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The 7 Tips You Need to Ace That Job Interview

Tips and tricks that will help prepare you for that upcoming job interview.

By Ashlyn HarperPublished 3 years ago 10 min read
Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Raise your hand if you hate interviewing for a new job. I can't actually see you, but I SEE you. Being an introverted homebody, I have always dreaded the moments leading up to an interview. In fact, starting a new job, in general, has scared me from quitting some of the hell holes I've worked at.

I'll park outside of the building, feel myself need to use the restroom while hyperventilating and talk myself out of going inside about 50 million times. Somehow my feet do the work for me, forcing me into that room where someone is going to be judging me for 30 minutes to an hour.

Trust me, we all hate that nervous ache you feel before the interview, before the hiring phone call and that first week where you know absolutely nothing. While those steps leading up to the introduction are horrendous for me, I actually feel pretty confident once I'm finally in the room.

In fact, some might call me not so humble when I say I feel like I could ace any interview. Unfortunately, I can't say I was born with this little talent. As a former restaurant manager, I had a regional pain in my @ss teach me the proper ways of interviewing and being interviewed. While I hated him, his advice is something I will take with me for years to come.

Instead of keeping this information to myself, I decided to share it with the world (or at least my little part of it). I can't promise you will stop being nervous and I can't assure you that you can get the job. However, knowing these tips and tricks could just potentially put you over the edge and help you ace that interview.

Dress for a higher paid job.

Unless you are being hired for a wedding double, I am not saying you should go to an interview dressed in a tuxedo. Funny enough, there is such a thing as being too dressed for an interview. What we must keep in mind is this is the first impression you are giving to your potential new boss.

Unless you are walking in the building with your achievements tattooed on your forehead, most likely, they are going to be seeing your appearance first.

Be aware of the job you are applying for and dress the part. I always tell people to look at the position you are wanting and then dress a level higher. For instance, if you are applying for a server (a jean and t-shirt type of gig), then dress for a manager position. This means a pair of pants and a clean blouse or button up. If you have a nice pair of denim (meaning no rips, frays, or holes) that can even be acceptable depending on the position.

Don't know what to wear? A pair of trousers and a button-up are usually a safe bet. Make sure there are no noticeable wrinkles and, just like your clothes, make sure your hair is not sex hair and that you don't have last night's makeup smeared on your face. It seems like an easy thing to keep in mind, but you would be amazed at the number of people who actually go into an interview looking hungover and dead.

Remember, the first thing your future employer is going to be seeing is YOU! While we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, the cold hard truth is that we do; especially people who are interviewing you for their company.

Photo by Daniel Fazio on Unsplash

Be personable, even if you are not a bubbly person.

So many people come into an interview with a script reading mentality. While you should practice specific questions, you should still be yourself! Employers are heavily studying your personality to see if you will fit well with the rest of the company.

Smile and laugh (and it's okay to crack a few professional jokes). It is intimidating, but try to envision this person as a friend of your parents. You want to be polite but also act like you can integrate well.

Want a trick? I usually try to find a spot to talk about a hobby of mine or a fun story of an event I did with my fiance or friend. They like to hear that you have a life outside of work.

To a degree, it is okay to fake it. I'm not saying you should blatantly lie to your potential future employer. That is how you get fired pretty quick. However, you can pretend to be a bit more bubbly just so you stick out in their mind when looking at all the candidates.

For instance, I'm pretty shy when I first meet people. I won't lie and say I'm not shy to them, but I'll try to force myself out of my comfort zone for those 30 minutes to show my overall personality. Have a lousy personality and like to complain and talk about people behind their backs? I can't help you... I'm giving tips, not a lifechanging course.

Another extra tip? Don't be afraid to let them know you are a little nervous. That feels like a big no-no to do in an interview, but it just makes you look honest, open, and human. I've used that line several times with a little smile, and it magically has decreased the tension in the room.

Turn your weakness into a strength.... but don't overdo it.

"So tell me some of your weaknesses?" I used to dread this question. I would sit in a dead silence feeling clammy hands start to form. One tip I have always used is to turn my weakness into a strength. Just don't overdo it. Saying, "My weakness is that I work too hard," is a line they have heard before and gets an eye roll once you leave the room.

For me, I have a terrible time with hiding my emotions. Almost anyone can tell when I am angry, sad, happy, etc. This means that I sometimes don't have the best of attitudes at work if I am sad or angry with a particular situation. What do I tell my future employer so that this doesn't scare them?

I'll say that "Sometimes, I get too invested in projects. While I know this can sometimes be a good thing, I also know I need to learn to let little things go that are out of my control." It sounds professional, not complete bullsh!t, and an actual weakness that can be used as a strength.

Pick a real weakness, make it sound a little less scary, and explain how it is one of your strengths as well. Worst comes to worst; google it! There are a ton of interview questions online with incredible answers. Just make sure they match the truth because if you act like the model of perfection and then show up five hours late every day, they are going to figure out you were lying.

Don't fidget during the interview.

They notice, trust me. As my favorite Youtuber says, "Act confident, and no one will question you." It is okay to be nervous. Like I said before, you can even comment on having butterflies. However, you shouldn't constantly be fidgeting in your seat and stammering through each question.

Yes, this process sucks, but they are going to see that as a weakness. Just like a blind date, if you don't have faith in yourself, they are not going to want that second date.

If it helps, practice with a friend beforehand. Google a few interview questions and try and run through them while keeping good posture and direct eye contact. Confidence can shine bright when they are looking through their pool of candidates.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Don't blatantly lie about something.

It's okay to improve your speech or exaggerate a little, but don't out and out lie. More than not, the person can usually tell, and it always ends up biting you in the butt. Remember Joey Tribbiani? He once put that he could dance on his resume... and it ended up blowing up in his pretty face.

You don't have experience with the position? Don't say you do. You CAN say that, while you haven't worked in that field, you are a quick learner and pick up new skills quickly. They aren't always looking for perfect! As a matter of fact, I've had people hire me BECAUSE I didn't have as much experience. Sometimes it is easier to mold a new person than to rewire what is already there.

More often than not, you will know ahead of time if they require experience or not. Usually, depending on where you saw the job opportunity, they will put it in their little news snippet or an online ad. Even so, it never hurts to apply. Like I said, confidence is a bright shiny star that can overlook inexperience.

Be the best version of yourself.

Above all, be yourself. Laugh, smile, compliment, and ask questions. Remember how you would get into trouble at school for talking? That is not the case in an interview. People like someone who seems happy and personable. Those people usually are the ones who get the job! This doesn't mean interrupting your interviewer, that might not end well.

Practice with a friend or family member beforehand if you need help getting comfortable. Interviewing is a skill in itself, and practice never hurts!

One excellent method you can utilize is mirroring. While you still want to remain yourself, you want that manager to feel like you two are similar. Reflecting their gestures and personality can crucially change how they view you.

For instance, if they are smiling and moving there hands a lot to tell a story, recreate the same gestures when responding. This minuscule gesture can subconsciously get them on your side without much effort.

And again, let your personal life shine through. Most employers want to know that you have hobbies outside of the workplace. Someone who is mentally stable and happy goes a long way with those first impressions. Maybe find a way to squeeze in a hobby of yours or talk about your significant other. Be friendly without being that drunkard at the bar confessing all of their sins to the bartender.

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

Show up 10 to 15 minutes early.

Lastly, show up 10 minutes early to your interview. Even if you are sitting for those 10 minutes, it always makes you look better. I had a boss who always said, "If you are on time, you're late. If you are 15 minutes early, you're on time". This is the first impression, you don't want to show them you are late on this first meet and greet.

With this tip, make sure you don't arrive too early. They are busy with other things as well that day. By seeing you sitting there 30 minutes before the interview, it can make them feel rushed, have them think you don't know how to check the time, and possibly put a negative bubble around your entire interview.

10 to 15 minutes is a decent window of time. It isn't too far off to make them feel rushed and, if they are ready then, can get the interview completed sooner rather than later.

At the end of the day, just make sure to be yourself and act confident. If they don't like you, there are other jobs. In all honesty, interviewing is so much like dating. Sometimes you just need those flops to find the perfect fit.

Tell me, what is your most cringe-worthy interview? Personally, I had a phone interview where I accidentally slept in, acted like I hadn't, and made a horrible joke that I don't even want to share on the internet for fear of being ridiculed mercilessly.

If you like this article and would like to read more let me know by liking this post below! Also, if you enjoy my writing and would like to contribute so that I can continue writing these types of informative articles, you can leave a tip below as well. Any love is always great appreciated!


About the Creator

Ashlyn Harper

A chaotic room of stories. My curiosities lead me in all types of directions, creating a chaotic writing pathway. I want this place to be for experimenting, improving my craft, and sharing new ideas with anyone willing to read them.

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