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How to ace a job interview: tips and examples

Applying for either an entry-level position or a senior position requires one to interview with a potential employer. To increase your chance of getting your dream job you must showcase your skills and qualifications during the interview. A Job Interview is a great opportunity to prove that you are the right candidate for the role whether it is a senior executive role or entry-level position, and you have got what it takes to be whatever you want to be. As a matter of fact, acing a job interview is a skill itself and there are a couple of ways to hone that skill.

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for a successful interview

  1. Prepare in advance, do some research

Research about the company’s goals, culture, values, get knowledge on what the company deals with, their clients and their organizational structure. Browse their website to find out on their latest news or upcoming developments, read about their reviews. Get an inside scoop through your connections to gather more information about your potential employer. You can reach your connections through LinkedIn and inquire of their interview process. This will give you an advantage over the other applicants during a job interview.

  1. Review and understand the job description

Understand what skills and qualifications are required from the job description and tie your background with it. With the job description, you will explain your fitness for the job and align your skills with the description. Keywords to look for are, job requirements such as skills, level of experience required and the responsibilities.

  1. Take some time to practice on how you will answer the questions

Most people say practice makes perfect; this is very accurate. Browse through the website to find out common interview questions and how to answer them. Write the best responses on a piece of paper and read them aloud while recording yourself. You can practice with a friend, ask for their feedback, and let them check your body language. Make sure to align your answers with the job requirements. Doyle suggests that having an idea of what you are going to say will help you frame a solid response.

Prepare a list of questions you would wish to ask the employer to get a grasp of how the working environment. This will help you assess if you would want to work for that company. This also shows you are interested in the job.

The more you practice the more you get the confidence to tackle any questions that will be thrown your way. You will be confident and will not hesitate to answer any questions. Likewise, you will impress the hiring team with your credence.

  1. Learn the STAR method for answering behavioural questions

The STAR method can be explained as a structured manner of responding to a behavioural-based interview question by discussing the specific situation, task, action and result of the situation you are describing.

Situation: Discuss the situation you experienced, either a task you were given to perform and be specific. Give a brief description of a situation from either your current job or previous job.

Task: Describe the specific role you were given to perform.

Action: Describe the steps you took to perform the task, give clear descriptions of how you particularly contributed and the processes you followed.

Result: Describe the outcome of your performance, take credit for what you accomplished, describe the success of the task, and make sure you give positive remarks for the results.

Also, give examples that will paint you in a positive light.

You can also research some agencies which offer training on how to answer interview questions and behavioural questions to get an insight into how to have a successful interview.

How to prepare for a behavioural interview

  • Recall events that led to positive results in your line of work either from current or previous employers.
  • Write them down in detail and give a detail description of the outcome.
  • Make sure to give positive results and be as honest as possible.
  • Give as many examples as possible from similar situations.
  1. Know the type of interview

An interview could consist of psychometric assessment tests which are aimed to give insight into one’s personality and behavioural styles, video or phone interviews and all require you to use technology. Make sure that your internet connectivity is on, your headphones or speaker is working perfectly, and there is no noise.

  1. Dress Appropriately

McKay & McKay in an article stated that you want to put your best foot forward during your interview, and your appearance is a big part of that.

To give a good first impression, you must dress very presentable, very well-groomed, and professional. Men should wear dark complete suits and women knee-length skirt suits. Make sure the clothes are clean, limit accessories and wear nice fitting clothes which are not too tight or too loose. Make sure to brush your shoes and shine then. For casual work, you can dress in business casual attires example would be khaki pants and an official shirt. Your aim is to impress the employer and look as professional as possible.

  1. Arrive on time during the Interview

One attribute the employer will look for in an applicant is how reliable they are. Employers will want to know if the person they hire will be punctual and not tardy. It is always appropriate to arrive at the job interview 10 – 15 minutes earlier. If you get an emergency and will run late make sure to let the interviewer know. In some instances, the interviewer will keep you waiting just be calm, it is their prerogative and try not to be perturbed.

  1. Etiquette during the Interview

Smile and be courteous during the interview, give firm handshakes and maintain eye contact, use courteous words such as ‘Thank you’ and ‘nice to meet you’. Avoid flattering words and raunchy stories instead use the right choice of words and have a charming demeanour.

  1. Be calm and avoid anxiety

Squash any anxiety you may have before you enter the interview room. Try taking some deep breaths. Drinking a glass of water will help calm you down, sit upright on your chair and avoid touching yourself. The preparation beforehand will boost your confidence and will help you feel more confident during the interview.

  1. Follow up after the interview

Send a thank-you email after the job interview. Ask for feedback from the employer about the status of your interview. McKay & McKay suggest that last impressions count nearly as much as first impressions do. If you do not get any feedback, try sending another email within two weeks after the job closes and make sure to show your interest in the job.

Examples of common interview questions and answers

  1. Tell me about yourself?

Share your experience, skills, education background, and your personality trait.

Sample

As an ER nurse, the best way for me to de-stress is to relax outdoors, rain or shine. I have always been an avid hiker, nature photographer and trout fisher, and one of my favourite things to do is to volunteer with the U.S. I lead in group hiking’s on some of Mt. Baker’s more challenging trails. My next goal is to climb Mt. Rainier next summer. Being outdoors never fails to renew my spirit so that I can be the best ER nurse I can be.

  1. Why should we hire you?

They want to know if you are fit for the job and if your skills and qualifications align with the requirements.

You should hire me because my experience perfectly aligns with the requirements you asked for in your job listing. I have seven years of experience in the hospitality industry. Advancing from my initial role as a front desk associate with Excalibur Resort to my current position as a concierge. I am good at providing world-class customer service to an upscale clientele, and I pride myself on my ability to quickly resolve problems so that our guests enjoy their time with us.

  1. What is your strength

They are curious to know how you will perform your tasks using your knowledge and skills.

Sample

As a cybersecurity specialist, my greatest strength is my curiosity. I love researching the latest technology trends so that I can be ahead with critical information on technology systems. I requested my employer to fund my participation in quarterly information technology conferences to get more insight into the latest technology world. This has allowed me to build a network of leaders in that field so that I can seek professional help in case of any arising threats.

Be sure to check out our article on tips to ace a technical interview.

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