Job interviews — some people love ‘em, some people hate ‘em. Regardless of your feelings about them, they are unavoidable. Whether you think of interviews as the worst version of a first date (no food at all) or the best version of a first date (chance to start something special), everyone could use some tips on how to do well in a job interview. KSL Jobs has the job interview advice you need to put your best foot forward in the search process and get that much closer to getting an offer.
What to do before your interview
Research the company
Learning about the company you’re applying to will help you know if it is a good fit for you, and vice versa. You probably won’t need to memorize the founder’s hometown and favorite snack (Akron, Pringles), but interviewers still like to know that you’ve taken a genuine interest in the company and its culture beyond a surface level.
Research the role
Most of the interview will be centered around the role you’re applying for — your future responsibilities, your past experience, your relevant strengths and weaknesses. You’ll be able to answer questions more easily and honestly if you understand what the company is expecting out of an applicant.
Think of what questions you’ll ask and answer
Think of industry- or role-specific questions you may be asked. By preparing talking points for those questions, you’ll be able to answer them or any related questions more easily when the time comes. You should also prepare a few questions to ask at the end of the interview to demonstrate your interest. Not too many though — remember, your interviewers are busy too.
Dress for success
You can probably leave the suit at home for that barista position, but it’s a good rule of thumb to try and look as nice as possible for any interview. There are situations where you may want to dress up or down (looking at the company’s “About” page can help you determine this), but when in doubt, it’s hard to go wrong with a nice, clean, business or business casual look. Pants are still recommended for virtual interviews, and strongly recommended for in-person job interviews.
Prepare to your comfort level
Some people feel more comfortable when they’ve memorized nearly every word in the job description. Others feel more comfortable trusting their instincts and expertise. If you’ve done the above prep work, feel free to approach the rest of your preparation in whatever way makes you feel confident, comfortable and helps calm any job interview nerves you may have.
Prepare your virtual set up
If you’re interviewing virtually, make sure you’ve got a private space to conduct your interview. You don’t want anyone barging in, unless that person is your adorable puppy who wandered in totally by accident *wink.* Make sure your internet connection is solid, too. “I think I’d be a great asset to your team” sounds a lot better than “I think I’m frozen.”
What to do during your interview
Get there early
This tip only applies to in-person job interviews (unless you want to sit in an empty Zoom room and make small talk with an imaginary secretary). Avoid showing up late at all costs. Even if bad traffic or a misplaced pair of keys is to blame, it’s not a good way to start things off. Expect the unexpected and give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview site.
Stay engaged, present and positive
Listen attentively when others are talking, keep up eye (or screen) contact and maintain a positive demeanor. Your answers and expertise will make a big impression on your interviewer(s), but so will your attitude — make it a good one. “I liked them!” carries more weight than you might think.
Take your time and answer questions thoughtfully
“Uh, that’s a good question, see the thing is, um, well … ” isn’t the strong start to an answer your brain is telling you. The urge to answer quickly is a very real one — you want to appear knowledgeable and avoid an awkward, “Is your screen frozen?” silence. But interviewers would rather hear your ideas in a well thought out and coherent way than in a quick one.
Relax and be yourself
If you only pay attention to one rule, make it this one (and the pants thing). If you’ve landed the interview, it means they’re impressed enough with your experience and resume to give you a shot at the job. You know you’re the person for the job, so just be you.
What to do after the interview
Establish next steps
Get proper contact information, establish a timeframe for next steps and make a plan to send over any requested documents. Documents can be anything as simple as a portfolio or resume, or as detailed as a test assignment. If anything has been requested from you, remember that it’s the next step in the hiring process and treat it with importance.
Destress and relax
You did it! You were positive and thoughtful and you had pants on the whole time. Nice work. Interviews can take a lot out of you — few situations require being “on” in the same way for so long. Treat yourself to a favorite snack. Watch a few episodes of that new show. Go for a walk. Avoiding interview fatigue and job search burnout can help make the job hunt that much easier.
Send a follow-up email
You might hear a lot of opinions about when to send a follow-up email, but as long as you send it two to three business days after the interview, you shouldn’t need to worry. Other than that, simply thank them for their time and be sincere. The work has already been done on your part — a genuine appreciation for their time is the best thing you can do.
Search employment opportunities on KSL Jobs today and get one step closer to acing your next job interview.