How to Ace Your Next Job Interview

How to Ace Your Next Job Interview
Written by Robin Okwanma

Are you preparing for a one-on-one interview for that dream job? We all know the anxiety and uncertainty that comes with preparing for a job interview. We understand that you could be nervous; some self-doubt might creep in. Common questions that would come to your mind would be, “Am I a good fit for this job?” “Do I have the necessary documents?” “Does this company agree with my values and needs?” “Will I be satisfied with the working conditions?” You even have a right to question yourself whether you know enough about that organization to feel safe working there. Nevertheless, we urge you to prepare ahead with these few tips and build your confidence ahead of time. After all, the interviewers are human like you. But be ready to demonstrate you are the top choice and should not be swept aside.

Before The Interview Date

Conduct a Search on the Company

It is pertinent for you to investigate the target company before ever going there. Find out as much as you can about the organization, its mission and culture. Be sure the company can offer you an uplifting work environment that aligns with your values and goals. It will also help you to know what relevant questions you should be asking during the conversation. And if truly you are interested in working with the company.

You can start by checking for useful information on the company’s website. Do a Google search and check reviews of the company. the salaries and workers’ experiences. If you can get reports or journals of the company, all well and good – study them. Check also the profile of the interviewer if possible (LinkedIn is a good place to do that).

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Brainstorm and Prepare for Some Expected Interview Questions

You stand a chance of succeeding better at an interview by conducting an online research on typical questions you may likely be asked. Then prepare and write down convincing answers, and rehearse them. You can expect to encounter questions like:

  • Why do you want to work with us?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What are your strengths? And your weaknesses?
  • What special skills are you bringing into this job?
  • How long do you hope to work with us?
  • Where do you see yourself in three, four or five years?

Read the Job Description More than Once

Learn to go back to the source of the job (a job site, social media, or a newspaper perhaps) to read the job description and requirements all over again. Do that with a view to thoroughly understand what you would be expected to accomplish on the job. Prepare your mind to inform the interviewer on how your personality and abilities fit into the job role during the conversation. Also check if you have the requisite qualifications, skills and experience to handle the job.

Practice the Interview Ahead of Time

This is particularly important, as how much confidence you convey during an interview has a strong influence on its eventual outcome. It will be extremely good to rehearse the interview, with a friend or family member acting as the interviewer. You can do that physically, or by video call. Prepare and hand over the questions to your supposed interviewer. Introduce yourself and answer the questions. Then ask for feedback on how you performed, what impression you created, or if your answers sounded intelligible. Use that feedback to refine your preparation.

Another method would be to face a large or full-size mirror, then question and answer yourself in the typical fashion of an interview. Watch your own responses, reactions and facial expressions, then correct them and repeat the procedure.

For Online Interviews: Double-check Your Devices

A whole lot of interviews now include video or phone call interviews as part of the hiring process. It would be best to prepare and check the environment and the equipment (phone, computer, internet connection) first to ensure everything is functioning well. We understand that internet fluctuations may occur. But nevertheless you should make a determined effort to appear serious and ready. Here are a few suggestions to follow.

  • Your camera or webcam should be placed at eye level. And keep your gadget steady.
  • Find a quiet spot.
  • Make sure there is adequate illumination for your face. Position your face against natural, bright light. In the absence of that, use a good ring light.
  • Ensure the background of where you are calling is neat and organized.

Bring Every Necessary Document along

Never forget to bring along copies of your resume, original and photocopied credentials, and possibly a reference letter along with you. It might be necessary to present these documents to the interviewer all the same. That is in spite of having sent such documents by email or physically to the company before then. There are cases where the interviewer may not readily have those documents with him/her at that time. It is also good to have a notepad to jot down some important questions that came up during the interview, so you can review them later.

Be Punctual

It is far better to be too early than to be late. That way, you leave a clear impression that you are time-conscious and disciplined  That applies to both physical and online interviews. And make sure you are dressed up and ready before the time.

Dress Neatly and Formal

Your neatness and formal dressing cannot be overemphasized. Ensure your clothes are smooth, well-arranged and well-fitted to convey a sense of confidence and leave a good impression of yourself.

While the Interview is On.

Ensure you undertake the following steps:

Be Cheerful and Calm

Learn to smile, practice calmness even though both you and the interviewer are quite aware that you may be nervous. Try not to act restless or unfocused. Your words, your motions, you body language – let them show how confident you can be. Make eye contact. Speak clearly and calmly. Try to show the best version of yourself.

Speak less about Money (Unless Asked)

Yes, you may be asked what your salary expectation is – prepare a sensible answer. You can state a salary range that is not too low to meet your needs and not too high for the job category. Endeavor to make your own research about the expected salary range of that type of job on the internet, before the interview date. This is for you to have a reasonable answer that will not work against you later. But besides this, do not venture to ask questions about the salary or financial benefits – you can leave that till later, if and when you are employed by the company. To emphasize on money one way or another shows you care less about what you will contribute to that company, and more on what they should pay you.

Watch how you Describe Your Current (or Former) Employer

Edit your words about your former employer. Be less negative in describing your past relationship with your boss. Otherwise your words may be used against you. The interviewer might believe you could equally refuse to cooperate with your new boss, and that you are not mature in your dealings.

Be Open and Truthful

It would be wise to say what you know is true, try not to formulate unreal answers. Let your answers be as fact-based as possible. However, you can use your past experiences to illustrate how well you can handle the job at hand. Especially when asked questions on how you solved a challenge, or how you were able to handle criticism. Also show the interviewer how much you are interested in certain concepts related to the job that may come up in your.discussion. Let him/her know how well you understand that topic and how much it excites you. Combine that with a moderate but focused attitude, all the while determined to prove yourself.

Never forget the Concluding ‘Thank You’

And finally – politely thank your interviewer for the opportunity to answer their invitation. Step out of the office with a cheerful thank you. A follow-up thank you email will further give a good impression of you.


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About the author

Robin Okwanma

Hi, I'm Robin Okwanma. Software Engineer || Django, Python || React, React Native || Blogger. Technical Writer.