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Whether you are applying for an entry-level or a senior position, you will most likely be required to interview with a potential employer before receiving a job offer. Because a job interview allows you to demonstrate your qualifications and make a good impression on the hiring team, you will want to give your best effort during this crucial meeting.

Although the interview process can be intimidating, preparation is essential for building confidence and demonstrating that you are the best candidate. Learn how to ace an interview by following these 11 steps.

1. More knowledge = more assurance

You began the research process with a customised application; now it’s time to up the ante: learn about the company’s mission, accomplishments, and milestones. Profiles about the industry, the competition, and the person you’re interviewing with are just as important as social media channels. The more information you have, the more empowered and confident you will feel.

2. Act the part

Your interview attire should always be professional, comfortable, and make you feel confident. Before deciding what to wear, research the company culture and how people dress (think suits for banks, something business casual for ad agencies etc.). Also, if you never wear suits but want to for the interview, practise wearing one beforehand (you might end up looking and feeling uncomfortable otherwise.) Before you leave the house, make sure your shoes are shining and that you don’t have any blisters.

3. Understand the warm-up questions…

You can bet your bottom dollar that you will be required to tell the interviewer about yourself, why you should be hired, and what your career objectives are. Practice your responses without sounding like a broken record. Don’t just memorize your CV and read it aloud when asked about yourself. Because your interviewer is likely to have it in front of them, it’s a good idea to use it as a reference point and to mention key events or points when appropriate; just make sure your answers always add something interesting to the story your CV already tells.

4….and prepare for the difficult ones

Why don’t you tell me about your shortcomings? Here’s how to get extra points for difficult questions like these: Choose a weakness and elegantly transform it into a job-related strength. “I’m a little impatient, but that’s just because I like to finish projects on time and not disrupt the team’s workflow.” The important thing is to be truthful and never say, “I have no weaknesses.”

5. Get ready for some brain teasers.

Which of the following kitchen tools would you be and why? These questions do not always arise, but if they do, try to respond in a relaxed and confident manner. They’re there to assess your critical thinking abilities and your ability to think on your feet. Make sure to highlight your personality in your answer and make it as fun and interesting as possible (without being inappropriate, of course.) So, what about that kitchen tool? Consider this response: I’m a can opener. Although it is not the first tool that comes to mind when thinking of a kitchen tool, it can be essential for every course of the meal.

6. Know when to request a time out.

If you don’t know the answer to a question or are feeling nervous, take a deep breath and ask confidently and calmly if you can return to it later. Avoid rambling on and on, and don’t show any signs of panic. It’s far better to gain confidence with other (easier) questions before returning to this more difficult one. (After all, your interviewer might forget to ask it in the end!) However, don’t rely on this too heavily and only skip questions if absolutely necessary; asking to skip a question too many times may make you appear unprepared.

7. Be truthful.

Gaps or detours in your CV are not cause for concern. After all, you got an interview, indicating that they liked your profile and want to learn more about you. Be truthful and explain what you learned during that time off (for whatever reason) and how it will benefit you in the job you’re applying for; even a period of unemployment can be turned into an advantage if you used it to develop yourself in some way and kept actively looking for work.

8. Avoid these

Don’t be late, rude, or disparage your former bosses or coworkers. Lying, oversharing, making inappropriate jokes, or dominating the conversation are all excellent ways to make a poor first impression. Eating an onion sandwich on a poppy seed bun right before the interview may also help. You’re almost guaranteed to get off to a good start if you arrive on time, look presentable, and come across as nice and sociable.

9. Always (always) be prepared with a question.

Questions are simple to prepare, so never pass up the chance to demonstrate your critical thinking abilities with gems like “What speaks against hiring me?” If there are any questions or concerns, this is your opportunity to clarify something about the job and provide more information about yourself.

10. Make that a smart question, actually.

Introduce your question with a personal detail to effectively kill two birds with one stone: “I taught coding to kids at a summer camp.” Would my position allow me to participate in community service projects?”

11. Do your follow-up like a boss.

Last but not least, always thank your interviewer for the opportunity with an email or even a handwritten card. It’s a good opportunity to reiterate why you’re a good fit and how nice it was to meet everyone. Remember to keep it short, sweet, and friendly, and to send it within 24 hours of your interview.

Best wishes! We’ve crossed our fingers for you! You can thank us after you’ve passed your interview with our tips.  

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Shweta Modi

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