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If you have read my post on how to get a job fast and have networked effectively, then you’ve probably landed a job interview or two and you’re wondering how to ace a job interview.
I know it wasn’t easy and required a lot of work upfront landing the interview without a guarantee of your dream job, but you’re half way there! Someone has finally given you the chance to impress them, so don’t disappoint!
Continue the hard work and learn how to ace a job interview because you’re almost there!
5 tips for how to ace a job interview
How to ace a job interview starts with being enthusiastic! Make sure you come into the interview with high energy. The saying goes “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”.
I know it’s tough and exhausting, especially if you’re an introvert. But you can fake this for 30 minutes to an hour max.
Have charisma or a sense of humor. Be happy and light hearted.
Remember that these people interviewing you will have to work with you or manage you 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. They want to like the person they hire!
Being unpleasant is definitely NOT how to ace a job interview.
Research the role and the company
Chances are you’ve probably researched the role well when perfecting and tailoring your resume in applying for this position. If not, it’s time to start in your journey of how to ace a job interview!
Know the role
- What are the responsibilities of the role?
- What are the skills required for the role? Are you missing any of these? How will you compensate for these lack of skills?
- What are the difficulties someone might face in the role?
Know the company
In addition to researching the role well, research the company you are potentially going to work for.
- What does the company do? What does the company produce or what service do they provide? Who are the clients? What customers do they serve?
- What does the company stand for? What does the company value? What are some mission statements the company has? You can often find these on the company website
- Who are the competitors in the field? What are the differences between these companies?
Know the standard interview questions
Plan how to ace the job interview with common interview questions. There are several standard, and very boring, interview questions that you should have prepared.
Some hiring managers have no originality or creativity in their interview questions, or they have to stick to an HR script. So they will ask some very typical and predictable questions below.
Standard interview questions
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why should we hire you?
- What are your strengths?
- What is your biggest weakness? Don’t just identify it, but also state how you plan on addressing it!
- Why do you want this position? Tie your strengths in here!
- Why do you want to work for this company? If you can tie this in with the company values and mission statement, that’s even better!
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- What is your biggest achievement?
- Why do you want to leave your previous position?
- How would your colleague/boss/friend describe you?
Be prepared and know the answers to these questions. Do not answer these questions in one word sentences. Always explain and elaborate your answers, which leads me to my next tip of the STAR method.
How to ace behavioral questions in an interview
Ace the interview during behavioral questions with the STAR method. Behavioral questions are interview questions that are often more difficult and complex to answer, so you need to be prepared in order to ace the job interview.
Behavioral questions usually involve a situation and start with “Tell me of a time when…”
For example: the question could be “Tell me of a time when you disagreed or had a conflict with a coworker.”
What the hiring manager really wants to know is, are you a difficult person to work with? How did you resolve this conflict?
Do you get really angry when you don’t get your way or don’t like someone? Are you passive aggressive? Do you handle confrontation in a diplomatic or calm and solution oriented manner?
You can see how this question and how you decide to answer it can tell them a lot about who you are as a person.
Common behavioral interview questions
- Tell me of a time when you made a mistake or failed at work.
- Tell me of a time when you disagreed with your boss.
- Tell me of a time when you had to convince or persuade the opinion of someone in authority.
- Tell me of a time where you demonstrated leadership skills.
- Tell me of a time where you had to be creative or innovative
- Tell me of a time you went above and beyond at work.
- Tell me of a time where you had competing work priorities. How did you manage it?
- Tell me of a time where you had to quickly change/adapt/pivot something.
- Tell me of a time where you had to collaborate with a coworker and it wasn’t going well.
- Tell me of a time where you had to complete a task you had never done before or don’t know how to do.
Have some good examples of situations prepared for these behavioral questions. DO NOT try and wing these answers. It will not go smoothly. You will not get the job.
Don’t be lazy! Put the work in to prepare and practice.
Practice your story telling with the STAR method so that you are a clear communicator!
Use the STAR method
The STAR method is a form of storytelling. When you answer those behavioral interview questions, tell a story that is easy to follow and understand.
The STAR method stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result.
Using the same example above: “Tell me of a time when you disagreed or had a conflict with a coworker.”
Situation: What is the background of the example you are using? What is the situation? Give context so the hiring manager can understand the situation
Task: What is the task that was required? Perhaps you and your colleague needed to come to a resolution or agreement.
Action: What steps did you take to complete the task? If the task was to come to an agreement with your colleague, how did you accomplish that? Did you make a pro and con list to come to a conclusion? Did you make a plan?
Results: What was the outcome of your action? Was the disagreement resolved?
Have insightful questions to ask
At the end of the interview, the hiring manager always asks if you have any questions for them.
The worst thing you can do is say no.
How are you going to ace the job interview if you have opinions?!
Have some insightful questions to ask them to show that you have done your research and you are well prepared.
Ask relevant and insightful questions from your research.
Did the company recently acquire or merge with another company? Is the company launching a new product? How will these changes affect the position? Why is this position available in the first place? Is the company going through an expansion?
Related: Top 10 questions to ask the interviewer
How to ace a job interview with your network
If you have followed my networking tips, ideally you’ll have a contact at the company. Ask this contact for any valuable insights about the position, the company, and the hiring manager. This is where your networking is invaluable because these are insights you cannot get with a simple google search!
These insights are the inside scoop!
Perhaps you’ll find out that this is a very toxic company or manager that you don’t want to work for.
On the flip side, you find out the hiring manager is very easy going and has a great sense of humor. If so, you can demonstrate your personality a little more in the interview!
Remember that the manager has to spend 8 hours a day with you and they want to like the person they hire. This is why networking is SO important.
Not only is networking an important step in landing an interview, but it can also help you in how to ace a job interview.
So there you have 5 tips for how to ace a job interview!