How to ace a job interview
It’s understandable to feel a little nervous before an interview. Maggie Mistal offers some practical advice to help ensure that you put your best foot forward.
- Smile and try to relax! Remember, an interview is a conversation and your interviewer is a person, too.
- Be prepared to answer key questions like, “Why are you looking to leave your current position?” It is key that you always stay positive, even if you are currently in a difficult situation.
- A way to turn tough questions into positive talking points is to bring the focus to things you are looking for in your next job. Instead of bashing your current company for their lack of leadership or your lack of mangement experience, emphasize that you are seeking a job where you can work closely with a mentor or take on greater responsibility.
- Don't get defensive if the interviewer makes a comment like, “you’re over-qualified” or “you’re under-qualified.” Turn the comment into a positive note, addressing the interviewer’s concerns behind the question: "I understand why you might feel I’m overqualified, but at this stage in my career I’m really looking to downshift and am looking for an opportunity where I can contribute but don’t necessarily have to run the show."
- Get as much experience as you can (especially if you are still in school). Highlight your past accomplishments. Show how you have learned, grown and succeeded in the past. Offer references of people who can attest to your ability to learn quickly and perform well.
- Do not be the one to bring up salary. Sell them on why you’re the ideal candidate first.
- Be prepared to answer salary-related questions if asked by the interviewer. Checkout online salary calculators to find out what your role is worth in your geographic area.
- Do not bring up benefits in the first interview; wait until you are invited back for another interview to ask about other benefits like vacation, 401K, etc.
Remember, an interview is the chance to find out if you are right for the company and if the company is right for you. Your odds of getting the job (and perhaps negotiating a higher salary) will improve if you first prove to them why you are the ideal candidate for the job.