How to Be Great at a Job Interview

By September 29, 2016 Careers, Women in IT
Job Interview

Job interviews are often frightening events, especially if you are nervous. You might have the right skills and knowledge for a given job, but all that may go down the drain if you don’t do the interview right. You need to impress recruiters and stand out from the crowd of job applicants, and that’s not an easy task.

To make sure you are relaxed on the D-day, it is important to be well prepared. That way, your qualities will shine through and you will impress the recruiters. Here you will learn important things to do before and during the interview to increase your chances of earning your dream job.

Before the Interview

Years Before: Educate Yourself

You probably didn’t expect this one, but preparing for an interview in your industry takes years!

Although the formal education you acquired has probably determined your career path, there are so many things you can do to get some more knowledge.

This takes time because acquiring knowledge is not a one-off affair. Instead, it is a consistent procedure that can take many years. Even after graduating, keep advancing your knowledge by taking additional courses, internships, and voluntary work. Be updated with the developments in your industry – what you learned five years ago may not be relevant today.

Educating yourself doesn’t have to cost a lot of money – there are many cheap (and even free) online resources you can utilize fast and efficiently. For example, leverage educational technologies such as training websites, massive open online courses (MOOCs), and downloadable apps. Develop expertise in a wide variety of skills in addition to your industry knowledge, and you will make yourself stand out.

Days Before: Investigate and Rehearse

Research about the company in question and understand their operations, work ethics, visions, and objectives. Knowing the company inside out makes you more prepared and helps you answer their questions better. A couple of days before the interview, try to find out common interview questions asked in your industry.
Come up with scenarios that you can actually anticipate. Prepare sensible answers to these questions, but don’t learn them by heart. If you sound like a robot, you will leave the wrong impression. So, rehearse the main points that serve you as guidelines, not as fixed answers. The interview will inevitably take its own course.

Additionally, assess your skills, talents, expertise, strengths, and hobbies. Look at your history to identify achievements. List all these meticulously and remember each one of them for the interview. When the time comes, you will be able to point out how your strengths will benefit the company.

Minutes Before: Calm Down

Even though it’s perfectly normal to be nervous, don’t let that feeling overwhelm you. Too much stress releases cortisol and adrenaline – hormones which can inhibit your performance. Try treating the interview as a friendly conversation with a peer. Visualize optimistic outcomes, remain positive-minded, and banish negative thoughts.

Arrive on time at the interview to familiarize yourself with people and the environment. This helps you to listen better and exude confidence when speaking. Visit the bathroom and check yourself in the mirror to ensure your hair and clothes are in meticulous condition. Smile at your image in the mirror.

Tell yourself that you are going to be great. To avoid panicking, rehearse proper relaxation techniques. For example, close your eyes for a minute and take a deep breath. Let it out slowly to release any stress that may affect your delivery.

During the Interview

Exude Confidence

Start the interview with a firm handshake and sit upright to exude confidence. Calmly present your skills and expertise by answering questions audibly. Being slouched and inaudible paints you as an inexperienced or unprepared applicant.

Strike a balance between being confident and being arrogant or cocky. Say as much as you need to. Add value to your answer but avoid being too lengthy. More importantly, use your communication skills to impress everyone in the room.

Ask the Right Questions

Engage the recruiters by asking relevant questions in addition to answering theirs. Show how you have investigated the company and the position you are being interviewed for. They will love the fact that you have made an effort to research the company.

In the process, don’t be afraid to think outside the box and ask creative questions – you need to stand out from the rest of the interviewees.

Be Friendly

Employers dislike people who are too formal or too serious. Therefore, greet everyone cordially and smile occasionally to exude friendliness. Don’t panic if you stammer, just smile and move on – they know you are a human being.

Before you leave, end the interview with proper salutations. Recruiters will be impressed by your personality. As much as they appreciate knowledge and preparation, they also want a nice person on their team.


Preparing for an interview involves many years of gathering knowledge and relevant skills, so commit to life-long learning today to excel at your future interviews. If one such is approaching, prepare your strengths and know answers to typical interview questions. Be punctual, calm, and exude confidence. Speak audibly, be composed, and friendly.

Follow these tips and get that job you have been dreaming of!

Jill PhillipsJill Phillips is a freelance writer from Buffalo, NY. She is an aspiring entrepreneur and tech enthusiast, who loves to share her insight on various topics. When she is not writing, Jill enjoys taking photos and hiking with her dog. Connect with Jill via Twitter @jillphlps

Leave a Reply