The day of the interview is drawing close. You’ve already poured your effort and energy into the preparations before the big day (part 1) - clothes, answers, and mental are all good. You feel ready. But then you began to wonder - what’s gonna happen?
In part 2 of our interview preparation series, we will discuss what you can expect to happen during the job interview itself - what to do, how to behave, and more. These are the 9 things that you can do in an interview to help you get closer to that job offer.
During the Interview
Preparation is key, but it all comes down to this moment. This is how you can use that preparation to maximize your performance during the interview, from how to answer questions, how to ask questions, and what to do after.
There’s nothing to worry about. You’ve worked hard making your preparations before, and it’s all gonna pay off during the interview. Your preparations will make you have an easier time - you know what to expect, how to respond, and what to say. You’ve put your effort and done what you could, so there’s no reason to worry.
If you’re still anxious over the outcome, think of it this way. If the worst happens, it’s not your fault. You did your best, you were honest. It doesn’t mean you failed, it just means that you’re not the best match, that’s all. Make it a learning experience so that later when you meet the company that matches you, you can sharpen your interview skills even more.
An interview is just you and the company seeing if you match each other.
Don’t forget that an interview is just a conversation, you and the company getting to know each other, seeing if you guys are the best for each other like a date. So just relax. You got this.
15. Be human
Don’t talk like a robot waiting for input and then repeating the exact answers you memorized word for word. It’s good that you practiced your answers beforehand, but you shouldn’t just blindly copy paste it whenever. That’s no different from memorizing your answers for an exam but not learning anything, like in school.
Hello fellow humans!
Practice, but it’s better to memorize just the main points of your answers instead of whole sentences. That way, you can fill in and connect the points naturally as you speak, making your answers not so rigid. Recruiters have superhuman senses that can tell if you’re being rigid, so don’t limit yourself to answer templates.
Remember, it’s a conversation. Start with small talk, loosen up the atmosphere. It’ll be easier to feel confident and then talk like you would normally do.
16. Take time to answer
Life is full of surprises, and so are interviews. As much as you can prepare, there will be some unpredictable questions that you’ll hear, or you simply forgot your answer at the time, or you didn’t prepare (which you should).
When this happens, it’s important to know that you can - and should - take a few seconds in thought. It’s understandable that you may be afraid of the silence and feel rushed to come up with an answer or worry being seen as unprepared and stuff. In truth, it’s okay to take time to think about your answer.
It’s okay to take some time to answer.
You don’t need to say “hmm” or any noise while you’re taking time. Silence is okay, and a “hmm” isn’t adding any valuable points to your answers.
As said, recruiters have superhuman senses. If you’re silent because you’re really thinking about the question and making the effort to craft the best answer you can, they will know and appreciate this. A proper answer is way better than a hastily crafted one.
That said, don’t take too long. If it comes to the worst and you can’t come up with an answer, be honest and tell them you’ll answer it later in the interview. Note down the question, think about it, and answer it when you can.
17. Mind your body language
Your body language can say a lot of things and give off many signals. Especially in nerve-wracking situations like an interview, you may forget that your body is telling people that you’re nervous. Let’s make sure you control your body language and not the other way around.
Not so conspicuous, though.
Stand up, smile, firm handshake, and eye contact when you first meet the interviewer. Your hand shouldn’t be too soft like a fish or gripping to hard. Pick one eye to maintain contact with when talking. These are just some of the basics of body language that says you’re confident, and this makes the interviewer also feel comfortable talking to you.
Try not to fidget. I know this is easier than said - I fidget myself. If you have to, do fidget under the table, and be sure not to make any noises when you tap your feet.
18. Take credit, be humble
Ultimately, in an interview you’re supposed to convince the interviewer why they should hire you. You’re supposed to show off your strengths and experiences, and - in a sense - sell yourself, so don’t sell yourself short.
Don’t be afraid to take credit of your accomplishments. Focus on the extra mile you achieved, not just what you were supposed to do. If you worked in a team, then highlight your contributions in the team that led you guys to your achievements. Give them a reason to hire you.
Don’t be the guy nobody likes to work with.
That said, stay humble and professional. You shouldn’t just mindlessly brag. If you received support in your accomplishments, then say so. It’s always nice to see someone who appreciates others, but nobody likes working with a show-off, you interviewers included.
19. Show your enthusiasm
You qualifications are already known from your resume. What interviewers want to see is if you’re a good match for the company and if you’re going to stay with them, which can be answered by showing your enthusiasm.
If you love the job you’re applying for, great! You have more reasons to be excited about. Get that enthusiastic state of mind and think of all the things to look forward to: a fresh new office, meeting new people, getting paper, all the possibilities. This isn’t about faking it till you make it, rather about being optimistic and loving what you do.
Once you get hold of your enthusiasm, make sure you let your interviewers know through a big smile, a clear voice, and simply saying how excited you are for this opportunity.
20. Stay away from money
An interview is not the time for discussing compensation and benefits - save it for after the offer. Don’t ask or mention about salary in your interview, because that suggests that you’re only in it for the money. Be patient, there will be a time to discuss later in the recruitment process.
It can wait.
If the interviewers asked first, whether about your expectations or your previous salary, simply answer with a range, never an exact figure. Better yet, remind them that you’d like this interview to focus on seeing if you fit with their company, and ask to discuss this later during the offer negotiations.
21. Ask questions
When you reach the end of the interview, your interviewer will ask, “do you have any questions for us?” The correct answer is “yes”. If they don’t, then take the initiative and let them know you have some questions yourself.
Asking questions to the interviewer is a great way to show that you’re enthusiastic and taking this seriously, as well as getting some nice information for yourself. Asking about the career path in the company suggests that you intend to stay and build a career with them, not just job-hopping like most millennials.
Some other brilliants questions include asking the interviewer what makes them want to work here. This is a great way to get an insight on their culture. Asking more about the job description is not a show of incompetence, but that you did your research and would like further clarification on this career.
This is your chance to truly get to know the company and see if you would fit here. An interview is a two-way conversation, after all.
22. Follow up
There’s one more thing to do when the interview is over. Shoot a thank-you email to the interviewer a few hours after it’s done. Tell them how you’re grateful for the time they took for this opportunity, and of course, how you look forward to hearing from them. Simple shows of appreciation like this can get noticed and go a long way.
Ace that Interview
That concludes part 2 of our interview series. Those are 22 tips that you can do to prepare before, during, and after the interview to make sure you present your best self, make the most of the interview, and up your chances to move forward.
Remember that an interview is just a conversation. As long as you put effort, stay honest, and have read this guide, you’ll be fine. Take it easy, and good luck!