When it comes to acing a job interview and job interview advice, you may be convinced that you already know everything you need to know. But, just because you’re familiar with the nuts and bolts doesn’t mean there’s zero room left for improvement in your interview skills. There are some different tips and tactics that are lesser-known — yet just as beneficial.
Like what, exactly?
Here are five pieces of job interview advice you should know, but might not have heard before:
1. Research your interviewer
You know that you need to research the company ahead of your interview. But, beyond familiarizing yourself with its mission, values, culture, and recent happenings, it’s also wise to look into the people you’ll actually be interviewing with.
Chances are, you have their positions or names (or both) — meaning you’re equipped with what you need to do some digging on LinkedIn and other social media sites.
Why is this important? Getting to know the interviewers a little better will not only make you more comfortable, but it will also make it easier for you to strike up small talk about anything you have in common — whether it’s a shared alma mater or the fact that you both own rescue dogs.
2. Assemble a survival kit
Oftentimes job interviews can feel like one of those dreaded “what can go wrong, will go wrong” scenarios. However, not many people talk about how you can deal when you spill coffee down your shirt or there’s only metered parking available and you don’t have any change.
This is why it’s a good idea to assemble a survival kit ahead of your interview—so that you can be prepared for any curve balls that come your way.
Exactly what you want to include can vary based on your unique circumstances (such as whether it’s a remote or in-person interview, for example), but Michelle Goodman suggests some of the following in her article for ABC News:
- Bottled water and a snack (there’s nothing worse than having your stomach growl loudly right before you head into your interview!)
- Breath mints, deodorant, a stain stick, a spare shirt, and any other grooming items you think you might need
- Pen and notepad to take notes
- Extra business cards and copies of important documents — including your resume, reference list, and any presentations you need to give
- Have those things at the ready, and you can rest easy with the knowledge that you’re prepared for anything!
3. Start strong
There’s a lot of emphasis placed on how you conclude your interview. And, that’s for good reason—you want to end on a high note and leave a lasting, good impression. But, few people talk about how you begin an interview. As it turns out, that might matter more.
Some statistics state that bosses know within 90 seconds of an interview if they’ll hire someone. On the slightly less extreme side, a majority of hiring managers state that they make a decision about a candidate within 5 to 15 minutes of the interview beginning.
So, while you might have a little more time than a minute and a half to be impressive, it’s still important that you maximize that early portion of your interview.
Start with an engaging story or make sure that you play up your most relevant skills and qualifications early on. When it comes to interviewing, you don’t want to bury the lead.
4. Remember your body language
It’s easy to focus solely on the words you use to answer interview questions, but it’s important that you remember that your nonverbal cues often say more than your words.
Of course, you don’t want to be chewing your nails or fidgeting in your seat. However, there’s another nonverbal cue that people tend to lose sight of (pun intended) when they’re nervous: eye contact.
Maintaining eye contact will help you connect to that employer, while also portraying your confidence. No, you don’t need to lock eyes and engage in a staring contest. But, make sure that you’re making adequate eye contact during your interview — and not looking down or shifting your glance all around the room.
5. Prepare questions (and not just answers)
You’ve rehearsed your very best answers to common interview questions, yet in the process, you neglected to prepare for the last question that interviewers use: “Do you have any questions for me?”
In order to appear engaged in the hiring process, you want to have some well-informed and thoughtful questions to ask your interviewer. Unfortunately, those are tough to think of on the spot. So, make sure that you don’t just show up to the interview armed and ready with answers — have some questions in your back pocket too.
Think you know everything you need to know to ace an interview? Think again. While you might have the basics already covered, make sure you also implement these five lesser-known tips to increase your chances of landing the job.
Greg Kratz is a contributing writer for FlexJobs blog and a former reporter, editor, and work-life balance columnist for the Deseret News and deseretnews.com in Salt Lake City.