How to Ace a Job Interview

March 21, 2007

Job interviews are a tough nut to crack. You have a short period of time to convince total strangers that you’re the right candidate for them. Follow the tips below and your interview may end with a job offer.

1) Be Humble
No one likes a pompous ass! A recent mistake I’ve witnessed is trying to exude confidence but instead coming across as a cocky know it all. Be sure to convey your knowledge and experience but don’t turn them off by acting as though you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to your industry.

2) Be Google-Proof
The inevitable question always follows an interview, “Has anyone Googled them yet?” Don’t share anything online that you wouldn’t want a prospective boss to know. I know of several cases where a promising applicant ruined their chances of being hired by details they revealed on their website.

3) Be Honest
If you don’t know the answer to a question, just say so. If they ask you to rate yourself on certain skills, keep it real. Otherwise they’ll probe further and you’ll lose credibility once they break through the facade.

4) Know Yourself
My boss always asks some variation of the question, “What 5 words best describe you” or “What 5 words would your previous boss use to describe you.” Who do you think comes across better, someone who can list off their strengths right away or someone who stares at the wall trying to figure out how to explain who they are? Make sure you can back your up claims, read the next tip for more on this.

5) Always Know Why
An answer to a question often leads to another question. If you make a claim about yourself or your skills, make sure you can explain your answer to the interviewer. If you say “Java is the best development language hands down” but can’t come up with a reason for your opinion then you’re just full of hot air.

6) Share the Love
It’s important to figure out who the decision maker is in a group interview and sell yourself to them. However, avoid addressing all your answers and face time to them. What if you picked the wrong person? Or what if the boss will only hire based on a consensus from the team? For example, after a recent interview, our boss left it up to the three team leads whether we wanted the candidate.

7) Keep Skeletons in the Closet
Beware questions like “Describe your worst job ever” or “Tell me about a bad experience you had with a co-worker or customer and how you handled it.” Keep the answer short, to the point, and free of bad mouthing. Rambling on about your former boss or complaining about a previous co-worker puts a negative spin on things and may bring up questions in the minds of your interview panel.

8) Curb Appeal
Show off your skills. Provide a link to your web-based portfolio before the interview and make sure you reference it during the interview as well. You’ll have a limited amount of face time; give your prospective employer a chance to review what you’re capable of both before and after the interview.

9) Go on the Offensive
End the interview with questions of your own. In addition to answering your questions it reminds the interviewers that you’re a valuable asset who is evaluating them as well. Suddenly they are trying to sell themselves to you, not a bad way to end the interview.

10) Make a Connection
Make use of any personal details you pick up on during the interview. As you shake everyone’s hand on the way out bring up these tidbits and it will stick in their head. Wish them well with their new baby son Joshua or good luck on their upcoming project. They’ll notice your attention to detail and by human nature will appreciate the kind gesture.

There you have it, 10 tips to help you nail the interview for the job you always wanted.

For more in-depth tools and tips to help you ace the interview be sure to check out the Job Interview Success System and The Ultimate Job Interview Answers Guide.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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4 Responses to How to Ace a Job Interview

  • Abstract Annie

    Great Advice on How to Ace a Job Interview – don’t forget the reverse is true – make sure you Google the employer so that you know as much detail about them as possible!


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