25 Tried-and-Tested Interview Tips to Land the Job (2024)

The hiring manager will be saying “Yes!” in no time.

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

Job Interview Tips

Job interviews are considered one of the most nerve-racking experiences in our professional lives, yet to successfully bag a new job, they’re a necessary evil. It’s understandable to feel the pressure before your big day, especially if it’s a job that could better your career and lifestyle.

If it’s your first interview or if you haven’t had one in a while, you may be wondering where to begin and how to prepare. Fear not, for we have the top tips and tricks listed below to help you ace your interview!

Before the interview

1. Research the company

So, first of all, congratulations! You stood out from among dozens, if not hundreds, of applicants and got yourself an invitation to a job interview.

In the days leading up to your interview, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your potential employer’s business as much as possible. Read about their history, mission and values, and try to gain as clear of an understanding as possible of their products or services.

2. Practice answering common interview questions

One of the best ways to calm that pre-interview jitteriness is to prepare your answers to common questions you can expect. These include the vague “Tell us about yourself”, the dreaded “Why are you interested in this role?” and the curveball of a question that arrives in the form of “Give us one reason not to hire you”.

Arriving unprepared and looking like a deer caught in the headlights when the interviewer asks you something (especially when it’s a common question like the ones above!) won’t reflect very favorably on you.

3. Determine your worth as a professional

One thing that hiring managers like to bring up during interviews is candidates’ salary expectations. For this reason, it’s good to do a bit of research and see what someone with your industry experience, skill set and qualifications typically earns in your area.

Websites such as Glassdoor, PayScale and Salary.com can help you carry out salary comparisons and arrive at a fair, reasonable range to communicate to the hiring manager should they ask.

4. Reread the job description

Reviewing the job listing before you attend an interview is imperative.

The hiring manager will want to hear how your work experience, skills and ability will allow you to carry out the tasks that will be expected of you in your day to day. And you won’t be able to communicate that effectively unless you have a clear understanding of what they’re looking for and why.

5. Make a few copies of your résumé

Though it won’t always be expected of you, bringing along a few copies of your résumé to the interview can still signal to the hiring manager that you’re proactive and professional.

Even if the interviewer already has a copy of their own, it can help you to have your work document in front of you to refer to as you’re walking them through your work experience and achievements so far.

Interview day

6. Be on time

This means arriving around 10 minutes early, as it can demonstrate professionalism and great time management skills.

If you arrive too early, however, you might appear a little too keen and might also end up interrupting your interviewer’s busy schedule. So, if you do get there early, don’t press that doorbell until it’s almost time!

7. Stay calm

“How?” you might be wondering.

“Most people can overcome interview nerves by adopting some simple breathing and mindfulness techniques before and during the interview,” offers Lisa LaRue, career coach at CareerWorx. “One tip is to go into a quiet room and practice slow, deep breathing before you go in. When we are anxious, blood flows away from our brains, so this technique will bring the oxygen back to your head and help you to think clearly.”

8. Ask for water

Even being mildly dehydrated can get distracting! And the last thing you’ll want when your interviewer is waiting for your answer is to become unable to think about anything else than how nice a sip of water would be right now.

So, don’t be shy to ask for some, as it will show that you’re confident enough to ask for what you want, and you’ll be thankful later on when you need a minute to pause and form your answer.

9. Smile

Smiling throughout your interview is important; it shows that you’re friendly, relaxed and positive. Smiling can also release endorphins that will keep the stress at bay. In other words, leave the resting b*tch face at home!

10. Explain any résumé gaps

If you have gaps in your résumé, make sure you explain the reason for this.

You may have decided to go traveling, or something challenging may have happened in your personal life. Just ensure that you focus on some sort of productive thing you achieved during that time, such as acquiring a new skill; you don’t want to appear lazy.

11. Tie your answers to your experience

With any interview question, it's important to tie your answers back to your experience using examples from past positions to show why you're suitable for the job.

For example, if the interviewer asks about your strengths, describe a situation where a particular skill or idea helped you and your team arrive at a resolution during a difficult time.

12. Remain neutral

During the interview, a negative comment might be made about someone you know — one of your prospective employer’s competitors, for example. Regardless your opinion, it’s important to keep your responses professional and to steer the conversation back to what matters: your being assessed for the role.

The same goes if you receive any questions about your previous employer; even if you secretly believe they were the worst, never paint them in a bad light.

13. Beware your body language

Appearing relaxed and maintaining good posture is important when you’re being interviewed. Not only is it essential not to slouch, but it’s also a good idea not to cross your arms or legs, as that can make you come across as closed off.

14. Use the STAR method

The STAR method entails the following: explaining the Situation you were in, describing the Task you had in front of you, talking about the Action you took and finishing off by describing the Result of your action.

This structure will help you formulate great, concise answers and improve your chances of landing the job.

15. Remain polite and respectful

This is a no-brainer, but it’s an important point that many might omit due to high stress levels! For example, if you arrive at the interview in somewhat of a panic, you might forget to extend your arm for a handshake, greet the interviewer with a “Nice to meet you!” or ask how they’re doing.

So, first of all, take a few deep breaths before you go in and then acknowledge everyone you meet: from the cleaner to the receptionist through to the founder of the company if that’s who you’re meeting.

16. Show your enthusiasm

Don’t let the nerves hide how enthusiastic you really are about the job. And, even if you are fairly relaxed, don’t feel like you have to dampen down your passion for the role and the industry in general, either. You’ve worked so hard to get to this point, so express how much you want it!

17. Fake it if you don’t feel it

Some of us just aren’t that great at selling ourselves; even with the breathing techniques and the intense preparation, the nerves can still find a way to creep through. So, what can you do? You can pretend!

Many performers have an alter ego to feel more confident on stage, so channel your inner Beyoncé and become your own Sasha Fierce!

18. Maintain eye contact

Failing to make eye contact can make it look like you’re being dishonest about something or that you lack confidence — which can really compromise the interviewer’s faith in you.

Either way, it’s not great, so lift your head up and try to maintain eye contact with all the people in the room, in case you’ve got multiple interviewers. (A good trick if eye contact isn’t your strongest suit is to stare at the bridge of their nose.)

19. Stay engaged

Naturally, the interviewer will probably be doing a large amount of the talking. This doesn’t mean that you should sit back and stare blankly into space.

Remain engaged and give a little nod here and there to show that you’re acknowledging them. Obviously, don’t just do this mechanically; you don’t want to end up looking like one of those nodding dogs you see on people’s dashboards.

20. Don't forget to ask questions

Answering questions isn’t just the candidate’s job in an interview! You are also getting to know them to form an understanding of the company, its culture and whether you can see yourself progressing within the role.

So, don't forget to prepare a list of your own questions that you can ask towards the end of your interview.

21. End on a positive note

When the interview is approaching an end, try to conclude on a positive note. This could be as simple as saying something like “I look forward to hearing from you” or “It was a pleasure to meet you”. Remember to smile!

After the interview

22. Follow up

If you feel that things went well, don’t be afraid to send an email the following day thanking the hiring manager for their time and restating your interest in the position. This may boost your chances of getting the job.

23. Ask for feedback

Some interviewees hurt their chances of progressing to the next stage in the hiring process by asking for feedback as their interview is coming to a close. This can put the interviewer in an uncomfortable position, as they’ll want to sit and reflect on the interview before commenting on it — and they’re probably also operating on a tight schedule.

Instead, it’s good to ask for feedback after the interview process has finished, and if you’ve been unsuccessful.

24. Don’t dwell on what didn’t go well

If you feel like the interview went extremely badly, try not to beat yourself up about it. Ask for some feedback and use it to do better in the next one. Don’t forget that everything happens for a reason, and practice only makes perfect!

25. Be honest with yourself

It’s best to turn a job down if you don’t think you’re a right fit for it. You can explain this to the interviewer; they will respect your honesty and may keep you on record for potential future opportunities that may be a better fit for you.

Watch our video of the best interview tips below:

Final thoughts

Doing your homework on the company, practicing answering questions and brushing up on communication skills like active listening are all key to succeeding in an interview. So, start early, give yourself time, and you should be able to make an excellent impression!

Do you have any other interview tips that have helped you in your job search? Join the conversation down below and share your thoughts and experiences with us!

Originally published on August 20, 2020. Updated by Electra Michaelidou.