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Stinley's avatar

I've got a job interview. Can I have your best interview tips please?

Asked by Stinley (11505points) December 6th, 2011

I’ve had a few interviews recently with no success. I think I’m not selling myself well. Any tips or can you share what worked for you?

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16 Answers

smilingheart1's avatar

Smile frequently, be sure you have an answer for your greatest weakness which comes off with a positive spin and visualize where you see yourself in five years!

zensky's avatar

I don’t know you so I don’t know what you think you’ve been doing wrong. I will have to say a few generalities which can be found on any number of websites and youtube clips. I will try to add a touch of personal experience.

1. Be clean, clean-shaved, dressed well. This is vital. Don’t wear any aftershave – just smell shower fresh – it shows you are clean and hygienic – and respectful of others senses. Just like on a date – smell is very very important.

2. Don’t over/under dress. It depends on the company – but you get the picture.

3. Be polite, but matter of fact.

4. Listen to the question – respond to the question. Don’t over reply nor improvise. The next query is just around the corner so don’t over elaborate.

5. If you don’t know something it’s fine. You’re not an encyclopaedia. Say that you haven’t had the opportunity to encounter that situation yet – but you look forward to tackling it and understanding it better. Dr. Samuel Johnson said that the next best thing to knowing something is knowing where to find it. A few hundred years before google. You may use the quote – it’s his.

6. Name curiosity as one of your strong points. Team player and hard worker and loyalty should also be in your vocabulary. But emphasize curiosity. Someone alert and interested can be taught anything. Be excited about the job.

7. Smile

8. Breathe – but not too deeply. It can be misinterpreted.

9. Smile – but not creepily. You’re just happy to be you – and have this job interview.

10. If you aren’t – fake it. Or ask yourself why you are there.

Good luck.

bkcunningham's avatar

Perfect @zensky. I’d like to add, during the initial interview don’t ask about breaks, days off, vacation, money or what the company does. You should know that. Don’t criticize your present or past employer(s). Don’t be late for the interview under any circumstances. Don’t act desperate and think that begging will get you the job.

tedd's avatar

Have confidence, but not cockiness.

marinelife's avatar

Try to connect with the interviewer. Look him or her in the eye.

If you are going to make a mistake in dress, overdress. Wear a suit. it always looks good.

Prepare some anecdotes from your past jobs that show you are good at problem-solving or that you saved the company money. Only trot them out if asked for examples.

Do a mock interview with a friend who has some experience with hiring. Ask for honest feedback on what you may be doing wrong.

Write a thank-you note. You have no idea how much difference this will make.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Learn all you can about the company your apply to. If you can ask a few relative questions about the company it sets you apart from those that don’t know about the company.

filmfann's avatar

Remember: they are hiring you. They will be working with you.
Often, they hire someone they want to work with, rather than someone who is the best qualified.
Show your ablities, but be friendly and engaging.

Judi's avatar

Send a thank-you not to all involved in the interview, and be really nice to the receptionist. (Remember her/his name!)
Make sure they don’t think you see this job as a stepping stone. Make sure they know you are excited about the job being offered.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Make eye contact
Dress nicely
Don’t wear too much perfume

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Don’t laugh or joke in order to ease your nerves.

Have a pen with you.

Dress conservatively , without perfume/cologne, without “going out” hair.

Modulate your voice and make genuinely interested eye contact- don’t worry if you blush or sweat.

Fly's avatar

My middle school principal instilled in me that a good handshake makes a difference, and it has proven to be true. In interview situations and social situations alike, I am often complimented on my firm handshake, and it makes a great, lasting impression, as it will likely be the first and last thing that you will do on the interview.

In addition, having an answer to the question, “What is your greatest weakness?” prepared may likely be a deciding factor during your interview. I have been asked this question several times, and it’s a tough one to answer if you’ve never thought about it. You don’t want to sound arrogant and say that you have no weaknesses, so the best that you can do is to offer an answer that is both a weakness and a strength. My answer, for example, is my perfectionism.

Furthermore, be personable! No matter how qualified you are for a position, there is always someone else just as qualified as you. What sets you apart is your personality, so make sure that yours comes through.

Lastly, if you need to consider a question for a moment before giving an answer, say so. Your honesty and thoughtfulness will be appreciated, and it is better to have a well thought out answer that takes a moment to construct than a response which you are not confident in- and your interviewer will pick up on a lack of confidence.

zensky's avatar


Do your homework on the company. Familiarise yourself with the layout and its background, when possible. Act like it’s your first day at work. Be friendly and polite with the secretary – you never know how much influence she has on the boss (your interviewer) and ultimately you may end up working with her.needing her. Besides, you don’t need her to intercom him with the Joker is here.

Stinley's avatar

Thanks for all the replies, guys. I am really excited about this job as it is just about perfect, so I want to make the best impression. I don’t think that I would come across as cocky, more the opposite in fact – and this is what I am worried about (i’ve had feedback from one interview that this was something they thought, that I didn’t sell myself well though I have lots to offer). This job is a management position and will be running projects and strategy development, including influencing and motivating staff to adopt the strategy. Any ideas on what to say to show that I can do that would be great. I’m most worried about drying up and then panicking, so I will try to practice what I am going to say beforehand.

I like the suggestion about saying that I am curious, and will def use that.

Does anyone have any questions that they have been asked that are common? What answer did you give? What about more tricky questions? What were they and what did you say? Don’t worry about telling me and influencing me unduly – originality isn’t one of my strong points, I’m more about the reuse of thoughts and ideas in different situations!

zensky's avatar

Don’t worry about telling me and influencing me unduly – originality isn’t one of my strong points, I’m more about the reuse of thoughts and ideas in different situations!

Wrong. No-one wants a manager like that. And I’m sure you are just selling yourself short – which can be rectified. It’s the one’s with the real shortcomings that are full of themselves that get stuck in middle-management. Where they belong. Also known as purgatory, but I digress.

It’s time to grab the bull by the horns.

You are excited about a position and think you are qualified for it – or you wouldn’t attempt it. They think you are. This is sufficient – you don’t need anyone else to think this – so stop bringing yourself down. It’s tiresome, aggravating and is defeating the purpose of getting the job.

9/10 times – you get the position and then learn it – hence “curiosity” factor is very important. If you were coming into this position from a place where you knew it all, they’d be promoting someone from within already – so they need you as much as you need them.

Re-use and recycle is for fucking bottles – not ideas.

You are an idea man. Say it aloud. I AM AN IDEA MAN. And start believing it. It’s true anyway; you came up with the idea of asking us – the smartest people on the web – and got all these lovely jelly answers to help you. You are already thinking creatively.

When you manage your first team and help them get motivated, use this story; don’t be afraid to use the web to ask total strangers from around the world – you never know who might help you out, eh? And I mean around the world – you have Australia, UK and Israel just in this thread alone.

What about more tricky questions?

There are none. You’ve been selected after careful examining of your resume. It checked out. Now they want to hire you to manage and motivate other people. It’s not an audition for a circus clown – there are no tricks. Be yourself – just with more confidence. If you don’t know the answer – say – I don’t know – but I can find out. In fact, I am looking forward to finding this out and making this my job in which to grow in. I want to be here in 5 years, and I’ve read about your company enough to know that I’d like to retire here.

Now practise in front of the mirror. Listen to motivation talks – TED has some good ones. Tony Robbins if you like that – et al.

Some of them are really good.

Some people, like the wounded soldiers, autistic people, mentally challenged people – physically challenged people – they can remind us just how fucking lucky we are to be of sound mind and body. You can actually walk to the interview, don’t have a hideous face/scar/deformity – and are applying for a managerial position – so you’ve completed your studies and have work experience.

So what’s your fucking excuse for not being motivated?

It’s good to be alive.

It’s good to be able to see, hear and think clearly. Thank the heavens you are YOU and go fucking nail that job already.

Good luck kiddo. ZEN OUT

Stinley's avatar

It is tiresome when someone has lots and won’t make full use of it/them – I am lucky that I’ve got lots of things given to me: brains, education, opportunities and I need to make the most of them, not focus on what I don’t have. Thanks for the kick up the bahooky, Zen. Probably what I needed. I’m off to look at some of those motivational speeches.

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