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Finding a job can be quite the arduous process. Whether you are seeking your first job or looking for something new, these 6 tips will simplify the interview process and help you succeed.

1. Do Your Homework

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Before any job interview, you should know as much as reasonably possible about the organization. Many employers consider a candidate’s knowledge about the company when assessing overall interest in the position. Here are some examples of what to research:

  • What They Do: It’s not uncommon for an interviewer to ask a candidate what they know about their organization, so make sure you have practiced summarizing the company’s work in your own words. You don’t have to know everything, just have a basic understanding of how the prospective employer conducts business.
  • Why They Do It: Be able to answer the question, “why do you want to work here?” Drawing a connection between your personal values, passions, and goals with those of the organization will help you articulate why you’d be a good fit for the job, and at the same time will present you as a serious candidate.

2. Be Presentable and Punctual

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If there’s one thing in this world that we only get one chance at, it’s a first impression. In a recent survey, 33% of hiring managers claimed to know whether or not they would hire a candidate within 90 seconds of meeting them. Think about that. Less than two minutes into introductions, one third of interviewers have already made a decision about whether or not they want you to be a part of their team. Makes you think twice about the details, does it not? Here are some important reminders:

  • In the professional world, being on time means being at least five minutes early on a normal day. Before a job interview, be sure to arrive at least fifteen minutes prior to your appointment. This ensures that you’ll be on time, gives you a chance to collect yourself and perhaps run a comb through your hair if needed.
  • Pay attention to how you dress. The same survey found that 70% of employers don’t appreciate when applicants try to be too fashion forward and 65% of hiring managers claim that clothes can be the deciding factor between two applicants who present similar qualifications. So, stay away from ‘loud’ clothing, bright colors and distracting accessories. The only thing that you want to stand out is the unique experience you can offer the company.
  • Don’t forget nonverbal cues. Actions often speak louder than words, so don’t ignore what your body language is saying. Remember to smile, make good eye contact, maintain professional posture, and keep a firm handshake.

3. Be Yourself

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This may seem like a no brainer, but it is easy to get so caught up with trying to have the ‘right’ answer that we lose our sense of originality. In actuality, most questions that you’ll be asked in an interview don’t have a right or wrong answer. Instead, employers want to understand how your unique experience offers a solution to their needs.

You can usually expect a few generic interview questions: Why do you want to work here? What are you looking to get out of this role? Why should we hire you? Take these open-ended questions as an opportunity to set yourself apart from the pack and let your personal brand shine through.  Throw out the cookie cutter responses and think of how to convey exactly why you are the best person for the job.

4. Showcase Your Knowledge

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An interview is your chance to demonstrate why you are worthy of consideration for the job. You’ve come this far, so you know the company sees your potential, but now it’s time to show them what you can bring to the table:

  • Connect all of your points back to the position for which you’re interviewing. Explain your past qualifications, but explain in detail how those experiences have prepared you to be the best candidate for this specific role. What parallels can you draw between previous skills you’ve gained and the future responsibilities you would hold in this new position?
  • Quantify your experiences whenever possible. For example, instead of saying “I was responsible for growing the volume of a territory over two years”, try being more specific by saying “over the past two years, I successfully grew revenue in my territory by 20% which equated to $450,000.” This makes it easier for an interviewer to identify your strengths and get an idea of the success you will add to the company.

5. Ask Questions

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A great way to show that you have put in the time and are genuinely serious about a position is to ask thought-provoking questions that reiterate your interest. Try and be as original as possible while also asking questions to which you genuinely want to know answers. Here are some examples of useful questions to ask:

  • What advancement opportunities exist within the organization?
  • Why do you work for this company and what do you think motivates employees to stay?
  • What is a typical day like for someone in this role?
  • What are the next steps in the hiring process?

6. Follow Up

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So, the interview is over and you’re feeling confident.  Why? Because you prepared, looked presentable, arrived punctually, and showcased how your unique skills and experiences are perfect for the position. Now what? There are still ample opportunities for you to show decision makers how serious you are about working for them.

One of the best ways to continue that positive first impression we discussed in Point #2 is to write a thank you letter to those who interviewed you. Personalize this letter as much as you can and draw it all back to why you are a strong fit for the job.

Have you personally found any these tricks helpful during an interview? What other advice would you add?

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