Acing The Perfect Job Interview


Job interviews will probably be one of the most nerve-racking experiences you’ll ever have. There’re so many things to remember, you have to be constantly “on”, and any wrong move might send you right back to the unemployed life. But in a situation where potential employers watch your every move, why not give them the show they want to see?

Pre-Interview Prep Work

Research the Position

Nothing says prepared like knowing all about the position, the company, and the company’s public recognition for good deeds. You’d be surprised by how few people do this, and, in fact, this newfound knowledge will come in handy for the infamous ,“Tell me about yourself,” question that sends hearts pounding.

Role Play

Seriously. Yes, it sounds weird, but it helps. Stand in front of a mirror and rehearse your possible answers. Sure, your roommate may wonder why you’re talking to yourself, but it works. Practicing in front of the mirror makes sure you’ll sound smoother in the interview.

Day of the Interview.

Here’s a quick checklist to keep in mind on the big day:

  • – Bring two or more copies of your resume and references.
  • – Bring a list of questions you’ve prepared.
  • – Dress appropriately.
  • – Go alone to the interview.
  • – Allow time for traffic.
  • – Arrive early, but only ten minutes early. Too early is as bad as being too late. Being too early puts too interviewer on the spot, which isn’t in your favour.
  • – Relax!
  • – Remember to shake your interviewer’s hand
  • – Be attentive to your body language—maintain eye contact and don’t cross your arms (defensive mode), but instead put your hands in your lap to prevent gesticulating too much and tapping your fingers.
  • – Be prepared for more than just one interviewer.

The Question Period—How to Answer

“Tell Me About Yourself”

This, folks, is a trick question. Often your employer is trying to draw out extra info that they are otherwise not allowed to ask: your age, whether you are married, your health – you know, the familiar things.
Keep your answer under two minutes and keep it career-related. Sally Chopping, a public speaking coach, suggests you answer this question in three parts:

1) Three adjectives to describe yourself.
2) Your past related job experience and a few things you’ve achieved.
3) Say why you want to work for the company.

It is good to rehearse this answer.

“Why did your leave your last job?”

Stick with generic answers, such as, “It’s a career move.”

You have to be careful with this question because, contrary to how you’re feeling inside, trashing previous employers and saying, “I need more money,” is best left unsaid.

“What are your weaknesses?

You have no weaknesses! Keep your answer work-related and try to mention weaknesses that could also be seen as strengths. Yes, this is the old joke–“I work too hard, I’m too much of a perfectionist”– but it works. For example: “I sometimes am a little too meticulous about my work.”

Some other questions could include: “What are your strengths? What adjectives would you use to describe yourself? What do you know about our company? Why do you want to work for us? Why should I hire you? What makes you want to work hard? What type of work environment do you like best?”

Be prepared for these.

It’s also prudent to have some questions prepared for the interviewer. At this point it’s tempting to ask about wages, but use this opportunity to find out more about the internal happenings of the company. Try this: “What do you like most about your job?”

Sealing the Deal

The questions are done and the interview has just about finished. This is now the time to thank the interviewer and also to arrange to call them if the interviewer cannot confirm when they will notify you of their decision.
Remember to not run too fast out the door and remember to shake the interviewer’s hand. Oh, and do send your interviewer a thank you letter/e-mail.

Broken down into steps, an interview isn’t as scary as it seems.


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