Helpful Interview Tips
Updated : January 24th, 2018
Are you a recent graduate who’s looking for a job? Have you been looking for a change of jobs to upgrade your skill set? Or have you left your previous job and now in search of employment? Regardless of the category you fall under, these interview tips will come in handy for the next interview you attend.
11 Helpful Interview Tips
These interview tips don’t require much of your time or effort. Use these tips while preparing for the interview as well as on the day of the interview to effortlessly get through interviews.
1. Prepare to Ace the Basics
There are a few questions that are inevitably asked at every job interview. Make a note of these questions and prepare answers for each one of them. You can also write down your answers and then say it out loud to know how impressive it sounds.
Here are some of the most common questions asked in interviews:
- Q: Tell me about yourself
A: My name is <first name>. I did my elementary school at <school name> Elementary and then went to <school name> school. After graduating from high school, I went to <university name> University to pursue my interests in <name the field of study>. I then took up a job as a <role name> at <company name>. After working there for <xx> months/years, I moved jobs and took up a role as <role name> at <company name.
- Q: Why do you want to join this company?
A: I’ve taken as much as I could at my previous/current role and company and grown as an individual and a professional, now I want to learn more. I’m aware of this company’s work environment, the opportunities it presents to its employees, and how it inculcates growth. This is the reason why I want to join this company.
- Q: What are the skills that you possess that set you apart from the crowd?
A: I am extremely patient, a quality that is not very common these days. My patience helps avoid misunderstandings, helps calm situations, and take level-headed decisions at all times.
- Q: Name a few of your strengths. Narrate past experiences to support them.
A: I’m a team player, confident, and have good communication skills.
Once a teammate was burdened with a lot of work that was due by the end of the day. I took up a sizable portion of her tasks and also requested our teammates to join in and help her. We helped her finish the task on time.
- Q: What do you consider to be your greatest weakness?
A: I find it hard to meet very high targets.
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years I want to be heading the <team name> of the company.
There are some more questions that could be asked in an interview
- Q: Why are you leaving your current job?
People’s reasons to move jobs vary. Here are answers to some of the most common questions.
A: I moved from <area name> to <area name> a couple of months back because I bought a new home. I’ve been finding the commute a little too hectic. So I’ve been looking for a place that’s closer to home.
I’ve grown to the maximum potential that my current/previous employer could offer me. I’m looking for an environment that is more challenging and where I can learn more.
I was working in <city name> and my spouse got transferred here. Since we were moving here, I had to leave my previous job.
- Q: Why does this role interest you?
A: In this role I see myself utilizing all the skills that I already possess and see the scope to implement my newly acquired skills (from a course that I just completed).
- Q: Describe your work style.
A: Structured and Fast: I begin my day by spending the first 5 minutes planning it out. Then I make a list of tasks that I need to complete and allot time for each one of them. Only once I’m done with my tasks, I take a break. I come back from my break and review my work with my manager.
- What are your requirements in terms of salary?
I’m looking at a 30% increase in my salary which is within the industry standards.
- Would you like to add anything that we didn’t cover?
I’d like to tell you that I have 4 children, one of whom will be going to university this year.
- Is there anything you would like to ask us?
I’d like to know to whom I would be reporting to and what my daily tasks would be.
Make sure that all your answers remain under one minute. Don’t ramble, keep your answers concise and articulate. This will give your interviewer the impression that your answer is well thought through.
2. Research about the company
Regardless of how new/old the company is, it’s always good to know about the company before attending an interview. It not only shows the interviewer that you are interested in the job but it also helps you understand what the work life in the company is like.
Run a search on the company and see what it’s known for. Read about the company, its products, and the team on sites like glassdoor.com, vault.com, and indeed.com. If the company has a blog, read through the posts, it’ll give you a feel of the company. See if the company has been featured in the press, who are its competitors, what its sec filings are (if it is a public company; you can do this on sec.com). You can also look up the company on LinkedIn and check to see if you have any mutual connections. Talk to them and find out what the work culture is like and if there’s anything that you should know before interviewing.
3. Don’t Underdress or Overdress
You’ve always heard, “there’s no such thing as overdressing for an interview”. Overdressing for an interview could give out the impression that you don’t understand the culture at the workplace. That’s why it’s important to research a little about the company. Before attending the interview, figure out the dress code, and go one notch more formal.
If the people in the company dress in casuals like jeans and T-shirt, wear a blazer with flats. And if it’s flats-and-a-blazer kind of place, dress in business casuals. Just make sure to go one step more formal than the dress code.
4. Keep it Conversational
While attending an interview, keep it conversational. It’s not a test. It’s just one person trying to find a match for an open role. Don’t let your answers sound like speeches. Avoid speech patterns and buzzwords. When you hear the question, flip the question over in your mind, it’s okay to think out loud as you do so. You can flip the conversation back to your interviewer by asking him/her if they think the same. Interact with your interviewer, don’t let it be the same old boring question-answer-question-answer. Your interviewer is someone getting by another workday, break the monotony and make it fun for him/her.
Make sure to not go overboard or lead the conversation astray or come off as someone who’s overconfident.
5. Run a Social Media Check
Check your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any other social media handles to check what kind of posts you’ve made. Interviewers often scan their prospective employee’s social media profiles. If there are sexist, racist or any other kind of memes or comments or embarrassing pictures that you’ve posted that could put you in a negative light with the interviewer, take them off.
You can also google your full name to see what content pops up.
6. Use the Products & Services
Interviewers like it when the candidate they’re interviewing is prepared. Use the product/service of the company. Get a feel of what the company’s into. Companies are always happy to receive constructive feedback.
7. Arrive at the Venue Early and Prepared
Reach the venue on time if not early. Download directions to the venue and anticipate traffic delays in advance. You don’t want to get to the interview late or sweating and panting. Don’t get to the venue too early, reaching 5 to 10 minutes in advance is ideal. Turn off your phone before your interview begins. You don’t want it buzzing or ringing during the interview.
8. Take Mock Interviews
Practice for your interview with your friends or family. If one of them has experience with interviewing employees, even better. These practice or mock interviews will give you a greater level of confidence and also provide you with the chance to experiment with different answers and hear how you sound. Ask for feedback on your answers, what could be avoided, and body language. Request the mock interviewer to ask you a few offbeat questions so you know how well you can think on our feet.
9. Checklist of the Documents
Make sure to carry 5 or 6 copies of the required documents on the day of your interview. The required documents include:
- List of references (include each person’s title, company, and contact information such as phone number and email ID)
- Reference letters
- Samples of your work like writings, design layouts, etc. (Be sure to not give out any confidential information about your current employer)
After providing the employer with your professional references, contact the references and give them a heads up on the company and the job position.
10. Schedule for the Right Window
The best time to interview, according to Glassdoor, is at 10:30 AM on Tuesday. On Mondays, employees are usually gearing up for the week, while on Fridays they are preparing to wind down for the weekend. The same principle applies to the first and last slots of the day. The interviewer has other responsibilities beyond hiring. Similarly, it’s best to avoid the slot just before noon as your interviewer could be too hungry to concentrate; or the slot immediately after lunch as they could be in a food coma.
However, in circumstances where the decision needs to be made quickly, it’s best to pick the earliest slot available. Decisions are often guided to those options that are presented first when there are immediate requirements.
11. Prepare for the Unexpected
When faced with the unexpected at an interview, remind yourself that this is an interview and not an actual situation. Keep your cool, take your time before you answer. Don’t feel pressured to answer quickly and say the first thing that pops up in your mind. Some interviewers ask questions that help them understand the personality of the candidate. Some such questions are:
- Tell me about someone you admire.
- How many people are flying in the US right now?
- If you were a boss, what kind of people would you hire?
- What bothers you most about other people.
- Tell me about a colleague that you really got along with.
These questions aren’t always asked at interviews, but if you’re asked a question, it’s always good to know how to answer unexpected questions.
Use these tips for your next interview and be sure to notice the difference in your performance. We wish you all the luck in your next interview.
You can gain additional tips by interacting with people in similar situations or experts in the field at our Community Forums if you have any queries regarding unemployment insurance.