Top 10 Steps to Mastering the Job Interview

by Jonathan Solomon, Administrative Assistant

For many people, especially Millennials and Gen-Zers, landing the perfect job is essential to happiness. Yet, while many people try to bulk-up their resumes, gain experiences, and have the perfect cover letter written, there is one skill that sometimes gets neglected, job interviewing.

Job interviewing is not always fun and can be nerve-racking for many. The feeling of whether you are good enough for the position you applied for, the coldness of just a simple conversation or question, or just the fear of saying something completely wrong. We have all been there and know those feelings. Yet there are ways to combat those nerves and actually master the art of job interviewing.

If you search on Google the simple phrase “job interviewing advice,” you will wind up with 710 million search results. For those just starting out in interviews, that can be really daunting, so here are some standard, and perhaps not so standard, tips for mastering the art of the job interview.

1. Research the company

Knowledge is power, and in interviews having an understanding of the company can go a long way. When you are on a company’s webpage, look at their mission, purpose, vision, and history. Write down keywords in your padfolio or anything that you will bring to the interview.

2. Preparation is key

The Boy Scouts of America’s motto is “Be Prepared,” and in interviews, it is equally important. When prepping for an interview, not only research the company but write down your own selling points. Your resume is a vital tool to help you.

3. Anticipate general interview questions

We all know the questions, “tell me about yourself,” and “what is your biggest weakness?” General interview questions are great conversation starters, but they are easy to predict. Keep the answers short, but engaging. Write answers down by making bullet points of keywords in your padfolio to refer back to.

4. Dressing for the interview is of the utmost importance

If the company’s dress code is casual, dress-up anyway. It’s a signal to the interviewer that you are taking it seriously. A conservative business formal is always acceptable, but don’t neglect your personality because you want to be professional. Accessories, jewelry, make-up, and even scent all go a long way in those first 5 minutes of introductions.

5. Get there 10 minutes early & understand that as soon as you walk into the office the interview has started

Always, get to the interview between 10-15 minutes early. This allows other interviews to finish up and allows you to have last-minute prep. No matter who you interact with from the company, treat them as if they were your boss, especially the receptionist.

6. Always have extra resumes printed out

Sometimes, you aren’t just meeting or interacting with a single person. The front office assistant might ask for one, and the interviewer(s) might ask for copies. You may also want one to refer back to. Print out five copies and keep them in your padfolio at all times.

7. Always keep a small reference list on hand

You may or may not be asked to bring one, but it is apart of the etiquette of job interviews.

8. Be humble

One of the most common questions asked in an interview is, “what are your weaknesses?” To answer this, interviewees should be 100% honest and humble, but also say what you are doing to better yourself and overcoming those weak spots.

9. Be in the right mindset

Applicants should get a good night’s rest the night prior to the interview. Have a good breakfast, a cup of coffee or tea, and pack everything that you need early or the night before, so you aren’t rushing out of the house.

10. Be confident

Remember to remain humble, yet also confident when you walk in. Have a good handshake, handle yourself and your body language appropriately, and be prepared to engage in conversation and answer questions. If you are thrown a hypothetical situation during the interview, treat it as if you are consulting them on what your actions would be.

Bonus Tips

11. Ask questions

Prepare your questions in advance about anything related to the company or industry. Asking questions is a sign that you are committed to learning and are serious about the position.

12. Find a connection between you and the interviewer

When you go for an interview, remember that you are dealing with a person. Use clues from the person’s jewelry, accessories, pictures, office space, or even a topic that the interviewer might have revealed a bit of information about themselves.

13. Keep the interview conversational

Great interviews are where you can have a conversation with someone about the business or industry. As an applicant, you are there to fight for a job, but also to add value to an organization. Use your knowledge and critical thinking, regardless of experience, to dive deeper into the daily operations, culture, and industry of the organization.

Interviewing doesn’t have to be scary and the best practice is simply doing them. Learning from their experiences is crucial and in time you will be able to master job interviewing by having the right mindset and attitude when you walk into an office.