6 tips to ace your next job interview.

  • interviews
  • September 12, 2016

Congrats on landing the interview! You’re probably feeling a mixture of excitement and anxiety. One good way to alleviate any nervousness is to be well prepared, but preparing for a job interview isn’t always easy. Fortunately, we’ve put together everything you need to know in one convenient place. 

tips for your next phone or video interview 

What should you do in an interview? What should your goals be — and what’s the best way to prepare? Read on for six job interview prep strategies to help you excel when it comes time for the interview. 

1. know your strengths (and your weaknesses)

Jobs are like people. They’re both unique and have their own special characteristics. As part of your interview preparation, take stock of your strengths, weaknesses and skills. Identify how they align with the organization. Highlight specific skill sets that are mentioned in the job description and cite examples of how you best performed those skills. Have good answers for any job requirements that you don’t meet. Be honest. If you don’t know how to use certain programs or machinery, be proactive and say you’ve already begun learning and if hired, you’ll be ready to go.

soft skills

highlight specific skill sets that are mentioned in the job description and cite examples in which you demonstrate those skills.

2. become an expert

You must research everything. You need to learn all you can about the job, department, company and field. Pull the latest annual reports and read as much as possible on industry websites. Talk to people. Conduct your own mini interviews with friends in similar positions. Better yet, talk to current or former employees of the company. Armed with this information, you will feel a whole lot more comfortable as your interview day gets closer.

3. practice makes perfect

Have a friend pretend to be the hiring manager and conduct some mock interviews. Treat it like a dress rehearsal complete with your professional attire. Set up a camera and record it. Go through a list of common interview questions and answers; have your friend throw in a few surprise questions as well. Answering these practice interview questions will help you get used to thinking on the fly and making adjustments spontaneously. Watch the recording and make any adjustments as needed to ensure you look and sound your best.

4. dress for success

You want to look like you belong at the company when it's time for your interview. It's always a safe bet to dress a little more formally than what you think is the standard is at that company. For instance, if during your research you found that employees often wear jeans and a polo shirt, show up for your interview wearing a suit and tie. Bring a binder with a pen, paper, copies of your resume and references. Also, make sure to arrive five to 10 minutes before your interview is scheduled to begin. You don’t want to show up too early and catch your hiring manager in the middle of something. Or worse, sprint into the interview 10 minutes late grumbling about traffic. During the interview, try to exhibit good posture (don't slouch!), use relevant hand gestures and maintain steady eye contact. If you look, act and sound confident, you’ll be confident.

5. ask smart questions, listen smarter

magnifying glass

this is your chance to find out everything you can about the position. approach your interview like a reporter or detective.

This is your chance to find out everything you can about the position. Approach it like a reporter or detective. Ask leading questions that will provide insight into what the job is really like on a daily basis. Craft some questions beyond what you found out from your research. You want the interviewer to know you did your homework. Whatever you do, don’t ask about the salary, benefits and vacation time. The hiring manager will most likely cover it during the interview. And if not, that can be handled at a later date.

6. before you wrap

Ask if they have any concerns with your experience and provide solutions to alleviate those issues. If you think you could see yourself working there, state that. “I’ve really enjoyed learning about this position and would like to be considered for the job. What’s the next step in the process?” As you’re getting ready to leave, shake hands and ask for a business card. 

Got it all down pat? Good! In that case, you should be all set to succeed. Plus, if you want to find out about new opportunities the moment they become available, be sure to sign up for Randstad's job alerts. Just tell us the kind of position you want, and we'll email you when we find it.