6 Interview Tips and Tricks to Help You Make a Great Impression

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Shorter Version


Est. Reading Time: 1 Minute

Spoiler: You’re going to ROCK it!

You were offered an interview – awesome! Now, to get the job…

The most important interview tips and tricks include being prepared and setting yourself up for success. Take actionable steps to feel confident and ready.

It’s go time! Follow these interview tips and tricks

Research the company in depth and study the job description. This way, you can connect the dots between your prior experience and the position. Another recipe for success is rehearsing your story and preparing your answers in advance. Though it might feel silly talking out loud to yourself, practice makes perfect and will make ALL the difference.

Feeling nervous? Try training your brain to think of the interview as a conversation instead. That’s all it really is anyway! Be as prepared as possible by picking out your outfit the day before and have your portfolio ready to go, map your route/test your technology, and always leave extra time just in case. Remember to arrive at your interview 15 minutes early, and write those thank you notes!

Last but not least, don’t forget to clean up your social media accounts.

Skip to Actionable Steps




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Longer Version


Est. Reading Time: 7 Minutes

Sweating through your shirt, tripping over your words, suddenly blanking out and trying to picture everyone in the room naked… definitely not an ideal way to spend your time preparing for an interview. Especially when you are trying to make a good impression and convince these people to hire you.

Kind of sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it?

There’s a right way to do this!!

I want to be first to say – don’t panic! Interviewing for a job is a big deal and can be an extremely daunting process. We have all been there and understand that it can be stressful. The good news: I’m here to help with key interview tips and tricks.

With proper preparation and a few action steps, you will be ready to rock this interview (*conversation*… more about this later). So take a deep breath, sip your coffee, and read on.

Note: Skimming this article the morning of your interview is not going to result in the job being handed to you on a silver platter – you need to do the work! Being prepared is key, and I recommend you start prepping as soon as possible after your interview slot is secured. Believe me, the candidates who took the time to do the research versus the ones “winging it” shows.

The first step to set yourself up for success is to be proactive and do not procrastinate.

Tip #1 – Do your research

Research the company. Familiarize yourself with the company website and know their mission, vision, and values like the back of your hand. Showing interviewers that your values align with theirs will drive home the idea that you are a great fit.

If you were told exactly who will be interviewing you, this is an opportunity to put your creeping skills to good use! Read their bios through the company website or LinkedIn so you can make more of a connection. For example, you find that someone has a Ph.D. – nice. Now you know you can properly address him or her as Dr., and little things like that can go a long way.

Trick #1 – Study and connect the dots

Study the job description inside and out, and take notes as you go. Have your resume and cover letter handy as you study so you can connect the dots between your prior experience and the position. You should reach a point where you can confidently and concisely share why you are the best person for this job based on the role and expectations.

Tip #2 – You’re awesome! Show them!

Don’t be afraid to talk yourself up! This is your time to shine and show them how awesome you are. You are talking about you… and no one is a better expert on you than yourself.

Trick #2 – Just an interview conversation

Rather than letting the term ‘interview’ get in your head, train your brain to think of it as a conversation instead. At the end of the day, that’s all that it is anyway right? The employers have spent hours sifting through applications, and they are looking for an ideal person for the job. They don’t want to fail the search and start from scratch… they want you to be a good fit and the person they hire! Relax and be yourself – you’re just having a conversation.

Tip #3 – Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse again

It might not be enjoyable to do and can definitely feel awkward, but rehearsing your story is the secret weapon to success in interviews. I want you to rehearse by literally talking out loud! The more times you say something and repeat it, the more natural it will feel. After you rehearse enough and feel comfortable talking about yourself and your experiences, you will be able to answer interview questions in your sleep.

Almost every single interview I’ve had begins with some variation of “Tell us about yourself.” Do not get thrown off by this!

Remember, it is just a conversation.

Regardless of the specific job or position, there are common interview questions that you can prepare for in advance. Obviously, you cannot prepare for every single question, but the more you rehearse and know yourself, the easier it will be to adjust on the fly. Here are some generic interview questions that you can prepare for in advance. It also helps to perfect your interview handshake for an early confidence boost.

Trick #3 – Take time to prepare your answers

Be prepared to rattle off your strengths and have multiple scenarios and behavioral-based examples in your back pocket.

Even if interviewers don’t directly ask you what your strengths are, incorporate your strong suits into your answers however you can. I know it’s not easy to talk about your areas of growth, but worry not. Good examples of how to answer this question can be found here. Even though it’s uncomfortable, rehearse these too. If you have a gap in employment or an area within the potential job that you don’t have experience with, be prepared to address it.

Often times there are scenario or behavioral-based questions (“Tell me about a time when…”, “How would you respond in this type of situation…”, etc.) and believe it or not, you can prepare for these better than you might think!  Have examples ready. Take some time reflecting about instances in previous jobs (or examples from your time in school) that could be relevant for these scenario-based questions. Not to be redundant but…rehearse them! This way, when you are asked a question, you can have an example on deck and ready to go. Some common scenario-based questions are provided. The STAR method provides great structure to respond to behavioral-based questions.

Tip #4 – Do yourself a favor, be ready in advance

Have everything you need for the day of the interview ready.

Have your outfit selected and ironed the night before, know how you’re going to style your hair, and do everything you can to set yourself up for a stress-free morning. Remember – looking your best will help you feel your best, and this will contribute to making an awesome first impression.

Have your portfolio ready to bring to the interview!

What to bring: extra copies of your resume, your questions written out, a list of references, and a few pens (just to be safe).

It doesn’t matter how much you prepare… sometimes life just happens. Therefore, leave extra time just in case something doesn’t go according to plan.

Trick #4 – Be early

One of the most important interview tips and tricks involves punctuality. Remember, if you’re on time, you’re late.

Arrive at your interview 15 minutes early. Map out your route in advance so you know exactly how long your commute will be (don’t forget to leave extra time for traffic). If it’s a video interview, test your devices and Wifi in advance to make sure you won’t have any technical difficulties on the day of. For video/phone interviews, make sure you’re in a quiet location. True story: I was once on a hiring committee and during a phone interview, we heard a very loud toilet flush in the background… NOT a good look.

Tip #5 – As much as I love having fun…

Clean up your social media accounts. Employers don’t want to see you doing a keg stand at a frat party from your 21st birthday.

Trick #5 – Embrace your inner superhero

Practice your power pose. Trust me on this… it works. Disclaimer: You will feel silly and ridiculous, but do it anyway. Commit to it and embrace the feeling of empowerment that ensues. I recommend doing it several times on the day of your interview. I once did my superhero pose in a bathroom stall 20 minutes before my interview started. Yes, I’m serious.

Tip #6 – Interview etiquette

To wrap up this list of interview tips and tricks, familiarize yourself with proper interview etiquette. Learn what to and not to do.

Trick #6 – Thank you note

Write a personalized thank you note or email to follow-up after the interview. It really can seal the deal!

Actionable Steps


1

Do your research

Do a deep dive researching the company, the website, and your interviewers. Study the job description and connect the dots between your prior experience and the position.

2

Be prepared

Rehearse your story out loud to maximize your preparedness. The long-term benefits will outweigh the short-term awkward… I promise. Be prepared to rattle off your strengths and have multiple scenarios and behavioral-based examples in your back pocket. Have everything you need for the day of the interview ready, and be 15 minutes early.

3

Be confident!

This ranges from embracing your inner superhero, to understanding interview etiquette. Review the basics.

4

Write a thank you note

Write a personalized thank you note or email to your interviewers after. They took time out of their day to talk to you and will notice if you don’t properly thank them.

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About the Author


Dr. Alyssa Harmon-Salter

Dr. Alyssa Harmon-Salter

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

Alyssa holds an Ed. D. in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. For the last 7 years, she has coached hundreds of college students on how to be successful academically and in prepping for a job.
Full Bio | LinkedIn


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