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If you’re looking for tips for acing your next job interview, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve coached hundreds of professionals on how to ace an interview. Interviewing for a new job can bring up mixed emotions. It can be nerve-wrecking and stir up anxious feelings and thoughts. Your mind can easily spiral into a variety of unpleasant scenarios and “just calming down” isn’t always so easy. One of the most important things to remember is that the interview is an opportunity for you and the potential employer to decide if you’re a good fit for the role and the company culture.
It’s easy to get carried away with wondering “will they like me” or “how can I impress the interview panel?” In today’s world you have to remember that the potential employer doesn’t hold all the power because YOU also have to determine if this is a place that will help you meet your current and future career goals.
When you think about an interview from this perspective, it makes it a little easier to approach and helps you focus more on how you’re going to walk in there and demonstrate why you’re the best person for the job.
Below are my top 3 tips to help you ace your next interview.
One of the best things you can do before your next interview is to gather all of your receipts that speak to the value and results you bring to organizations where you have previously worked.
Employers want to see results and they want to be able to predict what you can do for them. The common phrase, “past results can predict future performance” is real here and hiring managers think about this as they are deciding between candidates.
This is why it is important for you to set up a “brag” or “wins” folder somewhere on one of your personal devices. This is where you’re going to keep all the emails that people have sent you that give you props about the work that you’ve done. You’ll also want to keep the emails that you’ve sent detailing the work you’ve completed on specific projects and presentations. Make sure to save all the feedback from your performance reviews and any special shoutouts and awards you’ve received both professionally and personally.
If you don’t have any of the above, then it’s even more important to keep track of everything you’ve done in your role. Think about personal goals and skills you’ve gained to include in this folder as well.
This folder can take a variety of formats. It can be a Google Doc where you copy and paste all of the things that people have praised you for, or it can be an actual folder on your personal device that has saved emails or presentations that you’ve done. This way, it will be much easier for you to save this on an ongoing basis, rather than trying to gather all the information right before an interview. My favorite phrase has always been, stay ready so you don’t have to get ready.
After you gather your receipts, you want to make sure that you are not selling yourself short. An interview is not a time for you to be humble, this is a time for you to talk about the hard work that you have done to get to where you are in your career. For many, self-advocating may feel uncomfortable or unnatural, but if you don’t advocate for yourself and speak to the hard work that you have done, who will?
To make it more natural, practice, practice, and practice even more! Select stories and examples that excite you and bring back fond memories. You want to give examples that highlight an existing problem and showcase how you solved it. Also, don’t forget to tie your examples back to the skills and responsibilities listed on the job posting. For example, if there is a responsibility that requires relationship building, practice telling a story that highlights how talented you are with building and maintaining new relationships in the workplace.
Your interviewer will see you the way you see yourself. This means, you should be projecting confidence (not cockiness) throughout your interview. Practicing your responses to common interview questions should help take the edge off.
A common interview question is, “So, tell me why you’re looking for a new job?”
This is “that” question that can often leave you stumbled on how to respond, but even if the potential employer doesn’t ask you why you’re looking for a new role, you need to have a thoughtful answer prepared.
To prepare an answer to this question, start by asking yourself these three questions (this will get you started with forming a meaningful answer!)
The first question helps you gain a deeper understanding of the specifics of what is driving you towards the next role. After all, you do not want to fall into the same type of position again, right? You will also need to demonstrate to the employer that you’ve done your research and you’ve taken your previous experience and learned from it. It is ok to briefly highlight one reason that you are looking for a new role, but make sure that specific reason is a “light” and “relatable” one.
You don’t need to go down a rabbit hole of reasons that may bring up stress, trauma, or additional questions. For example, if your current role focuses more on data analysis than project development, then it is ok to say that!
Once that is out of the way, your goal is to always focus on the positive side of things including your excitement for the new role, company, and your future there! When answering the question, make sure to highlight two to three things about the position that excites you the most. Then shift your focus to explaining why you want to work for that specific company and department and your hopes for the role.
As you’re answering your questions, hold your head high, smile, and don’t forget to breathe. YOU are the prize! The company you’re interviewing for would be lucky to have you.
There are many great resources to help you along your journey of interviewing for a new role. I highly recommended checking out LinkedIn Learning. With a library of over 10,000 courses there’s something to address every career growth need.
As a LinkedIn Learning Instructor, I can offer you a 30-day free trial to access courses that include trainings on interviewing, searching for a job, networking and more. Click here to access your 30-day trial.
With practice and intentional effort, you can and will easily ace your job interview. Preparation, confidence, and knowing your worth will help you stand out in an interview.
As always, remember to be kind to yourself as you navigate your job searching process. It can be challenging at times, but you’re doing the best that you can do. You got this!
Cheers to your success!