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Job Interview 101: 6 Tips for Success

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By: Pamela Cohen
Senior Vice President, People, Culture, and Administration

November 6, 2023

Job interviews can be both exciting and nerve-wracking experiences. They are an opportunity to showcase your skills, experience, and personality to a potential employer. To make a lasting impression and increase your chances of landing the job, you need to appear well-prepared and confident. Regardless of what type or level of job you are interviewing for, here are six tips for a successful interview..

1. Research the Company

Before any interview, it's important to research the business to the best of your ability. An understanding of the company can not only demonstrate your interest in the role, but also give you an advantage when answering and asking questions. Depending on the role and business type, do your best to learn about the company’s leadership, mission, products, and services. This can give you an advantage over other applicants that are less informed.

2. Understand the Job Description

When applying for jobs, especially using online applications, it’s easy to forget or have multiple job opportunities blend together. When you are going into an interview, it is important to review the job description for the role and be able to discuss how you fulfill the requirements and how your prior experience is a fit for the position.

3. Practice Your Responses

While some interviewers might be skilled at keeping the conversation organic, some might run through a standard list of questions. In either scenario, practicing some responses to the more common questions can help you prepare for the conversation as a whole. Having a good “elevator pitch” about yourself and your professional background and skills is always helpful to kick off an interview. Also prepare to discuss why you want to work for the company (recalling the research you did) and have a few work or life examples that apply to the role. One recommended method for discussing previous experience and accomplishments clearly and concisely is STAR (explaining the Situation, Task, Action, Result).

4. Dress Appropriately and Mind Your Body Language

First impressions matter, so dressing appropriately for the interview can be a deciding factor for competitive positions. Aim to slightly overdress. Looking at a company’s website or social channels can help you understand their dress code. Choose professional attire that reflects the industry and company culture. Similarly your body language can say a lot about you. Practice consistent eye contact and good posture to portray confidence. Try your best to avoid fidgeting or being too animated with your arms and hands.

5. Prepare Questions

At the end of the interview, you'll likely have the opportunity to ask questions. Having thoughtful questions that show your interest in the role and company is often well received by hiring managers. It shows you were prepared or thought critically during the interview. If your questions are answered over the course of the interview, mention that you had questions, but they were already answered.

6. Follow Up with a Thank-You Note

After the interview, send a personalized thank-you email to the interviewer(s) within 24 hours. Express your appreciation for the opportunity to interview and reiterate the areas you feel you’d add the most value to the company. This is a chance to leave a positive impression and remind the interviewer of your qualifications. If you really want to go the extra mile, send the interviewer a note through the mail. This can resonate with some managers and end up being a difference maker in their decision on who to hire.

Job interviews are pivotal moments in your career journey, and effective preparation can make a world of difference and set you apart from other candidates. Whether you are just starting out or a seasoned professional interviewing is never an easy thing to do, so the final thing to do is give yourself grace during the process!