We’ve all experienced a job interview that didn’t go the way we hoped it would. The key to improvement is to use that experience to better your skills. Identify what went wrong and determine how you can avoid making those mistakes again. Whether you have recently completed a college degree or are many years into your career, these four steps can help you improve your next job interview.
1. Do more research.
Researching a company or organization is a major factor in feeling comfortable during a job interview. Having a strong understanding of what the company or organization you are interviewing with does is essential to a successful interview. Start by reviewing the “about us” section of a company or organization’s website to get an understanding of what products or services they offer. In addition, it is a good idea to research the following areas:
- Value and missions statements
- Recent external news stories about the company or organization
- Internal news releases and blogs
- Community involvement initiatives
Incorporate what you have learned as part of your research when answering or asking questions during your interview. The more you know about the company or organization you are interviewing with, the better.
2. Ask the right questions.
Rather than coming up with two or three questions that you plan to ask during your interview, consider coming up with seven to 10 questions. Keep in mind that during your interview, many of the questions you have previously come up will likely be answered before you have the opportunity to ask them.
Coming up with quality questions is another reason why researching a company or organization is important. While completing your company research, write down questions that come up. Consider asking questions about the following areas:
- Top priorities of position
- How previous employees have been successful in the position
- Potential challenges of the position
- Workplace culture
3. Actually listen.
During an interview, you are on our toes; ready to take on the next question. Rather than only thinking about what you’re going to say next, take the time to really understand what is being told to you or asked of you.
Taking the opportunity to tie what the recruiter or hiring manager has previously said to future questions lets them know that you are actively listening and are excited about the position. If the recruiter or hiring manager requests a second interview, it is beneficial to be able to touch on topics that were discussed previously.
4. Practice. Practice. Practice.
You’ve heard it before: practice makes perfect. As you would with any presentation, take time to practice how you want to present yourself during a job interview. Complete a simple web search of common interview questions by industry or even job title. Recite your answers to the questions you find as though you would if you were being asked by a recruiter or hiring manager.
If you are current student or alumni, consider contacting your college’s career services department. The career services staff members are often available to complete mock interviews.
During your practice sessions, be conscious of any distractions you may be causing. Common distractions can include:
- Poor posture
- Tapping fingers on table or feet on ground
- Chewing gum
- Overusing filler words such as “umm” or “uhh”
Follow these four steps to feel more confident and prepared for your next interview. Good luck!