10 Interview Hacks to Help You Prepare for a Job Interview

Updated 22 August 2023

Most employment opportunities involve a job interview where an individual or group of interviewers may ask a candidate questions. A job interview's purpose is usually for the hiring organisation to determine a candidate's suitability for the vacant position. By reviewing interview tips, you can prepare yourself for a potential job interview. In this article, we provide 10 interview hacks and detail the typical steps involved in a job interview.

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10 interview hacks

Below, you can find 10 interview hacks to help you prepare for a potential job interview:

1. Remain informed about the organisation

When the organisation contacts you regarding your job application, they may inform you of an interview date that you can attend. There might be several weeks between the organisation calling you and the interview date. During that time, you can utilise news alerts that detail recent developments within the organisation. Some news alert systems allow you to select specific websites. If you choose the hiring organisation's website, you can immediately receive news about them. You can mention these recent business developments during your interview to show the hiring manager your initiative and dedication.

2. Utilise a cheat sheet

Using a cheat sheet can be an excellent resource, but it's important to use the right type of cheat sheet and use it correctly. A cheat sheet isn't necessarily a palm card or a sheet to read off as you answer questions in your interview. It's more of a checklist that you can refer to for help in maintaining focus before, during and after your interview. Your checklist might include a list of things to consider before you go into your interview, or highlight various aspects of your experience to mention during your interview.

3. Be enthusiastic

Showing your enthusiasm for the job position can be an excellent way to display your interpersonal qualities. Hiring managers typically appreciate enthusiastic candidates, regardless of the job or industry. Showing your enthusiasm during the interview can highlight that you're excited, motivated and confident in your decision to apply for the role. It can be especially important if you lack the skills, qualifications or experience for the vacant position. This is because some hiring managers may prefer candidates with the right attitude compared to the right credentials.

4. Arrive early

If you arrive early to a job interview, the hiring manager may see this as respectful, professional and considerate. It can also display your time management skills and help calm your nerves before the interview. Time management is typically an important skill for most careers. It can show the hiring manager that you have the capabilities to arrive early to work and be mindful of deadlines. For some candidates, interview environments may be stressful. If you arrive early to the interview, you can adjust yourself to the environment and become more comfortable in the interview setting.


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5. Gain adequate rest

Regardless of your level of preparedness, it can be a good idea to have a healthy meal and gain adequate sleep the night before your interview. If you stay up late practising interview questions or researching the organisation, you might not absorb the information and you can feel lethargic during the interview. By gaining a healthy amount of rest, you can feel fresh and alert during your interview. This can help you answer questions accurately, maintain confident body language and remain enthusiastic throughout the interview process.

6. Consider your body language

Body language can be an important aspect of an interview. It's often a subconscious action, so it can require practising and training to ensure you maintain confident body language. Examples of confident body language might include sitting with a straight back, maintaining eye contact, keeping your hands out of your pockets and avoiding fidgeting. Presenting good body language can reflect your skills, such as confidence, communication and professionalism. The most effective methods of improving your body language are usually to practise postures and be mindful of your possible adverse body language habits.

Related: How to Introduce Yourself in an Interview

7. Study the job description

The job description can be an excellent resource for identifying employment requirements and expectations. It typically highlights the formal qualifications, experience, skills and education required for the vacant position. If you identify these requirements, you can plan relative and accurate answers during the interview that address the job description. A job description can also contain the typical job responsibilities, so if the interviewer asks you several questions about the job, you can mention specific tasks and duties. This can highlight your initiative and motivation to prepare for the interview.

8. Research the hiring organisation

You might receive interview questions specific to the hiring organisation, such as 'What is your motivation for applying to this company?'. You can plan effective answers by researching the hiring organisation. This can help you identify their typical values, morals, policies and employee expectations. You can implement these organisational aspects into your answers, which can show your commitment to the organisation. For example, if the organisation values teamwork and collaboration, you may mention prior work experience where you enjoyed and utilised teamwork to achieve company goals.

Related: What's an Informational Interview? (Definition and Benefits)

9. Be respectful

Showing respect to your interviewers can be an important aspect of a job interview. Similar to being enthusiastic, your display of respect can highlight your interpersonal skills, such as professionalism and integrity. If the hiring manager believes you're respectful, they may determine your personality is suitable for the organisation's culture and existing employee base. Some hiring organisations may prefer candidates with excellent interpersonal skills rather than advanced technical skills. This is because some technical skills might be easier to develop than personality skills.

10. Wear appropriate attire

The type of clothing you wear for an interview can reflect your levels of professionalism. To determine appropriate attire, you can consider the job description, industry and hiring organisation. Some organisations might have higher expectations regarding professional attire. Dressing smartly is usually a good idea regardless of the industry or hiring organisation. The formality of the interview might also determine the type of clothes you wear. Some interviews might be informal, such as an interview at a café or restaurant. It can still be a good idea to dress smartly, but they may have fewer expectations for formal attire.

Related: Your Guide to Interview Attire for Women (With Examples)

What to expect in a job interview

It can be important to understand that the structure of an interview can often vary depending on the style of the interview. For example, some interviews may be formal, informal, online or in a group setting. Below, you can find the structure of a typical formal job interview:

Waiting period

There's typically a common waiting area where you may sit until it's your time for an interview. There's usually a waiting period when the hiring organisation interviews multiple candidates in a single day. During this waiting period, you may review your interview materials, such as a cheat sheet job description, resume, cover letter and practise answers.

Introductory phase

When it's your time for an interview, the interviewer may conduct an introductory phase. During this phase, they may briefly explain the job responsibilities, typical employment requirements and what the organisation expects from candidates. The interviewer may also ask you general formality questions, such as 'How are you?' or 'How are you feeling?'. You can consider answering truthfully. If you're nervous, don't be afraid to mention this. It can highlight your honesty and might also help you calm your nerves.

Related: How to Succeed in an Informal Interview (With Steps)

Interview questions

After the introductory period, the interviewer may ask you questions about your personality, experience, expertise and qualifications. These questions are usually to determine your suitability for the vacant position. The interviewer may ask you questions and expect specific responses, or they may ask broad questions that can involve subjective answers. In your answers, it can be a good idea to relate them closely to the employment requirements, hiring organisation and typical job responsibilities.


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Candidate questions

After the interviewer asks you job questions, they may ask if you have questions about the organisation or job. You can ask questions about aspects that the interviewer didn't mention or that you don't fully understand. Example questions might include, 'Is overtime expected?' or 'What is the typical amount of hours I can expect to work each week?'.

Related: 10 Examples of Unique Interview Questions to Ask an Employer

Candidate grading

The interviewer may rank your interview performance against other candidates during or after the interview. An interviewer usually has a checklist with items that require grading. These items might include the candidate's expertise, experience, skills, personality and overall behaviour. The organisation may contact you regarding the next recruitment phase if you rank highly.


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