How to Rock a Job Interview

I know there’s already a million blog posts on the web regarding what to do and not to do in job interviews, but I figured, what would one million and one hurt? So here are some tips I have found helpful at rocking a job interview.

Always be positive. Especially when being asked about why you are leaving your current company, always give a positive answer regardless of what the truth is. Never bash a former employer. Don’t say your employer was unfair or corrupt or uncaring. Don’t say you got sick of the work that you did, even if it is a different type of work. You never know the person interviewing you and what their personal history is. For example, if you say, “I just really got tired of watching children and wanted to switch out of the childcare field”, they might start considering whether the daycare workers at their own child’s daycare actually enjoy their job or whether they dislike the work they do. Remember that people tend to feel about you the way you make them feel about themselves. You never know whose toes you might be stepping on if you allow any sort of negativity to enter your narrative. Always keep it positive. “I am looking for a new challenge” is one that always works.

Learn enough about the company to give some facts about it. You should know what they do and a little about their history. You should be able to explain how your experience, skills, and talents fit the role for which the company is hiring. Remember, it’s not about what they can do for you (“These hours work great for my my schedule”) but instead what you can do for them (“I have 5 years of experience in the position you’re advertising and have certifications proving I have the technical knowledge required for the job”).

If you’ve never done the job for which you’re interviewing, consider roles and responsibilities you’ve held in other jobs that are similar. Connect the dots for the interviewer so they see that you are in fact capable of handling the job duties. Express your passion to expand your knowledge and broaden your expertise in a certain field.

Ask questions. Employers want you to ask questions. That lets them know you’re interested in the position and that you’ll be a good fit. Ask more about what the position entails, what a typical work day looks like, what the company culture is like, and, if you’re interested, how easy it is to move up in the company. Employers like hearing that candidates are interested in moving up because that lets them know you’re looking to stay somewhere for a while instead of jumping ship in six months.

Look confident and capable. Big, broad smiles. Good posture — shoulders back, back straight. Strong handshake (assuming it’s an in-person interview and it’s not the Covid Era). Build rapport with the interviewer. Most communication happens through body language, not words, and most people leave an impression of themselves within seconds of meeting a stranger. You want the interviewer to have a good feeling when they think about you. This unconscious bias can help you score the job, or, alternatively, lose the opportunity.

Answer all questions thoroughly and with detail. Many employers use the STAR method, which stands for situation, task, action, and result. Describe the situation, describe what you had to achieve, describe what you did to achieve it, and describe the end result. Be creative and twist truth if need be in order to answer the question. The worst thing you can say is “That didn’t apply in my last job” or “I’ve never had a situation like that.”

These are some tips that I have found help me stand out from the crowd when interviewing for a job. I hope they help you. Please share any tips that you have found beneficial when job-hunting.