Interview Tips Your Career Counsellor Never Told You

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You’ve heard the classic interview tip shpiel before: Bring your resume, prepare for questions about yourself, show up early. Those are all great rules to follow. But let’s be honest, we’ve heard those a million times before, and they’re quite… obvious.

It’s time to step up your interview game! With a little prep and a few unique strategies, you can take your interview skills from zero to one hundred in a snap.

Interview Prep.

Has “winging it” ever worked in your favor? Didn’t think so. Let’s be honest, preparing always has a better outcome. To really kill your interview, you need to prep.

Research your interviewer.
Use technology to your advantage and do a little online investigating. Come on, we’ve all done it before (whether we’d like to admit it or not). Just like you would on a blind date, it’s helpful to find out a little bit about the person before meeting them. Linkedin is the best place to conduct research on your hiring manager, as it will give you relevant information about them as it pertains to work.

Found a professional photo of your interviewer? Great! This can help you visualize what your interview will be like. This may seem insignificant, but the majority of your pre-interview jitters comes from not knowing what questions you’ll have to answer, what their personality is like, etc. The more of these variables you can eliminate, the easier it’ll be to stay calm and composed.

Another benefit of finding a work photo? You can dress in a similar style to your interviewer! “In a new workplace survey, 68% of managers admitted giving brownie points to candidates with similar taste in clothing.” If you get an idea of their professional style, try and emulate it.

See their bio on social media? Find commonalities in things like hobbies, hometown, friends in common, etc. Keep that info in your back pocket for small talk, but don’t mention you stocked them beforehand. You want to come off as friendly, not creepy!

Prepare for the “Tell me a little bit about yourself” question.
This question’s main purpose is to break the ice, but it’s also a way for the interviewer to get to know who you are. It’s also typically the first question asked, so it’s important to set a positive tone for the interview!

The good news is, this is an easy question. You can talk about where you are from, what school you are in or went to, what lead you to this career path, etc.

With that said, the key to answering this question properly is not to ramble on and on… you need to know what you’re talking about. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to summarize who you are in the context of being a professional in a few short sentences. Keep it casual before you dive into the real nitty gritty professional questions. It really works in your advantage if the interviewer gets to know you as a person rather than just a candidate.

When to schedule your interview.
You don’t always have the luxury of picking the date and time your interview will take place, but when you do, use it to your advantage!

Steer clear of early mornings. They can be rough. Your interviewer could be tired, groggy, or late. The end of the workday can be a struggle too. Your interviewer could be thinking about the commute home and daydreaming about their taco dinner.

Mondays are… Mondays. They speak for themselves.

So when is the best time to interview? A study by GlassDoor says Tuesday around 10:00 AM is prime time! #TurnUpTuesday

Interview Time

Now that you’ve done all of the prepping you can do, it’s game time. Here are a few unique tricks you can try during your interview to really wow the employer:

What do you do with your hands?
Here is the best way to handle those hands. By making them visible, it shows the employer that you’re open and you have nothing to hide. Don’t fidget with your pen or clothes, as it shows nervousness or even impatience. Talking with your hands excessively can also be distracting, so practice in the mirror to find a happy medium.

On the other hand (pun intended), keeping your palms facing up shows sincerity, and touching fingertips shows confidence.

Shake it off.
All interviewers are different. Some are stiff and formal, and others are laid back and chill. And of course, there are many in between. Feed off of the interviewer’s energy. If they are light and bubbly, you can be too! Are they making small talk? Go with it! Employers want to see that you’re comfortable. Naturally, if they tend to be a bit more “by the book”, emulate that by being more reserved.

Answer each question with an example.
When the interviewer asks you a question, give them a million dollar answer! Share examples of things you’ve done in the past, your skill sets, and accomplishments! Use every opportunity you have to talk about yourself.

While it’s important to be fully ready for the interview, don’t overdo it. The more you fuss over the big day, the more stress you’ll put on yourself. The most important thing to remember is, it’s just an interview. Do your best!

Feeling like you’re ready to take on an interview? Start the job hunt today with HigherMe.

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