11 Interview Tips That Will Help You Stand Out And Get The Job

By Maddie Lloyd - Mar. 8, 2021

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When you’re getting ready for a job interview, you’ve probably already gone through the standard preparation ritual: practicing your answers for the most common interview questions, setting aside your perfect interview outfit, and reading up on how to make a great first impression.

We’ve all heard the standard interview etiquette tips: show up on time, don’t dress like a slob, put your phone away, and so on. We’ve heard this advice so many times, it’s almost lost its meaning.

Here’s the deal:

While most of these tips just make you look like a decent human being, there are some real secrets to the trade that can give you a serious edge over other candidates. The best part? We’ve conveniently compiled them all for you right here.

Here are the 11 interview secrets that will make you stand out from other candidates and help you land the job:

11 Interview Tips to Land Your Dream Job

  1. Research the company before your interview. There are plenty of ways to research a company before you step foot in the interview room. Visit the company’s website to gauge the tone and culture of the workplace.

    Browse social media and pay special attention to how the company interacts with its followers. Look up the founder, CEO, or other high-ranking employees on LinkedIn (more on that below).

    You can even reach out to industry experts (if they’re a part of your network) to learn what they have to say about the company.

    You can expect the interview question “what do you know about our company” to come up, but this research is about more than answering one question. It’s about projecting yourself as the best cultural fit for the company, and you can’t do that without having at least a baseline understanding of the company culture.

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  2. Learn about the person who’s going to be interviewing you. Look into the person you’re going to be meeting with. Try to figure out if they’re an HR representative, the director of your potential department, or the CEO. Check out their LinkedIn profile to read up on their career history.

    When you go into the interview knowing the background of the person you’ll be talking to, you’ll be able to connect with them on a deeper level and address their specific concerns.

    If you’re going to be meeting with a CEO or company founder, they’ll probably be more interested in the big picture, so talk about your big accomplishments. If you’re interviewing with your potential immediate supervisor, show them why you’re the best person to tackle the daily responsibilities of the job. Pander to your audience.

  3. Prepare for the most common interview questions. While you don’t want to sound like a robot, it’s good to practice answers to the interview questions that get asked all the time.

    Just be sure to listen carefully as the interviewer asks a question, so you don’t automatically go into your routine and answer a completely different prompt.

    While it’s impossible to prepare for every question, there’s an easy trick that’ll help you be prepared for every type of question. Many questions that come up in an interview have to do with set topics like conflict, challenges, accomplishments, strengths, weaknesses, work style, work environment, career goals, etc.

    The trick is to not prepare for exact questions relating to these topics but to instead have at least one story prepared for each category of question. Hiring managers and recruiters love to hear evidence of what you’ve done and self-awareness about how you do it.

    Practice the STAR method (situation, task, action, result) to formulate coherent answers that are easy for interviewers to understand.

  4. Plan ahead. Plan what you’ll wear, how you’ll get there, any materials you want to bring with you, and what you’ll be doing before and after the interview.

    Give the job description one more read-through to make sure you have a plan to showcase how and why you match and exceed the requirements. With all that logistical stuff out of the way, you can focus on your interview performance.

    Take a walk, stay hydrated, listen to pump up (or relaxing) tunes, and get yourself in a confident, relaxed mindset for the interview. The idea is to arrive about fifteen minutes early to have time to collect yourself.

    Additionally, if you show up even earlier, stop studying and relax for a few minutes. That last-minute cramming won’t make a big difference, but showing up frazzled will. Don’t walk in until fifteen minutes prior to your interview, because showing up super early can be viewed as almost as disrespectful as showing up late.

  5. Don’t be rigid and stiff; show off your personality. No interviewer has ever left a meeting and said “Wow! That person had no personality at all. I can’t even remember their name — let’s hire them immediately!”

    While you should always present yourself as a professional, it’s your personality that’s going to get you remembered and land you that job offer.

    They already know that you have the skills needed for the job, so now’s your chance to show them the person behind the resume. You’ll have plenty of chances to show off your personality with questions like “What motivates you?” or “What do you do outside of work?” Just make sure to keep it semi-professional.

  6. Ask questions throughout the interview. Don’t save all of your questions for the very end of the interview. We all know that the last question of every interview is “Do you have any questions for me?” And because you did so much research beforehand, you’ve probably got a few ready to go.

    During an interview, you want to be engaged in a conversation instead of acting as if the meeting is an interrogation. Weave your questions into the conversation naturally as the topics come up. Sometimes, your questions might be answered before you can even ask them.

    When it gets to the point of the interview where it’s your turn to ask questions, use this time to ask anything that didn’t already come up in conversation or any housekeeping questions you’d like to have answered, like “When will you be making a hiring decision?” or “When can I expect to hear from you?”

    Asking your questions during the interview will create a normal conversation that will make you feel more relaxed and confident.

  7. Accept the beverage when they offer it to you. While you should never make the mistake of bringing your own beverage into an interview, you should always accept the one they offer you. Seriously.

    You want to come off as relaxed and composed during the interview so you can really show off that you’re the best person for the job. You’re so confident, not even a super stress-inducing interview that can determine your future can make you sweat.

    With that in mind, you’re going to want that water when you’ve been talking for a solid 30 minutes. Plus, saying “Yes, I’d love one, thanks!” is the natural thing to do when you’re offered a beverage — have you ever turned down a drink from your grandma? Nope, probably not. Just take the beverage.

  8. Schedule your interview for a time that’s most convenient for the interviewer. Yep, that’s right, even the time that you schedule your interview can affect its outcome. Choosing a time that’s convenient for you might seem like the best option, but really, you should be catering to the needs of your interviewer.

    • Avoid being the first or last interview of the day. Your interviewer’s brain will probably be preoccupied with everything they have to do the rest of the day or everything they have to do when they get home.

    • Avoid pre-lunch and post-lunch meetings. Scheduling an interview right before lunchtime will get yours cut short, and scheduling one for after lunch will mean you’ll probably be waiting around for a while.

    • Avoid interviews right before or after a long weekend or holiday. People’s minds tend to be elsewhere when they know they have time off ahead of them. You want your interviewer’s attention to be focused on you.

    With this in mind, the best time for an interview is typical mid-morning on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Feel free to ask for whatever time is most convenient for them — it will show that you’re courteous, which will earn you major points.

  9. Give yourself a pep talk before you go inside. It might sound silly, but reminding yourself of how awesome you are is a great way to boost your confidence before an interview.

    Before you go in, tell yourself out loud all of the reasons why you deserve the job: You have all the right qualifications, you’re smart, you’re a hard worker, and you know what? You’re gonna kick ass and blow the interviewer away.

    You can also try out “power stances” like “The Executive” (feet up on desk, hands behind your head) or “The Wonder Woman” (standing with legs spread and arms akimbo).

    Just like smiling can make you happier, standing in powerful, confident poses can make you feel more confident. Just don’t pull the executive stance while you’re actually in the interview room.

  10. Make a connection with the interviewer instead of just trying to impress them. Don’t go into your interview with your only goal being to impress the employer; try to make a genuine connection with them.

    This will show them that you’re friendly, personable, and you have great soft skills. These are all things employers look for in their ideal candidate.

    To make a connection with your interview, just go in for some good old-fashioned interview small talk. Ditch the lame weather and traffic conversations, and instead mention something about the company or ask the interviewer about themselves. They’ll appreciate that you asked.

    Also, use visual cues or things you notice during your walk through the office to start a conversation.

    For example, if you saw a bulletin board showing a Chili Cook-Off event coming up, you can mention how you love Tex-Mex and make a mean guacamole. Try to come off as a complete human being instead of just a job applicant.

  11. Send a follow-up email after the interview. And last, but certainly not least, you should always follow up the interview with a thank-you letter to the interviewer.

    Send this letter with 24 hours of your interview when you’re still fresh in their mind. Thank them for their time and the opportunity, and reiterate your interest in the position. Sending a well-crafted thank you letter is a great way to stand out from other candidates.

    Don’t send it immediately after the interview, or you might come across as desperate. But do customize your letter and try to incorporate a unique moment from the interview to instantly help the recipient remember who you were.

Final Thoughts

We all know the standard best practices for job interviews. While these tips are super valuable in showing off that you’re a professional and qualified human being, there are so many other things you can do to get ahead in the hiring process.

Follow these tips and you’re sure to crush your interview and land the job.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.
Maddie Lloyd

Author

Maddie Lloyd

Maddie Lloyd was a writer for the Zippia Advice blog focused on researching tips for interview, resume, and cover letter preparation. She's currently a graduate student at North Carolina State University's department of English concentrating in Film and Media Studies.

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