How to Ace Your Job Interview

Hit these eight points and you'll knock it out of the park.

On the one hand, job interviews suck. They're nerve-wracking, your palms sweat — it's the adult equivalent of the SATs.

But if you reframe job interviews as a chance to meaningfully connect one-on-one with people already working in the industry you want a foothold in, they can be a goldmine of intel and a chance to shine. Remember: The person interviewing is, in fact, a person. So no matter what, don't go in to robot mode. Take a deep breath, drop your shoulders, smile, and be yourself. Hit these eight points and you'll knock it out of the park.

Do Your Homework

Walk into the interview well-versed in the specific company and the industry's trends in general. Research the company's key players as well as your interviewers.

"Look at their profiles on LinkedIn and see if you find a common bond," says David Lewis, chief executive of OperationsInc., a human resources outsourcing and consulting firm, told the New York Times. "If you are able to say, 'I went to the same college as you' or 'I also majored in psychology,' that demonstrates you really did your homework."

Dress the Part

You know the expression: Dress for the job you want. Come looking like you already work there and are giving an important presentation. Even if it's a casual tech startup, you don't want to show up in jeans and a hoodie.

Reread the Job Description

Remember the buzz works and skills your prospective employer uses to describe the position. Integrate those skills into examples and anecdotes that illustrate you're prepared for the position.

Be Proactive

Instead of waiting to see what your interviewer asks you, come to the interview with five points you want to make about what you plan to bring to the position and company.

Come Ready to Boast

At least a couple of those points should highlight past successes and positive impacts you've had at work. Have you launched successful campaigns, streamlined processes, or built meaningful alliances? Come prepared to matter-of-factly state the successes you've already demonstrated.

Prepare Smart Questions

At the end of the interview, an interviewer always asks if you have any questions for her, and you want to respond with something more than, "Where's the bathroom?" Indeed.com suggests some of the following:

  • "How would you describe the characteristics of someone who would succeed in this role?"
  • "If I were in this position, how would my performance be measured? How often?"
  • "What departments does this team work with regularly? How do these departments typically collaborate? What does that process look like?"

And don't be afraid to make a connection with your interviewer through the process. Asking your interviewer about the most meaningful opportunities they've been presented with, as well as how they've developed in their role shows you're looking at the job as something potentially long-term, Alexa Hamill, American campus recruiting leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers, told the New York Times. Also: people love talking about themselves.

Ask About Next Steps

In the interviewer doesn't conclude by sharing a timeline or next steps, don't be afraid to ask.

Send a Thank You Note

Screw the stamps. Email is more timely. Think of this not only as a chance to thank them for their time, but to underscore any meaningful connections or points made in the interview, or to include something you forgot.

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