Best Interview Tips for 2022by Oudraa S
Whether you are completely independent as an entrepreneur or still working for a company while you get your business situated, you have probably come across your fair share of interviews. Killing an interview takes particular set of skills and knowledge in order to ensure you are the top candidate to recruiters, even after they have spoken to a handful of other qualified individuals.
Preparing for and attending an interview can be incredibly stressful. However, if you’re equipped with the proper tips and tricks, you can ease your mind and walk out of an interview with the interviewer basically drafting your offer letter on the spot!
Job interviews don’t have to be as nerve-racking as they once were. If you go into the interview confidently and prepared, you’ll have a much higher chance of leaving with desired results. Read on to learn how you can kill your next interview.
What is an Interview?
An interview is a conversation between two people, an interview and an interviewee, that can be a formal or informal. Interviewers ask the interviewee questions in order to get information about them, their experience, and their knowledge. Interviewers are often looking for certain qualities in the person they are interviewing. These qualities typically include honesty, integrity, confidence, intelligence, and job-specific qualifications.
The most common type of interview is one in which the employer asks questions to assess an applicant's suitability for employment. The duration of a job interview can range from anywhere between 30 minutes to 1 hour. The time will really depend on the flow of the interview and how in-depth the questions being asked are.
The interview process begins with an advertisement, which typically includes information about what skills are required and what type of person the organization is looking for. When someone responds to the advertisement, they will be asked to complete an application form or send in their resume. This may be done by email or online, depending on how the company operates. The company may then call or email people who have applied and invite them in for interview if they feel that they may be a good match.
There are many types of interviews, such as face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews, video conferencing interviews and online interviews. The most common type of interview used to be the face-to-face interview. However, after the pandemic, remote phone and video interviews have become most common and may be here to stay.
How to Prepare for an Interview
Preparing for an interview starts with researching the company and position you are applying for. This research will help you understand what types of questions are likely to be asked during your interview. You should also practice answering these questions as well as possible so that you can present your best self during the actual interview. Practicing will also help calm your nerves and ensure that you don’t sound too rehearsed during the interview.
Presenting yourself during an interview is like giving an elevator pitch. You need to be able to quickly and coherently explain why you are the best candidate for the role you have applied to. Perfecting your elevator pitch will boost your confidence and allow the recruiter to see you in your best light. For tips on how to give a great elevator pitch, check out our blog here.
To prepare for your interview, consider doing the following:
- Research the company in advance and understand what they company does, who their competitors are, and what they stand for
- Prepare answers to common interview questions such as “tell me about yourself” or “what is your greatest strength?”
- Think about what you want from your new job, and prepare a list of questions you want to ask your interviewer
- Practice answering difficult or hypothetical interview questions so that you will be able to answer them confidently in an interview situation
- Do role-play with someone acting as the interviewer so that you can get constructive feedback
Although some thrive in situations where they are unprepared, it is rare. Most individuals will find more success in preparing for an interview, knowing the company they want to work for, and being ready to answer an array of questions. Preparing for an interview is not just about showing up on time and wearing appropriate clothes. There are many things that need to be done beforehand to make the best and a lasting impression.
Aside from adequately preparing for the interview and researching the company, you should also remember these additional tips:
- Speak calmly and clearly
- Make sure your answers are cohesive; don’t ramble!
- Think first, speak second
- Be an active listener; remember this is a conversation. You are encouraged to converse with and respond to your interviewer’s questions and comments. If the interviewer mentions that the company likes to host a Game Day each summer, it’s okay for you to briefly talk about how much you love playing frisbee! It shows that you are listening and not just waiting for the next question to be asked
- Show interest in the job, company, and conversation but try not to appear desperate. Desperation can be spotted easily and is usually off-putting to the receiver
- Remember your manners and express gratitude for the interviewer’s time and consideration
- Bring a paper and pen to take notes. You can ask the interviewer if it’s okay to take notes – this will help you keep track of the questions and ensure you don’t miss anything in your answers
The "STAR" Method
You will never be able to totally predict what an interviewer will ask but having scenarios that exemplify your skills and work ethic ready to go will help you immensely. Interviewers love scenario-based questions because it helps them understand how an interviewee deals with a situation and what they have learned from it. Many encourage interviewees to use the “STAR” method.
- Situation: Briefly describe the scenario or problem you were faced with. Make sure you use just enough detail so that the interviewer can fully understand what you were presented with and how you arrived at an appropriate solution.
- Task: Discuss what your role in the situation was and what you were tasked with. Explain what you were expected to do, or what you took initiative in doing.
- Action: Talk about what steps you took to deal with the issue, and why. Make sure you are clear in explaining the reason for your actions so that the interviewer can see that you are reasonable and able to justify your decisions.
- Result: Discuss the outcome of your actions and whether it was successful. Also explain what you learned from the situation and any steps you have taken to improve.
Let’s look at an example:
Interviewer: “Tell me about a time where you had to deal with an unhappy customer and explain what you did to navigate that situation”
Interviewee: [S] When I worked as a Customer Service Agent at Payday Bank, a customer called in and wanted to transfer a certain amount of money into a different account. However, due to the authorized daily transfer limits, I was not able to transfer their full requested amount and the customer was upset. [T] The customer expected me to transfer their requested amount right away because it was their money and they needed it right away. As an agent, I only had the authority to transfer an amount up to the authorized daily limit. I had to determine how to appease the customer, fulfill their request to the best of my ability and ensure they left the conversation with as much assistance as I could offer. [A] I first empathized with the customer and explained how I understood their frustration. It was indeed their money and not being able to have access to it immediately was an inconvenience. I then explained why our bank had the daily transfer limit in place - for security reasons, and assured the customer that this policy was not just in place for her specifically. I offered to transfer her funds up to the daily limit and then complete the rest of the transaction the following day. [R] Although still a bit frustrated, the customer agreed to transfer as much as she could and then finish the transaction the following day. I thanked her for her understanding and completed the transfer. I reiterated the transfer policy to ensure she would not run into a similar issue and also gave her a courtesy call the next day to confirm that I had completed the rest of her transfer request. The customer was thankful and apologized for her behaviour from the day before.
This example shows how the STAR method is used in action. You do not have to outline your scenario in the exact same way, but you want to make sure you hit the important points. The whole point of this method is to show how you are able to attack a problem head on and produce an effective solution. Even if your scenario does not involve another customer or client, always remember to discuss the problem, what your role was, and how you tackled the problem.
Questions to Ask During an Interview
An interview is really supposed to be a conversation. You do not want it to sound like a rehearsed monologue because that will come across as disingenuous. Interviewers typically ask the interviewee if they have any questions after the interview but that does not always have to be the case.
You can ask questions during the interview too, whether it be for clarification or to simply build rapport. You are encouraged to ask questions during and after an interview because it shows interest in the role and in the company. But always remember to answer the actual question the interviewer has asked as well.
Some questions to ask your interviewer include:
- What is the company culture like?
- What are your expectations of me?
- What is the typical day like for this position?
- Can you tell me about a typical day in a recent hire's shoes?
- What are the biggest challenges for this position and how does one overcome them?
- How would you describe the ideal candidate for this position?
- What is your favorite thing about your role or the company?
- What is your management style?
- Can you tell me about the training that I will receive?
- Are there opportunities for upward mobility and advancement here, stemming from my role?
- Do you offer any kind of mentoring program or career development opportunities for new employees at this company?
- How does your company address the importance of diversity and inclusivity?
- When do you expect to make a decision regarding the successful candidate?
These are just some questions you can ask during an interview if you are comfortable doing so. The questions that you ask the interviewer are just as important as the answers that you give. Even though it may not feel like it, you are also interviewing the interviewer! You need to make sure this company will be a good fit for you. Remembering this could save you a lot of time and heartache when it comes to deciding whether to accept an employment offer or not.
What to do After an Interview
Once the interview is over, the first thing you should do is take a deep breath. You did it! Interviews can be stressful and it's important to give yourself a pat on the back for getting through it, regardless of how you feel it went. There is a lot of focus on what to do before and during an interview but there are also a few things you can do after your interview.
First, you should thank the interviewer for their time and make sure they know that you are interested in the position (if that’s truly the case). You can either thank them on the spot or send a thank you email 1-2 days after your interview.
Next, you can follow up with them. If the interviewer said you would hear from them in the next week and you haven’t, you can send a gentle inquiry requesting an update. This follow up shows that you are indeed interested in the position, and that you are holding them accountable to what they told you during the interview. Even if the interviewer did not give you an “expect to hear from us by” answer, it is still okay to follow up.
Another thing you can do is ask for constructive feedback. This is typically encouraged if you are not the successful candidate. Although rejection may sting, receiving feedback can give you tips on how to improve for your next interview. This will also show the interviewer that you are able to gracefully accept rejection while still willing to better yourself. As this is an attribute many do not possess, it could help you nab a jab with the company in the future. If anyone helped you prepare for your interview, like a career advisor or even a friend, don’t forget to also reach out and thank them as well. Good-intentioned people are not always easy to come by.
Job interviews come with many different fears, anxieties, and opportunities. If you aim to be prepared, you’ll be able to navigate the choppy waters much better than an unprepared interviewee. Even if you are rejected, keep trying and applying. A new opportunity could be right around the corner! At the end of the day, people get hired, fired, or quit every single day.
Stay the course and good luck!