Top Strategies for an Interview: The Basics

Job interviews can be very challenging for many of us. Here’s some top strategies that cover the basics of an interview – if you can nail these you are a step ahead of your competition!

In addition to the tips I shared in Preparing for an Interview, here are some tips for the actual interview.   Armed with these tips you should be able to take your interviewing skills to an advanced level and perhaps even knock out the competition!

It’s All Part of the Interview

Above all, remember, it’s all an interview.  From the moment you walk in the door, your chatter with the receptionist, your job shadow with an employee through to your exit, consider it all part of the interview.  Oftentimes these “third parties” are asked for their input on you as well and you want that report to show your professionalism, that you asked good questions, and if possible, that you displayed some of the needed skills already.

Don’t Introduce Distractions into the Interview

Above all, don’t introduce distractions into the interview process.  It’s quite common to be offered a coffee or water during the interview process. Unless you feel you need a beverage to help with a “nervous dry mouth,” try to avoid accepting beverages.  They take the focus off you and worst case, you spill the drink out of nervousness as you are speaking.  Ikes!

Tied to this, turn off your phone or don’t even bring it in with you. If you do bring it in with you, turn off the ringer and turn off vibrate.  If you can believe it, I’ve actually had someone take a call during an interview!    Needless to say, they did not get the job.

Personalize the Interaction

To help make your interview memorable, personalize the interaction. Make sure to call the interviewers by their name periodically.  This will show that you care about them personally and that you’ve done your homework (Tip:   Use LinkedIn to find their pictures ahead of time and memorize who is who; interview introductions can be a hard time to remember names!).

To further personalize the interview, maintain good eye contact with everyone in the room throughout the interview.  If there is just one main person asking the questions, maintain your focus on them, but don’t forget about the notetaker.  They are just as important.  Don’t forget to nail your answers down with eye contact with them as well.

Don’t Be Too Modest

It can be hard to talk about ourselves in a success-oriented manner.  In an interview though, you have to do exactly that.  You don’t want to just tell them you can do the job, you want to show them you can do it really well.   A word of caution, there’s a fine line between highlighting your talents and bragging or stretching the truth. Make sure that you are genuine, honest, and not boastful.

How Do You Fare in these Areas?

Interviews can be challenging.  What are the areas you find the easiest and where do your challenges lie?   What’s your best interview tip?

24 thoughts on “Top Strategies for an Interview: The Basics

  1. Ah, I wish I had these amazing tips for when I was interviewing for my apprenticeship. These are great, I think that a lot of people could use these tips. I find that knowing the company is very good and if you manage to slip in these facts in your answers, you get brownie points!

    Em x

  2. I have massive anxiety over interviews, I’m hoping I don’t have to have one any time soon ????

    These are great tips though, that I’d use if I needed too.

  3. These are such great tips! I will be starting the interview process next year when I will be looking for a graduate job so thank you for this!

    1. You are very welcome Amber! The earlier article, linked to in this article, may be helpful as well to you as you start your job search! Best of luck!

  4. This post is so thoughtful and informative. I always worry about how to present and conduct myself during interviews and wonder about what types of questions can be asked. Thank you for sharing this!

  5. Great tips, definitely good to remember the first one about it all being part of the interview from the moment you walk in! xx

  6. These are some great tips and would have been perfect when I was applying for jobs. A little late now, as I’ve been at my job for two years, but I’m sure this would be perfect for anyone who is currently looking for their dream job – thanks for sharing x

  7. Omg! It’s been forever since I had an interview. I have all the anxiety that I can possibly have. I think your tip on calling them by the name is a good one. 😀

    Thank you!

    1. Thank you Inna – I’m glad you found this article helpful. Interviews can be tough for many so taking in as many tips as possible really helps!

  8. I agree with the interview tips touve mentioned here. I especially agree with the tip to personalize the interview. I would also add to do research and ask questions that are relevant to the position and working in the company to show that you are invested.

  9. I tend to ramble through interviews while talking off the top of my head. Sometimes they throw questions at you that you don’t anticipate, and that’s when I get the most nervous.

    1. I am the same way. One of my tips (to come) is to prepare 5-6 meaty examples that no matter what they ask you you can position to address the question. That really helps avoiding getting into this situation.

  10. I definitely agree with not being too modest. It’s hard to do but you only have an hour to demonstrate all your skills, knowledge and experience that proves your capability for the role.

    1. Exactly Emma! Its hard to talk so positively about ourselves, but when you think about it we should always be having that kind of positive self-talk. 🙂 (Not to say that I’ve mastered this by any means)

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