How to Ace Your Next Job Interview

Do you know the phrase "you never get a second chance to make a first impression?" - well, that's never been more true than when it comes to a job interview.

A job interview is your chance to impress the person (or people) in front of you and convince them that you are the best person to get the job done right. When you have an interview scheduled, that’s the time that you should be using to prepare and plan to be the best candidate they interview.

First up: How to Prepare BEFORE the interview

Do some research on the company.

Take some time to browse the companies website and learn about their services, products and programs so that you’re able to reference them during your conversation with the hiring manager. It is also important that you understand some of their major projects or initiatives because quite often they'll put you on the spot and ask you what you know about them.

Other good things to know in advance of your interview include the company‘s mission and vision, who their customers are/who they serve, and how long they’ve been around.

Practice answering frequently asked interview questions.

Being well-prepared for an interview means being able to intelligently answer all of questions that the hiring manager throws your way. But questions should you be prepared to answer?

There are some common questions that you can expect to be asked, which include:

  • Tell me a about yourself.

  • Why do you want to work for this company?

  • Why should we hire you? or What makes you better than other candidates?

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

  • Where would you like to be in five years (or where do you see yourself in five years)?

  • What do you know about our company?

  • What is your top professional achievement?

  • Do you have any questions for me?

Reread the job description.

Just before you meet with the hiring manager, make sure you re-read the job description of the position that you applied for. Taking a moment to remind yourself of what the company is looking will ensure those details are fresh in your mind while you're conversing.

Have examples ready to go.

In interviews these days, hiring managers really want to get an idea of who you are, how you work and how you behave in job-related situations. That means that you should have examples of projects you've led/worked on and be ready to talk about your decision making and working with other people.

  • What was the last project you led and how did it turn out? What were the successes and hiccups of the project?

  • Give me an example of a time you messed up something at work. How did you handle and resolve that?

  • How do you handle working with people that you don't get along with?

  • Tell me about a time that you dealt with conflict or a major disagreement at a job?

  • Can you list some ideas you've had and that you implemented at a previous job?

Have at least four questions written down to ask your interviewer.

At the end of every interview, the hiring manager will ask if you have any questions for them. Rule of thumb: never say "no." You should always have questions to ask your interviewer because a person without questions comes off as nonchalant, not-serious or not-really-interested in the role.

If you're someone that struggles to think of questions to ask the hiring manager, here are a few you can keep in your back pocket that will make you seem curious, enthusiastic and genuinely interested in the role.

  • What do you feel are the most important things that the person in this role should be prepared to have done in the first 90 days?

  • Who do you see as the company's biggest competitor and why?

  • How would you describe the company culture and environment?

Also, while the person is answering questions, be sure to take notes on the things they're saying. It shows that you care about what they're taking the time to share with you and that you want to remember it.

Secondly: How to Shine DURING the interview

Dress for success (Yes, even for virtual interviews).

Looking the part goes a long way in helping you shine during an interview. And yes, you can even dress for success in a virtual (video) interview.

Things NOT to wear to in-person interviews:

  • Sneakers

  • Flip-flops

  • Tank tops

  • Shorts

  • Revealing tops or shirts with low necklines

  • Short skirts

Also, one thing that people typically aren't aware of is that you should never wear perfume or cologne to a job interview. Why is that?

Many people are scent-sensitive. That means that they have allergies to different smells or they could simply be turned off by certain smells. One thing you don't want to do is have a smell on that turns-off a hiring manager. Many companies have even implemented no-scent policies in the workplace to prevent people being overly fragrant. Rule of thumb: soap instead of perfume for interviews.

Virtual interview attire:

For video interviews, the answer is yes! Yes, you should wear pants. Ha! But in all seriousness, the interviewer will probably only see the top half of you, but it's still a best practice to have on pants in case you have to get up for any reason.

Be on time.

Timeliness is everything. In fact, a good practice to implement is to plan to be 10 minutes early to every in-person interview, and at least 5 minutes early for online, video interviews.

Smile, and be kind to everyone you encounter in the company.

Get ready to show some teeth. Smiling makes you approachable, and approachability is what it's about when you are interviewing for a new job.

Keep your answers short-ish, but comprehensive.

When your interviewer asks you questions, it's important that you don't ramble and go on and on with details. Your responses shouldn't typically go over a minute or two. Talking too much will surely lose the attention of the interviewer and you don't want them to stop listening to you.

Never EVER speak bad about a previous company or person at a company.

It doesn't matter how much you hated your last job or how bad you couldn't wait to leave. Your misery and bad boss experience is best kept to yourself. Badmouthing another employer makes you look

Thirdly: Standout AFTER the interview

Send a personalized than you letter to everyone that you met with.

Yes, it's fine to send an email, in fact, email is preferred as it's more timely and goes right to the interviewer(s) with no mail delays to worry about or postage needed. If you need help writing a thank you letter to your interviewer, no problem we have templates ready for you to drop your name in and send over.

If you need help preparing to interview or you want additional help on answering questions, get in touch with YourMentor.Co today! We'll get you prepared to shine in that interview to increase your chances of being the TOP CANDIDATE and the one that gets the gob.


"One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again."


—Abraham Maslow

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