6 Ways to Nail the Interview

by Kim Myles

October 7th, 2021

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Navigating through the job interview process can seem like a minefield. You make one wrong move and you’re out. When you follow the right steps, you can avoid pitfalls many succumb to before, during, and after a job interview. The reason some people fail a interview is due to lack of having a preparation strategy. There are several steps you should take to increase your chances of a callback. If you want to be employer’s top contender, these following tips can help you seal the deal.

Be Your Own Cheerleader

A job interview is an opportunity to sell your best qualities. Are you the type of person who likes to show up early to work? Do you use the extra time to prepare? These are some things employers appreciate. Explain to them why time is valuable to you. Give some examples. It will help to establish credibility. Remember, employers are looking for the best fit. It is your job to convince them why you’re it.

“Credibility is established very simply. Tell people who you are or what you do. And finally, remind people that you are what in fact you say you are.”

Words That Work It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear by Dr. Fank Luntz

Use positive words to describe your qualities. Some suggestions are:

1. Reliable

2. Hardworking

3. Efficient

4. Quick-Learner

5. Flexible

6. Disciplined

7. Self-Motivated

Market Yourself

Most job interviews are between 5-7 minutes long. Don’t waste them.

Highlighting experience that applies to the position you are seeking is key. Briefly list your roles, day-to-day responsibilities of current, or prior jobs. Mention any related education, courses, workshops, seminars, volunteer work, internships, certifications, etc. They might increase your chances of being hired.

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Talk about your career accomplishments or awards if applicable. Hobbies may be worth pointing out, especially if it correlates with a specific job field. For example, a person seeking a bank teller position, who is also a coin collector or club treasurer, are some examples.  

Know Your Stuff

I’ve witnessed individuals who’d show up for an interview and not know anything about the position. You want to give yourself every chance to prepare for an opportunity that may change your life. During your job search, take the time to find out about the job’s title and list of requirements if available. It will give you an idea if you can commit to the job and its duties. It is likely interviewers are meeting with multiple candidates, so you don’t want to waste their time or yours.

Learn about the company or person who is hiring. Some questions you can research, who is the owner? How long was the company in business? What is their mission? Research is important. It will let you know exactly what the company is looking for. Understanding their needs will let you know if they are in alignment with yours. Here, research is for your benefit too.

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Check out the company’s website if they have one. Also, look online for customer service reviews. It will broaden your view of other’s experience with the business.  

How to Organize Your Portfolio

Organizing your portfolio in advance is a timesaving measure. If you are applying for various positions, make sure you have a few resume templates ready. It can save you the trouble of creating a resume from scratch, while having to prepare for interviews as well. You don’t want to turn down an opportunity because you don’t have one available.

“When you’re writing the perfect resume, it should be tailored to support a specific job goal. One of the best ways to ensure your resume is properly positioned is to identify sample job descriptions that you’re interested in and qualified to perform.”

Amanda Augustine/ Top Resume

Cover letters are also important. Consider it as an introduction to the company you’re applying for. You get one time to make a first impression. On your cover letter, be sure to list the position you are seeking, short list your qualifications, contact information and not too pushy expectations for a follow-up.

Keeping your resume up-to-date will keep you organized. It’s useful to make any necessary changes at the end of your employment. Describe the duties of your prior position. Remember to write descriptions in past tense. Check employment dates. Update any samples you may have.

The aim is to first put your best foot forward, on paper.

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Expect Questions

Employers want to know who their candidates are. They might ask how you think, feel, or would react in certain work-related situations during a interview. Focus on supplying information that is relatable to the job or company you are applying for. You don’t want to over share, but moderate details to give efficient answers. Limit your answers to 10-15 seconds if possible.

Some common questions interviewers may ask:

1. Tell me about yourself.

You can check the list of positive qualities above to describe yourself. Talk about your accomplishments. It’s a good idea to stay away from discussing your family/personal life, opinions, or leisure activities, unless they are pertinent. It’s advisable not to impress that your lifestyle may interfere with your work duties.

2. Why should I hire you?

Use the best tools in your arsenal to answer this question. Depending on the position, mention your relevant experience, awards, or education. Discussing what makes you unique as an individual is also important. Talk about a special talent or ability of yours. It may put you ahead of the pack.

3. Why did you leave your last job?

For some, this may be a tricky question. Let’s say you left your last job on bad terms. It might not be necessary to give a blow by blow account. You don’t want employers to view you as a liability. You could say your goals were no longer in alignment with the company’s. Seeking career change is another reason. If you quit your prior job because you didn’t like it, it may be a better idea to say you were seeking advancement.

4. Do you have questions?

There are two important questions you should ask your interviewer. First, ask them to give their opinion on the challenges of the position and how they would overcome them. Second, ask what could you contribute, if hired, to help expand the company’s success. Keep these answers in mind. They may come in handy if you’re hired.

How to Boost Your Confidence Before an Interview

Confidence is crucial part of a job interview. People usually can spot a confident individual. It’s clear in the ways some speak, walk or carry themselves. For those who struggle with confidence, I have a few suggestions:

1. Be your own cheerleader. Often, we look to others for validation. The funny thing about self-confidence is it rubs off on others. When you show self-value and self-appreciation, people often look to you to for their validation.

2. Review your past accomplishments. Being able to do things that once were a challenge builds confidence. If you believe in yourself, obstacles become less threatening. Anything is possible until you say it isn’t.

3. Dress the part. Make sure your outfit is interview appropriate. If you look good, you feel good. It’s important to feel comfortable in your clothes. Tight-fitting or stained clothing can be distractions.

“Your attention to detail suggests that you have made every effort for your job interview. Think about your nails, your accessories, your shoes. Nothing is less impressive than a pair of scuffed shoes teamed with a crisp and professional suit.”

Best Job Interview https://www.best-job-interview.com/dress-for-an-interview.html

4. Overall, relax and don’t overthink it. It may lead to nervousness and anxiety. These both are confident killers. Being unfocused may also cause you to ruin your chances.

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Preparing in advance can help ease anxieties. It will also increase your chances of hearing the words “you’re hired”. To nail the interview, remember these 6 tips :

  • Convey any necessary information that will help you get the position (qualifications, experience, or training).
  • Work on marketing your best qualities. Ask yourself, why are you the best choice? Don’t be modest.
  • Anticipate questions your interviewer may ask. (Check the list of interview questions in this article for some you may expect.)
  • Update your portfolio (resume, cover letter or email, follow-up/thank you letter or email, references, samples, etc.). Make sure it contains all updated information. (It’s a good idea to do this after leaving a job. You want to be ready for future opportunities as they come your way.)
  • Research the position and company. Educate yourself to know what you are signing up for.   
  • Be confident.

Be your best. Expect the best. Good Luck!

Comment or share experiences from your career journey in the reply section below.



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