Preparing for the Interview: Top 8 Interview Tips

You’ve got an interview coming up and are starting to feel a few nerves, some excitement, a little anxiety or maybe a combination of all the feels! This may not be your first interview, and even if you’ve interviewed dozens of times, a bit of prep never hurt anyone!

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Here are our top Interview Tips:

The list can go on but in my years working with companies of all sizes that are hiring, I’ve noticed that these tips, while basic, provide candidates with useful guidance and hopefully confidence, key in an interview!

Tip 1 – Do your homework.  In addition to familiarizing yourself with the company’s overarching mission, spend a little time looking for recent company initiatives. This not only signals that you prepared, it also sends the message that you’re curious and interested in the organization.  

Tip 2 – Ask thoughtful questions.  Part of this is included in doing your homework. But in addition to having a few prepared questions, pay attention to new information that surfaces during the interview – and don’t be afraid to incorporate it! Let them know you’re listening.

Tip 3 – Know your strengths and weaknesses.  Project confidence and sincerity by coming to the table with a well-developed, carefully articulated sense of your strengths. Be open about your weaknesses (nothing sounds more disingenuous that “I’m 100% awesome”) but I’ts ok to frame them in a positive way 

Tip 4 – Gauge what the culture is like.  Pay attention to the demeanor of your interviewers and think about what kind of work culture that demeanor belongs to. Using “vibes” to assess potential fit is important.

Tip 5 – Don’t discuss salary & benefits.  Focus on your accomplishments and the value you can bring to the company. Save the salary discussion for after they offer you the job unless they bring it up.

Tip 6 – Get sleep the night before.  Treat your interviews with the same seriousness you would bring to an important presentation. Take care of your body: rest up, drink water, and put your energy toward putting your best foot forward.

Tip 7 – Think about your body language.   Practice looking poised, but comfortable. Don’t touch your face excessively. Make eye contact even virtually. If it’s a virtual interview, raise your camera so it is level with your eyes and make sure you are looking at the camera and not another screen.  If you have notes that you want to reference, put them on a post-it around the camera lens.  Consider lighting, background noise, distractions and what can be seen in your background when on camera.

Tip 8 – Tell a story.  If your interviewer wanted a flat list of your accomplishments, they would just reread your resume. The interview itself is for fitting those details into a story about who you are, how you got here, and where you’re going. They want to hear about your accomplishments, what you are most proud of and who you are to garner fit.  Share with them!

If you’re looking for some more interview tips, here are a few articles that I’ve found to be particularly insightful:

The Hire Ventures Blog has a wealth of information 🤗 (of course!)

Forbes: 12 Surprising Interview Tips.  This article cleverly breaks up its tips into before, during, and after the interview. The specific suggestions and concrete communication frameworks add some detail to the general tips on the previous page.

The Muse: 8 Ways to Make a Great First Impression at a Job Interview.  While I think the idea of “nailing” an interview in the first five minutes is kind of gimmicky, this article usefully breaks down the importance of first impressions.

US News and World Report: Top Five Interviewing Tips For Experienced Professionals. Like I said, this isn’t your first rodeo. This article offers some specific insight that people with extensive backgrounds bring to the table.

Glassdoor: The 8 Questions Asked in Nearly Every Job Interview.  As you know, it’s important to come to the interview with some prepared answers to specific questions. I thought this list covered the basics well.

Good luck!