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Top 12 Tips and Tricks for Acing a Job Interview

Taking the time to thoroughly prepare for a job interview is one of the most important things you can do to get hired. Knowing about the company, the job and why you’re the best candidate will help you get the job offer. There are also some little tricks and tips that will help make your interview go well.

We asked leading career experts, coaches and counselors to share their best tips for interviewing. Here are tips from the experts on how to ace a job interview in 2014.

Ask for Business Cards

During group interviews, ask for each person’s business card and lay the cards out in front of you to help you remember everyone’s name.
Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers and author of Happy About My Job Search

Be Prepared For the Question You Hope They Won’t Ask… But Will Ask.

Fired? Have a multi-year gap from being home? Lackluster company performance?  Horrible boss? Whatever is challenging about your background, be thoroughly prepared to proactively discuss it in a diplomatic manner outlining what you learned from the situation. Do not hope the interviewer won’t ask you about it. They most certainly will. It is best to be ready!
Lisa Rangel, Chameleon Resumes

Be Prepared to Ask Questions

When on a job interview, you’re not the only one being interviewed. You’re there to determine if you’d like to work at the organization. So come prepared to ask questions. Ask questions about the structure of the organization, what a typical day would be like, what will be expected of you to accomplish early on, what are the best qualities of the top performers in the organization, how will you be evaluated, etc… Learning the answers to these questions will help you decide if the company is a good fit for you. Plus, interviewers like candidates that ask smart questions.
John Scott, Career Advocate, Beyond.com

Be Ready for All Medium Interviews

Interviews are not always in-person. Be ready for all-medium interviews. Nowadays interviews are held over the phone, via Skype, GotoMeeting or with pre-recorded video.  Being prepared to interview in the particular medium can be an advantage over the competition that may only be prepared to do so well in-person. Embrace the technologies used and aspire to master it to land your next job faster.
Lisa Rangel – Chameleon Resumes

Create an Interview Presentation

Job seekers should develop an interview presentation they print, bind and take to their interviews. Interview presentations differentiate the job seeker, impress the interviewer, and win interviews. Also, developing an interview presentation is the best interview preparation a candidate can do.
Eric Kramer M.Ed., President and Chief Innovation Officer, Innovative Career Services

Do Your Research

With all the ways you can learn about a company today, not taking the time to do so can put you at a disadvantage during the interview, not to mention hurt your chances by indicating disinterest or lack of preparation and awareness. To get you started, here are just a few options for researching a company (and the interviewer) to prepare for the interview:

  1. Explore the company website and social media accounts. I know it sounds obvious, but people do forget to do this, or dismiss it as unimportant.
  2. Search the web for news and information written by others – including the news media and business journals – about the company.
  3. Look at sites such as Glassdoor.com to see what those who have worked for – or interviewed with – the company share. (Keep in mind that each is a reflection of one person’s experience/opinion).
  4. Find people who work there, used to work there, or otherwise have current knowledge of the organization and may be willing to briefly speak with you about the company and position. Ideally, these are folks you know or can reach out to through a mutual connection (think people you’ve met in person or through online networks; use LinkedIn to find possible mutual connections). Such a conversation may allow you to understand how this position will really be evaluated, learn more about the culture of the company, and get a sense of the management style and structure.
  5. Do one last online search the day before your interview so you’re up-to-date on any news related to the company (e.g., an award the company has just received).

Shahrzad Arasteh, Author of Nourish Your Career, Holistic Career Counselor, and Speaker

Don’t Wait to Ask Questions

Don’t wait until the very end of the interview to start asking questions! This is a common job search mistake, and one that could make or break the deal. Insert yourself into the conversation early on. Find out what there is to know about the goings-on in the department, the team, new projects, challenging situations, and why they are hiring for this role in the first place. The more you know about the problems they are facing, the better off you’ll be to collaboratively advise them on what to do next. Then, after the interview, in your thank you letter, address some of the issues you discussed, overcome any barriers you uncovered, and/or highlight any experience that can help influence their decision to hire you. In other words: don’t stop selling. (Hey, it ain’t over ’til it’s over, right!?) For example: “when we talked, it was clear that the team is struggling to break into the Latin American marketplace; with my experience on an Argentinian sales team, I could offer best practices for new entrants to the Latin American marketplace so we could penetrate the market with your suite of healthcare products.”
Laura M. Labovich, Chief Executive Officer, The Career Strategy Group and co-author of 100 Conversations for Career Success

Look in the Mirror

If you are having a phone interview, place a mirror in front of you. This helps you focus, and it anchors your conversation to the visual representation of a person. Monitoring your facial expressions helps you see if you are communicating your enthusiasm to the recruiter or hiring authority.
Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers and author of Happy About My Job Search

Reiterate Your Interest

College students or graduates should remember to assert a high or enhanced level of interest in the job at the end of an interview for an appealing position, prior to parting with the interviewer. This positive, last impression that you are a highly interested candidate can influence a recruiter to view your interview more favorably and make it more likely that you will be asked for a second interview or be issued a job offer. Everything else being roughly equal, the most motivated candidates for entry level jobs will often be the ones to get hired.
Mike Profita, College Career Expert and About.com Guest Author

Stay in Touch

If you don’t land the job, but know you were the #2 candidate, stay in contact with the company; many follow their “silver medalists” and recruit them later on.
Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers and author of Happy About My Job Search

Tell Your Stories

An interviewer will already have an idea of your abilities if you’ve submitted your resume or other application materials. Become a “talking resume” and tell stories about your experiences as they relate to your abilities to do the job at hand.  At this point, you should have done due diligence to know as much as possible about potential employer opening and organization. This is not the time to be modest. But always be relevant. This is not bragging. This is selling in a most sincere manner. It’s solutions selling! Showcase your potential contributions. Sometimes you’ll be talking about previous experience in the same type of job, but sometimes you’ll need to make connections or “translations” between one job and another. “I took care of the budget as purchasing agent; I’m sure I could do it for call center operations.” The key is in clarifying their pain, pulling from your arsenal of success stories, and tying it to how you can help ease that pain.
Barb Poole, President, Hire Imaging LLC

What the Interviewer Wants to Know

The single biggest thing to remember in a job interview is the audience to whom you are speaking. The interviewers aren’t your friends and they aren’t your career counselor. Think about how your comments will be perceived by people who don’t know you well. This means no joking about how you have always been smarter than every boss you’ve ever had or how if you won the lottery, you would never work in this field again. Two things the interviewers want to know are: (1) Do you have the skills to do this job? and (2) Will you be happy doing this job? Tailor your responses to answer well those two questions and you will be well on your way to landing the job if the fit is right.
Janet Scarborough Civitelli, Ph.D., Career Coach, VocationVillage.com

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