Interviewing Success Tips

Read these 5 Interviewing Success Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Jobs tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How should I answer interview questions about my weaknesses?

Know Your Weaknesses

Everyone, even the most capable and talented individual, has weaknesses. No person is perfect, and it's with this knowledge that interviewers frequently broach the subject. Few employers expect perfection of their employees, but all appreciate the honestly and candor it takes to admit past failings.

At some point during the interview, you'll be asked to name your weaknesses. In this situation you'll do well to be forthright and candid, but also to remember that a delicate balance exists between being frank and being down on yourself.

Give consideration ahead of time to certain occasions in your professional career when you felt dissatisfied with your performance. Think of the lessons you learned, and come up with examples of the subsequent actions you've taken to ensure those lessons weren't in vain. Communicate this sincerely. Success in an interview hinges on your ability to come across thoughtful about the past and optimistic about the future.

   
What’s the best way to research a company before an interview?

Do Your Homework: Learn About the Organization

Preparation is one of the main keys in pulling off a successful job interview. Approaching an interview as you would an exam is a sure-fire way of making a lasting impression that could give you the edge over your competition.

Employers like job candidates who take the initiative to learn as much as they can about them. It's a sign that you're not just someone looking for a job, but an individual who's given careful consideration to the kind of organization you want to work for, and it gives them confidence in your judgment.

Visiting a company's website or using search engines to research its history, trends and direction can provide you with a wealth of information that you can take with you. Working this into the conversation is like delivering a verbal one-two punch. It acts as a way to engage your interviewer in discussion, bringing a relaxing tone to the regular rigidity of the interview process.

   
How should I follow up after an interview?

After the Interview

Although many people understand that post-interview follow up is an essential part of interview success, few ever put it into practice. Which is all the more reason for you to do so.

Interviews rarely end on a handshake and a job offer. Usually an employer will spend some time deciding who the best job candidate is. It's during this crucial decision-making period that your actions could help swing things in your favor.

Send a thank-you letter within twenty-four hours to the attention of the person who interviewed you, and express your gratitude for their time and consideration. This kind of prompt follow up helps keep you in the employer's mind. The letter doesn't have to be poetic, but some effort should be exerted to maximize its impact. Reiterate your enthusiasm about working for the company, and make a final “closing argument” about your qualifications for the job and what you hope to bring to the company.

   
How can I make a good first impression?

First Impressions Last Forever

There are a number of interview success tips that should go without saying. But even a brief conversation with anyone who's ever conducted interviews will reveal that not everyone's read the memo on basic interview etiquette and the importance of making good first impressions.

Arrive on time. Being early is acceptable, as long as you don't beat the receptionist to the office. Arriving ten minutes early prevents you from appearing overly eager.

Dress appropriately. Nothing says more about a person's attitude than the care with which they present themselves, which means that frayed jeans and miniskirts are out. Be careful not to overdress, either. Perform an incognito drive-by of the facilities at quitting time to get an idea of the company's dress code.

Make eye contact. It's imperative to be fully engaged during your interview, and this is rarely accomplished by averting your eyes. A disinterested interviewee makes for a disinterested interviewer.

   
How do I sell myself convincingly in an interview?

Assess Yourself

An interview is all about selling yourself. And before you can convincingly do this, it's important to take stock of the unique talents and abilities that set you apart from the rest. Simply being confident isn't enough. If all you have to offer is a cocky demeanor, without the ability to adequately verbalize why you're the best person for the job, you're lost.

One of the best tips for interview success is to make a list of your career accomplishments, and the challenges you've overcome. Use this information to write a brief statement about yourself that you can use in conversation. Avoid getting into lengthy descriptions, and above all write it in a manner that you can deliver without it sounding dry or rehearsed. To some, this may come naturally—but to others, it can take great effort. But the effort you extend now will pay off tenfold if you're rewarded with a job offer.

   
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Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.