Interview Tips and Tricks

FindWRK Team

Categories: Interview Tips

September 19, 2022

Congratulations! You’ve made it through the first step in the recruitment process to secure an interview. Now it’s time to polish your interview skills! 

A successful interview with a prospective employer helps you land your dream job. There are many factors to consider. Following this article will help you succeed during the interview stage on your career path.

For starters, concentrate on the things within your control. Perhaps the greatest piece of advice for anyone attending a job interview is to prepare ahead of time. Preparation is a vital component of the interview process. As the saying goes, ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.’ 

The more prepared you are, the less nervous you’ll feel when the time comes. Keep in mind that most people are nervous about job interviews; it's perfectly natural. However, a little preparation can help you to feel more at ease and ensure meaningful communication throughout the interview process.

Proven Tips for Interview Preparation 

Research the Company 

Take time to research all aspects of your potential workplace, including the product or service being offered, company mission and vision statements, workplace culture, and responsibilities of someone in your future position. Pay close attention to language and values. For example, a long-term care facility may place a high value on personal qualities like “patience” and “compassion”. This language can be incorporated into specific answers and allow you to speak with greater authority during an interview. 

Research the Most Common Interview Questions 

Spoiler alert! Some of the most common interview questions are highlighted below. It’s helpful to plan for each of these questions in advance. Consider writing out your responses or role-playing with a friend or family member to practice aloud. While there’s no need to memorize the exact words and risk sounding like a robot, practice does build confidence in subject matter. And what better subject for you to speak about than yourself? 

Identify Your Best Qualities and Greatest Accomplishments

A job interview just may be the one occasion when it’s okay to brag! In fact, it’s encouraged. The ability to sell yourself to an employer is key. Many people find it a challenge to identify personal strengths or acknowledge past accomplishments. We often fail to see ourselves as others do. Consider asking a close friend or former employer to share their impressions, e.g., What makes you a good friend? A great employee? Make a list of positive feedback and don’t be afraid to shine on the day of your interview!

Show, Don’t Tell

Employers appreciate concrete evidence of past success. Take some time to reflect on your work/volunteer history before attending the interview. Even without industry-related experience, you already have transferable skills that make you a great candidate. Think about how you’ve demonstrated these qualities in different roles. Preparation will help you to “show” rather than “tell.” 

Provide Real-Life Examples 

Everyone has a story to share, including you. The importance of using real examples in job interviews is noted in 6 Simple Tips to Help You Ace Your Next Job Interview. As part of interview preparation, think back to a situation where you solved a problem or managed a crisis. How did you display leadership qualities or learn to delegate responsibility? Of course, the kinds of questions you will answer depends upon your unique skill set and the specific role that you’re applying for. And remember, your examples don’t necessarily need to be work-related. Student placements and volunteer experience count as well. Any real-life example that demonstrates transferable skills is a viable option.

Practice Non-verbal Communication

According to an article entitled Interview Skills That Will Get You Hired, non-verbal communication is considered a vital aspect of interview preparation. Eye contact, posture, and other body language are cited as key indicators of confidence. Before the big day arrives, record yourself answering questions and engaging in discussion, or practice your interview skills in person and solicit feedback from a friend. If the recording is a video try to find a comfortable position that works for you and reflects confidence and deep listening. Sit straight, shoulders back, feet planted or crossed at the ankle, hands in your lap or on the keyboard, if you find note-taking helpful. Take into account your tone of voice and be sure that it exudes calm confidence - it will help you land the job!

Focus on Making a Connection 

Personal connection is highlighted in How to Prepare for a Virtual Job Interview. Regardless of whether you’re preparing to attend a job interview in person or virtually, the need to forge a human connection is very real. There are many ways to bond with a potential employer. Perhaps the most natural path to connection is through genuine reciprocity. Give-and-take is the foundation of a successful relationship. Develop some icebreaker topics/comments as part of your interview preparation. 

Create a List of Questions

Job interviews are based on a series of questions. You should be prepared to answer the most common interview questions, along with questions which are specific to the role you’re applying for. Research your prospective employer by exploring the job posting and company website. Plan your answers in advance by writing them down or practicing them aloud with a friend. But don’t stop there! A recent Forbes article, How To Prepare For A Job Interview, asserts that post-interview questions are of equal importance. Take some time to create your own interview preparation questions to find out more about the company. Employment is a two-way street.

Plan for Success

Plan for the little things that often get lost in translation. If you’re meeting a prospective employer in person, choose your outfit and make travel arrangements ahead of time. Look into travel time and route, as well as how to get to the building. Maybe even walk around the area to relax and orient yourself, be sure to take down contact information in case you get lost or run behind schedule. You can always print off a hard copy of your resume/portfolio to bring along as well. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready to avoid feeling rushed. Once the minor details are taken care of, you’re ready to connect!

While you may not have a crystal ball to predict the future, you can successfully prepare for common interview questions and answers. For example, every interview scenario is likely to include some version of the age-old question: “Tell me about yourself.” How you answer this and other common interview questions will ultimately determine your suitability for the position.

Common Interview Questions and Answers 

Here is a brief overview of questions you might expect during your next interview, if you want even more details read our article on Common Interview Questions and Answers.

1. Could you tell me a little bit about yourself and describe your professional background? 

  • Remember to keep it brief and share relevant information about your education and professional history.

  • Anchor your stories within the scope of the job position and be sure to connect it to your personal and past experiences

  • Rehearse your story in advance. Every great story is equal parts beginning, middle, and end. Start strong and leave them wanting more!

  • Explain how your background applies directly to the job. Be specific and include examples. 

2. What is your biggest weakness?

  • Tell the truth but choose a weakness that you’re already working on and trying to improve. Be specific!

  • Describe the steps you’re taking to address the problem.

  • Identify any progress that you’ve made and share acknowledgements from others.  

An example might be a copywriter who stayed up late ruminating about criticism from their boss and then took next steps to question their thoughts through journaling and meditation.

3. How do you deal with stressful situations/ workplace conflict?

  • Emphasize respect for colleagues and grace under fire.

  • Provide a personal example of a time when you remained calm during a crisis. 

  • Identify any steps you’re taking to improve stress management/conflict resolution. Be specific and honest. 

Remember, it's as important for a future employer to know your liabilities, as it is for you to investigate the liabilities of the role so there isn't an unexpected misalignment. It also helps you talk through how you want to approach your next role and how you envision it.

4. What makes you the best candidate for this job?

  • Share any relevant  soft skills that may not appear on your resume. 

  • Detail an experience where you displayed a soft skill in the workplace, e.g., emotional intelligence, empathy, etc. Use it as an opportunity to emphasize why you believe the role is best represented by a healthy balance of soft skills and hard skills.

  • Demonstrate how your unique skill set matches the job requirements. 

You might consider doing some research, listening to related podcasts, books, or other materials. 

5. Do you have any questions for me?

  • Always answer, “yes”

  • Prepare a list of questions in advance.

  • It can be really useful to inquire more about the person who is interviewing you. 

Additionally, it shows interest, gives you a better sense of company culture, and helps you gauge their happiness and satisfaction, so that you can make an educated decision about fit.

What Not to Do in an Interview: The DON’TS of Interview Etiquette

Let’s face it. Interviews can be nerve-wracking. Everyone wants to make a good first impression. There’s plenty of advice regarding interview preparation but little is written about what not to do in an interview. In other words, most of us are more familiar with interview dos than interview don’ts. Knowing what not to do in an interview is equally important when it comes to first impressions. With that said, here are some expert tips to help you navigate the landscape of interview etiquette and avoid the DON’TS.

1. What Not to Do In an Interview: DON’T Downplay Your Abilities

Never put yourself down in front of a potential employer. Although humility is welcome, there’s nothing to be gained from diminishing your accomplishments. In fact, the opposite is true. Employers expect a certain amount of self-promotion during an interview. Otherwise, what’s the point? This is your opportunity to sell yourself and prove why you’re the perfect candidate. 

2. What Not to Do In an Interview: DON’T Trash Talk About a Former Employer

Always avoid the temptation to criticize a former employer. No matter what the circumstances or however contentious, speaking negatively about a past mentor could get in the way of a future relationship. The ability to work as part of a team is often considered a necessity in the workplace. By speaking poorly of a previous boss, you may cast yourself in a negative light and raise questions about personal conduct and suitability. Instead, find the silver lining to a bad situation and accentuate the positive. Think about what you learned from your last experience, even if the insight was hard-won.

3. What Not to Do In an Interview: DON’T Broach the Subject of Salary 

A conversation about job salary is best initiated by the employer. Many interviews involve questions around wage expectations. Wait until this subject is introduced before addressing it. If salary doesn’t factor into the interview, you can always broach the subject later, for example, when a job offer is extended. You should also have a sense of industry rates and what salary the people in the role you are looking to fill have. Be sure that you can negotiate, just remember to ask for a salary that is fair to both you and the employer.

4. What Not to Do In an Interview: DON’T Curb Your Enthusiasm

It doesn’t pay to play it cool. Affecting an attitude of cool detachment may appear arrogant rather than confident. Don’t be afraid to express your enthusiasm. Employers are eager to hire candidates with a genuine interest in the job and the company. Leave your poker face at home and dive in.

5. What Not to Do In an Interview: DON’T Leave with Unanswered Questions

Another great way to convey interest in a job opportunity is through a couple of relevant, well-timed questions. Wait until the end of the interview and ask away. Not only will the employer be impressed by your initiative, but you’ll gain valuable information about the position and the company to determine if you are a good fit. After all, you don’t want just any job. You want the right job!

What to Wear for an Interview

Keep it Real (Within Reason)

Wear something that reflects both company culture and your own unique sense of style. The right outfit can enhance your confidence during an interview. On the other hand, you don’t want to trade professionalism for total freedom of expression. The goal is to strike a balance between personal comfort and professional fit. The Forbes article The New Dress Code: What To Wear In The Job Interview claims that you should make a statement with your clothing which can help make your first impression last. 

Make a Match 

What to wear for an interview largely depends on the job itself. Ask yourself the following: What specific industry am I applying for? Will I be working in a formal or casual environment? Am I expected to wear a type of uniform on the job? How you answer these questions will help to inform your choice of outfit. For example, a business-casual environment suggests more conservative clothing, whereas a hosting gig may necessitate formal attire. Try and match your wardrobe selection to dress code as much as possible.

Be True to Yourself

Consistency is key. You want to project the best version of your authentic self. This means that all personal representation should remain consistent across the board, including headshot photos (if applicable) and social media accounts. Employers want to meet the true person, so show-up as YOU. 

The FindWRK Difference

Our innovative platform is changing the way people find work and get hired! With FindWRK, there’s no need to apply for individual jobs and attend multiple interviews. We enable a match between talented workers and suitable employers – the right person for the right job. In fact, interested employers will actually reach out to workers with job opportunities. That’s right! The employer initiates first contact. 

While interviews may be part of the overall process, two-way communication is a prime factor in determining goodness of fit. After all, a successful working relationship is built on real, human connection. Sound enticing? Here’s how it works:

  • Create a personal profile and upload your skills

  • Set working radius to your desired geographical location

  • Wait for employers to reach out with job opportunities 

  • Find the right fit and start working!

Sign up to discover the FindWRK difference today!

Looking for even more ways to help you excel in your next interview? Check out our blog posts all about interview tips!