5 Tips to Help You Shine in Your Next Job Interview

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Preparing for a job interview can be a nerve-racking experience. You want to be your best self when you make that critical first impression on your potential employer. How can you give a naturally confident, winning interview that truly allows you to shine? Recruiters with The Stepping Stones Group offer the following five tips to help you prepare for an interview.

Do your homework.

Gain as much knowledge as you can about your prospective school or company, as well as your interviewers. Start with the organization’s website—specifically, the “About Us” page. Don’t stop there—expand your research to include Google and other sources.

  • Find relevant press releases.
  • Visit the organization’s social media pages.
  • Talk with current or former employees.
  • Get the specifics on company or school goals, initiatives, developments, and services.

This practice can help you get a feel for the culture of the organization and its leaders, and to see if there are any details that you can use in your interview to show how well you know the company or school. Doing this shows that you are proactive, with an eye for detail. It also demonstrates that you are not only excited about the position but also organized and well prepared.

Maximize your online image.

A professional online image is more important today than ever before. Prospective employers will search for you online and take a hard look at what they see.

Clean up your social media presence. Delete—or ask others to delete—anything that may be questionable or inappropriate. Focus on posting interesting, relevant, helpful content instead.

Be consistent with your content. Whether it’s on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, be sure you provide information and images that align with your desired message or professional brand.

Practice ahead of time.

Anticipate the questions you may be asked, and practice. Your responses should not sound rehearsed—be enthusiastic, natural, and concise.

Here are a few common sample questions:

  • “What is your greatest weakness? What have you done in past situations to overcome it and be successful?”
  • “Why are you leaving (or why did you leave) your current/former position?”
  • “Why should we hire you?”
  • “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

Many employers are also using behavioral interview questions, and using the STAR method can help you tackle these questions with ease. Find a trusted friend, and practice your answers in advance of your interview. This will help you put your pre-interview jitters to rest.

Present a professional image.

A job interview is not only about how you answer questions. It also gives an employer a chance to see how you present yourself and get a sense of how you would fit into their organization.

Be punctual. If an emergency comes up, tell your interviewer immediately. This will help show that you are a responsive, strong communicator.

Dress for success. Choose an appropriate outfit that is a notch above what you would wear on the job. Take stock of your appearance and the message it sends. Does your outfit exude confidence, experience, and professionalism—or comfort and casualness? Make sure that you look and sound the part. You want to show that you realize, and fully appreciate, the importance of the interview.

Have a compelling story to tell.

When selling yourself to interviewers, tell a story that holds their interest and demonstrates your unique qualifications for the position.

Describe specific examples of your successes and achievements. These stories enable you to stand out. Use numbers, percentages, and other quantifiable facts to strengthen your case.

Good luck—you’ve got this!

Original post: “How to Shine During Your Next Interview,” posted February 25, 2016, on Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services Blog.