a lasting impression. Here are some steps you could take to help you perform well in an interview:
1. Choose a career path and research the market
You can start by defining your career goals and discovering your core values. Before applying to a position, it is appropriate to gather all the information you need in order to decide if that's the profession you want. After that, you can research the market to know more about the job opportunities within a specific sector, average salaries, primary duties and responsibilities, the job market's expectations for the future and any additional information you wish to know.
After the research, you can apply to the positions that interest you and begin to prepare for your interview. If the employer knows you are informed about the current market outlook, potential challenges and professional expectations, you may come across enthusiastic about the role and industry.
Read more: How To Choose the Right Career Path
2. Research your potential company
Before your interview, research the company, so you can be knowledgeable about its mission, goals, accomplishments and organisational culture. One of the easiest ways to research a company is to visit its website and social media accounts. Learn about its history, recent news, performance, values and future expectations.
You can also search different companies on Indeed Company Pages to learn more about current job openings, browse reviews, read Q&A, gain data about salaries and much more. Obtaining this information can help you contextualise your interview answers, know how to answer appropriately and show the company that you're genuinely interested in working with them.
Read more: The Complete Guide To Researching a Company
3. Review the job description
The job description the company posted or sent to you contains valuable information about the role's main duties and responsibilities. Sometimes, you may receive a salary range and bonuses you can later negotiate. Study the keywords that relate to skills, experience and qualifications, and plan to discuss them in your interview. This can help you discuss the most relevant information for the hiring team during the interview.
4. Practice answering interview questions
Whether the interview focuses on job-specific topics or your professional profile, the interview is likely to include a few standard questions. You can review a list of the most popular interview questions and practise how you would answer. Focus your responses on the company, position and your relevant qualifications and goals.
Read more: Top 16 Interview Questions and Answers
5. Understand the STAR method
Many hiring managers ask behavioural questions in an interview to assess how candidates can handle common situations in the workplace. STAR stands for situation, task, action and result. You can use this method to explain the context of a situation, describe your responsibility or role, explain what steps you took to address a situation and describe the results of your initiative.
Example: "I was working as a customer service manager in tourism during peak season, and we were receiving multiple calls at the same time. Unfortunately, my team and I could not answer the most urgent issues the clients had, and some were dissatisfied with our company. I admitted my full responsibility in this situation and communicated these challenges to my team lead. In response to the situation, I arranged an urgent meeting with my team, and we reorganised the tickets so that we resolved the most urgent ones. Not only that, but I compensated them with a higher bonus. As a result, the clients felt heard and expressed satisfaction with the new outcome."
6. Rest and pick your outfit before the interview
Resting is crucial before an interview. Try to sleep at least eight hours the night before to ensure you have sufficient energy to carefully listen to the interviewer and answer each question clearly. Remember that body language transmits more information than words, and the hiring managers can see if you're tired.
Interview attire can be equally essential when looking to make a positive first impression. Choose an outfit that aligns with the company's organisational culture and the hiring process itself. Try reviewing the company's website or social media profiles to research the employee dress code and plan an interview outfit. In most cases, a business casual outfit, such as dress pants with a professional shirt, is suitable. Ensure your clothes are clean and pressed, and make sure your accessories are appropriate for the interview.
Read more: What To Wear To a Job Interview
7. Ask your own questions to the interviewer
During the interview, you can expect to answer the hiring manager's questions, but you can also ask your own questions. Most companies expect candidates to show interest in the position and the organisation by asking informed questions. This can help you obtain the information you want to know to about the role. Try to prepare these questions in advance according to your previous research and your professional goals.
Read more: 9 Best Questions To Ask Your Interviewer
8. Follow up after the interview
After the interview ends, you can take additional actions to show your dedication to getting the role and increase your chance of getting the job. Try to send a thank-you email to the hiring manager within 24 hours after the interview. In your email, you can expand on your interest in the position and thank the hiring manager for their time. If you don't receive an answer 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 moving forward in the hiring process.
Additional tips for a successful job interview
Here are more tips you can use to perform well in an interview:
- Visualise success: positive thinking can influence positive outcomes. It's normal to have some doubts before the interview, but try to believe in yourself and the interview's success. Research shows that positive body language can also influence your confidence and calm nerves.
- Eat well, but not too much: eating something, even if you're nervous, can help you increase your performance in a job interview. Try to eat some food that is gentle on the stomach, such as fruit or salad. Light foods can help to optimise your performance, whereas heavy meals may make you feel drowsy.
- Exercise before the interview: although rest is important before a job interview, you can exercise moderately before the interview, so you release endorphins and relieve stress. Exercising may give you a brighter look and help you be more receptive to questions.
- Bring a notebook and a pen: you may need to take notes during the interview. The best way to do this is to write the information down using a pen, rather than a smartphone or any other electronic device.
- Maintain eye contact: a candidate who maintains eye contact during a job interview shows high self-confidence, which may improve your performance.
- Gather documents, references and examples: your interviewers might require you to submit a list of references before or after your interview and any other document that describes your experience, qualifications or identity. Print or prepare the necessary documents ahead of time and consider bringing clean copies of your resume.
- Be authentic: always be genuine during interview conversations so employers can easily relate to you. Try not to embellish your skills and accomplishments and focus on your strongest qualifications.
- Be punctual: plan how to arrive at your destination if you're doing the interview in person. You want to avoid any unexpected event, such as high traffic. You can also use a calendar on your phone to automatically notify you when it's time to prepare. Be present five to 10 minutes before the interview and ensure the receptionist knows you're there.