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Interview Skills And Tips To Get You Hired

Updated: June 19, 2024 | Published: June 20, 2021

Updated: June 19, 2024

Published: June 20, 2021

Interview Skills And Tips To Get You Hired feature image

It may not seem like it, but interviewing is a real art. Although the prospect of interviewing for your dream job, or any job, can seem overwhelming, you can enter the room (or videochat) prepared. By mastering the interview skills we’re going to share here, you’ll be ready for whatever position you’re looking to attain.

source: unsplash

How to Prepare for an Interview

You’d never show up to anything important without preparation. A job (or school) interview falls under this same category of thinking. But how do you prepare for an interview when you don’t know what will be asked?

The truth is there is a lot of variation in interviews, but they all do generally follow somewhat of a similar pattern. Here are a few things you can do in advance of the big day so that you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way:

  • Read the job description over and be sure you understand the requirements and duties. This way, you can position your interview answers accordingly.
  • You can perform some online research to find common interview questions based on the industry that you’re in.
  • Practice answering these questions aloud to yourself or with a friend. You can even record yourself and play it back to ensure you’re coming across as confident. It’s likely for an interviewer to ask you about specific milestones of your past, challenges you overcame, and the like. Have these stories ready to go.
  • Be sure to research the company. Factors to pay attention to include their mission, founding history, and current projects. You’ll be able to create some follow-up questions of your own based on this information for your interviewer.

source: unsplash

Interview Tips To Get Hired

No matter the role you’re interviewing for, there are standards in any industry to upkeep. It’ll never be the case that you’re the only person applying for the job, so there’s undoubtedly bound to be competition. For this reason, you need to set yourself apart and be memorable.

At the same time, it’s useful to remember that an interview isn’t just about finding out if you’re the right person for the job. It also gives you the opportunity and space to learn more about the position and company culture. It’s a two-way street to see if you’re a good match for the position, and also if the position is a good match for you.

Keep in mind these interviews skills and tips that are bound to make you successful in your endeavor:

1.   Perform research on the company and interviewer

Don’t fly blind. It’s possible for an interviewer to ask you why you specifically want this role at this company. This is a question you should be ready to answer strongly. The only way to do so is if you properly research the company and interviewer in advance.

For some ideas on how to conduct this research, consider visiting the business’ website and reading through the pages, reviewing their social media accounts (especially LinkedIn), checking what employees have to say about the company (on platforms like Glassdoor), and even seeing if there’s been any recent news about the company.

2.   Dress for the part

Every company has its own dress code. You can get a good idea of what the expectations are based on industry, however.

For example, many tech startups will allow their employees to wear jeans and zip-up jackets, but this isn’t likely to be acceptable in a law firm. Based on the role you’re applying for and the industry, dress accordingly for the position. It’s always better to overdress than be underdressed for an interview. Be sure your clothes are ironed, clean, and appropriate.

3.   Be an active listener

Sure, in an interview, you’ll be doing a lot of the talking as the interviewee to answer questions. Yet, there will be opportunities for you to ask questions and also listen to what the interviewer has to say.

Practice active listening by making eye contact, pausing before providing answers, asking for any clarification of a question you may not have understood, and restating the question as part of your answer.

4.   Be confident, not cocky

Confidence is key in an interview. After all, you’re there to show that you’re the best candidate for the job. But there’s a fine line between confidence and cockiness. No one knows it all. Rather than pretending you do, go in with the knowledge that you know what you know and can make a difference for the team. At the same time, show that you’re willing to learn and excited to grow.

5.   Take your time

Many interviewees think they have to have the answers ready in a heartbeat after the question is asked. There’s absolutely no harm in pausing before providing an answer. You can also let the interviewer know you’d like to think for a moment before you respond. This is a great way to display your intention and amount of care in formulating your answer.

6.   Review your own resume

In many cases, the first part of an interview will entail you going through your own resume and sharing things that aren’t specifically listed. A resume has the highlights, but it doesn’t provide the full story. This is where your words come into play. Focus on the value you added to each position. If there’s a gap in your resume, be sure to explain why.

7.   Ask questions

Most interviews culminate with the opportunity for you to ask your questions to the interviewer. Always take advantage of this chance!

There are common example questions that bode well to ask during this time, which include (but are not limited to):

    1. How would you judge success in this position?
    2. What is the typical work week?
    3. What are the biggest challenges in this position? Also, what are the biggest challenges in your position? (It’s always a good idea to ask interviewers about their own experience. After all, people tend to enjoy talking about themselves!)
    4. What’s a typical day like in this role?
    5. How many people are part of the team?
    6. Who would I report to?
    7. Is there growth potential?

Next Steps: Must Dos After an Interview

Once you shake hands or end the video chat, you’re not done with the interview process just yet. Don’t forget to complete the following:

  • Send a thank-you note

You can do this via email and/or a hand-written note that gets sent in the mail. The reason for sending both is because a hand-written note takes time to arrive, but your interviewer will have already moved on to the next candidate. You don’t want them to ever think that you missed this step.

  • Follow up

At the end of your interview, you can ask bluntly when you should expect to hear back whether or not you’ve been hired. While there’s no specific time by which you should follow up, a standard rule of thumb is to check in after a week. Send over a concise email to follow up.

Final Thoughts

The interview process may be fast or slow. You could have to go through multiple rounds with different interviewers or possibly be offered the job on the spot. Every company is different.

As long as you know how to improve interview skills, you can always enter the room ready to go. Remember to have patience throughout the experience — what is meant to be yours will be yours!

At UoPeople, our blog writers are thinkers, researchers, and experts dedicated to curating articles relevant to our mission: making higher education accessible to everyone.