Get to know the job intimately that you’re applying for. Don’t just read the job description—study it and picture yourself performing every task required of you. When you interview, framing your responses so that you reveal your significant knowledge about the job gives you a massive advantage.
3. …And Know What Makes You A Great Fit For It
Know exactly what makes you fit into the position perfectly and speak to it during the interview. What you makes you special? It could be that you’re an idea machine, or a statistical fanatic. Whatever it is, know it and prepare to fit it into your responses.
For example, when an interviewer asks, “What are your strengths?” skip the clichés and go right into qualities about you that are unique to the job. You’ll make it clear that you’re the perfect fit.
4. Know the Company
No matter how prepared you are to talk about yourself, not knowing the essentials of the company you’re interviewing for conveys a lack of preparation and interest. You can’t show an interviewer how you’ll fit in the company until you know the company.
Before your interview, delve deeply into the company website to build a strong mental foundation. Make sure you know the basics; how the company makes money, the top executives, and what the company aims to accomplish in the near future (strategic objectives). Go online and read recent news articles about the company. Also check out their Twitter and Facebook pages.
5. Prepare a List of Follow-On Questions
Prepare a list of follow-on interview questions and outline key points you will touch on if asked these questions. For example, if you say your biggest strength is time-management, you need to be ready for the interviewer to ask something like, “What does this strength look like in action?” This preparation will make your responses more pointed, avoid awkward silences and uncertainty, and it will build your confidence prior to the interview.
6. Practice, Practice, Practice
You, and everyone else interviewing for the job, already know many of the questions you’ll be asked. The difference lies in preparation. Preparing unique and position-specific responses will give you the competitive edge over everyone else. You don’t need to memorize answers, but instead know certain points of reference about yourself that you can apply to different questions.
Make sure to “mock interview” yourself. Video your responses until you’re able to speak comfortably and flexibly—as opposed to rotely regurgitating answers—about your prepared topics. Videoing yourself may feel awkward when you do it, but it will pay off during your interview.
If you can’t relax during your interview, then nothing you do to prepare will matter. Being yourself is essential to the selection process, and interviewers will feel it if you’re too nervous. Showing fear or anxiety appears weak compared to a relaxed smile and genuine confidence. Numerous studies show that smiling not only increases your happiness and confidence, but it also puts the people you’re interacting with at ease. This is mostly due to mirror neurons in the brain that naturally mimic other people’s expressions and emotions.
Pulling this off requires emotional intelligence (EQ), a skill that employers are increasingly looking for in candidates. And it’s no surprise, as 90% of top performers on the job are high in EQ. Working on your EQ can also help you to make more money, as people with high EQs earn $29,000 more annually on average.
8. Stay Positive
It may seem obvious that maintaining positivity is essential in an interview, but it can be very difficult to do when discussing some topics. It’s tough to be positive when describing difficult bosses or coworkers from your past, or explaining why you were fired from your previous job, but that’s exactly what employers want to see in you. Show them that you can maintain a positive attitude about a challenging environment, and they’ll see the resilient and flexible individual they’re looking for.
9. Be Honest
Good interviewers have a way of getting to the crux of who you are. They may have an innate sense for reading people, or they might just be really good at asking the right questions. Regardless, it’s essential to approach your interview with honesty.
If you interview dishonestly, you’ll either not get the job when the interviewer sees right through you, or you’ll end up in a job that’s a poor fit. Don’t focus on what you think the interviewer wants to hear. Instead focus on giving an honest and passionate breakdown of what you have to offer.