How to Ace the Job Interview

Do your homework on the company and the interviewer prior to the interview

As you may have heard, many times an interviewer knows if he or she wants to hire you in the first few minutes of the interview -- sometimes even before the first interview question is asked.

There are a variety of things you can do to make sure you are well-received early on in the job interview process. Here are a few keys to getting off to a strong start:

  • Arrive early: It’s always a good idea to arrive 10-15 minutes before an interview. This gives you some time to mentally prepare. It also gives you time to review your notes, turn off your cell phone, remove sunglasses, etc.
  • Dress for success. Dressing in your best professional attire is always a good idea. Even though the job may not require you to dress that way, the interview is your opportunity to show the interviewer that this is important to you. Wear the nicest work attire you have and pay attention to the details: Make sure you have no holes in your clothing, your clothes are clean, your shoes are shined, etc. Tech departments are usually business casual or even casual work environments (jeans and t-shirts), but for the interview, it’s best to project a professional image.
  • Make a good first impression. You truly don’t get a second chance when you first meet a hiring manager. Offer the interviewer a warm smile and firm handshake. Make strong eye contact and show genuine interest in the interviewer to get the meeting started off on a strong note.
  • Ask the right questions at the right time. Do your homework on the company and the interviewer prior to the interview. This enables you to make the interview a two-way discussion and adds more credibility to you as a candidate for the job. Arrive with questions you would like to ask in the interview. Don’t go overboard, but have a handful of questions that are most important in the first interview, such as “What are the key skills required to be successful in this job?” Candidates who ask no questions during an interview are almost always dismissed because they either seem to have done no homework, or they don’t appear genuinely interested in the job. Conversely, asking too many questions in the first interview – or the wrong questions (“How many days off will I get?”) -- can be off-putting.
  • Express enthusiasm for the job. If you have genuine interest in the role at the end of the interview, make it clear to the interviewer. I have heard many managers over the years dismiss a highly-qualified candidate because they didn’t feel like the candidate really wanted the job. Leave no doubt that you are interested and want to continue the process.

These are just a few keys to a successful job interview. If you have tips to add, I’d like to hear from you on this topic. Thank you.