18 Tips to Ace Your Job Interview

These strategies will have you earning more and employed sooner.

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Finding a job in today’s economy is difficult. Simply searching for a job opportunity is tough enough. Throw in the dreaded job interview and difficult becomes downright stressful. However, it is possible to alleviate some of the stress. Here are 18 tips to help you ace your job interview. (See also: How to Answer 23 of the Most Common Interview Questions.)

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Know Where You Are Going

A few days before your interview, make sure to get directions to your interview location online. If the directions are confusing or you aren’t familiar with the location, take time to do a drive by so that on the day of your interview you don’t get lost.

Call to Confirm

The day before your interview, call whoever scheduled your interview to confirm the day and time. By making a quick “I just wanted to confirm our 12pm interview time tomorrow” call, you will show that you are organized and respect the interviewer’s time.

Hygiene

Before your interview, make sure your hygiene is up to par. For men, this means making sure your hair is in control and that you are clean-shaven. For women, this means making sure to put on a little bit of makeup and doing your hair.

Review Your Resume

The night before your interview, go back over your resume to make sure you have everything on it that best highlights your skills and accomplishments as they relate to the position you are applying for. Make sure you know your major talking points for the interview so that you are adequately prepared.

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Research the Company

Take the time to research the company you are interviewing with. Know what they do, their mission statement, any major events in the company’s history, and any other relevant information. By showing that you know about the company, you will convey an interest that the interviewer will appreciate.

Research Your Interviewers

When researching the company, also be sure to do a little research on anyone who will be interviewing you. By knowing their role in the company and any major professional accomplishments they have, you will demonstrate that you care not just about the company but about the employees and that you will be a great coworker.

Dress the Part

If you want the part, you have to look the part. Figure out the kind of culture the company has, then dress a level up. By doing this, you will demonstrate a level of professionalism that will be looked upon favorably.

Drive Safely

Your interview starts as soon as you enter the parking lot and doesn’t end until you leave the parking lot. Be sure to be a good driver when driving. Reckless driving will label you as an irresponsible liability the company doesn’t need.

Be Early

Whatever you do, do not be late. Show up early to demonstrate that you are responsible and appreciative of the interviewer’s time. Even showing up on time doesn’t cut it as that will simply show you will do the bare minimum to get by. Employers want employees who will go above and beyond.

Turn Your Cell Phone Off

One major interview faux pas is to have your phone ring during an interview. Make sure your cell phone is off or on silent during an interview. Or better yet, just leave it in the car.

Bring Multiple Copies of Your Resume

If you were giving a presentation during a company meeting that required a handout you would make sure you had made enough copies for everyone in the meeting, right? Well, chances are you will have multiple people interviewing you, so be prepared and respectful of each interviewer by bringing a copy of your resume for each of them.

Watch Your Nonverbals

Be sure to make good eye contact, give each interview a solid handshake, and not fiddle with a pen. Your nonverbal cues are very important in an interview, so do your best to not just talk confidently, but act confident too.

Have an Elevator Speech Prepared

Most of the time, the first question you will be asked is, “tell me about yourself.” Make sure you are ready for this question by having a brief, 30-second elevator speech ready to go that highlights your job history and accomplishments as well as what you are looking for in your career. Memorize the speech by heart and learn how to deliver your pitch with charm and confidence.

Be Prepared for Certain Questions

Inevitably you will be asked questions along the lines of “what is your greatest weakness,” “why do you want to work here,” and “how does your current skill set fit with this position.” Be sure you know how to answer these questions and any other relevant questions before your interview so you don’t get caught off guard.

Stay Positive

We have all had jobs we hated, worked on projects that were difficult, and had bosses we butted heads with. You will probably be asked about difficult situations in previous positions, so be sure to stay positive about those situations by highlighting your success in that situation as well as anything beneficial you learned from it.

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Have Questions

At the end of your interview, you will be asked if you have any questions for the interviewer. Have questions prepared to ask each interviewer. For example, you could ask, “What is your favorite part of your job?” By coming prepared with questions for your interviewers, it shows that you are prepared and have interest in the company.

Take Notes

During your interview, be sure you have a notepad with you so you can take notes when the interviewers answer your questions or give you more information about the job and company. Just make sure you continue to make eye contact with the interviewer and not simply writing frantically on your notepad.

Follow Up

At the end of the interview, get business cards from everyone who interviewed you and send them a thank you note or email within 24 hours. Doing this demonstrates that you are appreciative of their time.

Ashley Jacobs is a college finance columnist for personal finance blog Wise Bread. Follow her latest tweets on @CollegeCents.