Ask the Readers: What Is Your Best Job Interview Tip?

By Ashley Jacobs on 12 June 2012 (Updated 19 June 2012) 66 comments
Photo: Alan Cleaver

Editor's Note: Congratulations to KelR1, Nimish, and Therese for winning this week's contest!

With the unemployment rates still at a high, many people are searching for jobs. The job search process can be stressful, especially when it comes to nailing your big interview! Some people have their interviewing skills down to an art while others aren't quite as a confident in their ability to do well in an interview. Luckily, there are plenty of interviewing tips available to help job seekers excel at their next interview!

What is your best job interview tip? Write a thank you note after? Do you research so you know about your interviewer and the company? Practice interviewing before you go in for the actual interview? Or...? 

Tell us your best job interview tip and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — one for random comments, one for random Facebook "Likes", and another one for random tweets.

Mandatory Entry: 

  • Post your answer in the comments below 

For extra entries (1 per action):

  • Go to our Facebook page, "Like" us, and leave a comment on this article telling us you did, or
  • Tweet your answer. You have to be a follower of our @wisebread account. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, June 18th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after June 18th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Good Luck!

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Guest's picture
Christie

Best Job Interview Tip: Dress appropriately. Do NOT wear crocs, revealing clothes, see-through blouses, sandals, or ratty pants or jeans. Show the potential employer that you are a responsible individual that cares about your appearance.

A Thank You note is always a nice touch and perfectly appropriate to send after an interview, even if it didn't go well in your opinion.

Guest's picture
Patrick

Look the interviewer squarely in the eye and articulate your crisp, concise action plan for your first 100 days, people you want to meet, things you want to assess, things you want to investigate for change and skills, tools and experience you can leverage to make their job easier.

Guest's picture
FredB

Keep in mind that while they are interviewing you, you are interviewing them. How they treat you during the interview is a good guide to how they will treat you as an employee.

Guest's picture

Just be yourself! The goal of an interview is to be as much yourself as possible, so that the people who are interviewing you will know if you're a good fit. No one is good, better, or best - they're just the right fit or not!

Guest's picture

I like WB on FB!

Guest's picture
rm

Bring up a conversation about something in the interviewer's office (picture of a hobby etc). Relating to the interviewer on a personal level will better help you be remembered down the road.

Guest's picture
Jerry

Be honest to yourself and to the prospective company about your strengths and weaknesses. A job is a two-way street; the company wants to make sure they are hiring a productive and valuable employee and you want to make sure that you are stepping into a role that you are capable of handling. If you find yourself having to stretch your accomplishments or abilities to fit the criteria that they are looking for, you'll likely be stepping into a stressful situation should you get the job, and if you can't fulfill the requirements you'll end up looking for another job and back at square one.

Guest's picture
Alyssa

Dress to impress. Always have questions prepared to ask.

Guest's picture

Be sure to review the responsibilities of the job. Try to list your experience and strengths that correspond to these responsibilities. It is a great idea to have your strengths at the tip of your tongue!

Guest's picture

Be genuine and authentic. You will avoid disappointment and misunderstandings later if you should get the job, and it will help you to ensure that the position and company culture are a good fit.

Guest's picture
Anne M

I think my best tip is to be yourself, so not only will the interviewer see if you're right for the job, you will see if you're right! Don't try to become something you're not just to get the job-if you do that, you will probably end up hating the job itself, and not have a pleasurable work experience.

Guest's picture
Jenna

Sending a Thank You note to the person or person that I interviewed with.

Guest's picture
Anne M

I like you on Facebook :)

Guest's picture

Be genuine and authentic. You will avoid disappointment and misunderstandings later if you should get the job, and it will help you to ensure that the position and company culture are a good fit.

Guest's picture

I have 'Liked' your page on Facebook for awhile now.

Guest's picture
Kristin

If you know who will be interviewing you, google them beforehand. Find something you have in common - professional interests, hobbies, places you have lived, anything. During the interview, look for an opportunity to work this into the conversation and create an additional connection between you and the interviewer.

Guest's picture
Guest

I interviewed someone who did this and it actually felt a bit creepy. She found my Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. pages... it felt a bit like stalking. It might not be a bad idea to do this so you have some awareness, but I'm not sure I'd mention in an interview that I did it.

Guest's picture
Patricia Hancock

My best advice is to be confident but not over confident. Let the company feel that you are competant.

Guest's picture
Ali

Ask THEM questions to see the company/position suit your interests. Both parties will benefit if you're all on the same page.

Guest's picture
Brooke Smith

One of my secrets to success is coming armed with some questions for your interviewer to show them you care about your abilities as a potential employee in their organization. My personal favorites are "What does success look like in this position?" and "What does a typical day look like in this position?" and "Where will the successful candidate for this position find themselves in 5 years?" Synthesize these answers with what you know about the culture at the company and find out if its a good fit not only for your skills, but your passion!

Guest's picture

Ask for the hiring manager's story. People love talking about themselves!

Guest's picture
Sara N

Do your homework on the company and be prepared to ask intelligent questions. Also, to be confident.

Guest's picture
MELISSA HANSSON

My best job interview tip is to arrive on time, no matter what that requires. Don't set up a time that will be difficult to meet. Plan to be early and scout out a spot like a coffee shop where you can kill time, if necessary.

I recently had a friend mention that every single one of their recent interviews had shown up late. This is not the first impression to set with an employer.

Guest's picture
MELISSA HANSSON

"Liked" on Facebook. Thank you for the chance to win!

Guest's picture

look the interviewer in the eye and be confident

American Debt Project's picture

My tip would be to treat it like a critical mission: no single detail should be missed. 1) Arrive 15 minutes early to make sure you can find the office, locate reception and fill out any forms. 2) Your appearance should be well-groomed. Your hair is professional and neat, clothes are ironed or dry-cleaned, and shoes are polished. 3) Have a portfolio folder (one of those leatherbound ones) and make up professional contact cards for bonus points. 4) The most important part is how you conduct yourself in the interview> Make comfortable eye contact, listen very closely to what is being asked and provide answers that are honest but also highlight your best points. If they allow you to ask questions, show them you have done your homework and are excited about their company, product or services.

Interviews are painful and I usually feel very nervous but I know that I have one shot to convey to the interviewer who I am and why I am a good fit to the company. Convince them that your narrative fits into their narrative, goals and vision for their company. You'll be golden!

Guest's picture
Patricia

Not only does it help to research the company, I find it helpful to consult a resource like the Occupational Outlook Handbook for information about the occupation you are applying for; it helps you contemplate what questions to ask.

Guest's picture
Brandon

The Best Interview Tip is to make sure you research a lot about the company. The time will come at the end when they ask you, "Do you have any questions for me?" and you should have a couple questions ready. This shows you took the time to really research the company, that you're dedicated, and interested in finding more about the company you might work for. Definitely don't forget to research!

Guest's picture
Carmen

Having conducted a couple of interviews last week, my #1 tip is - TALK! We know what your education is and can gather a few things from your job history (or lack of), but we've found that personality is a key player in hiring someone. If your answers are non-existent or very short, it is difficult for us to gauge your ability to communicate with others and will assume you can't communicate well and we'll hire someone else! We can do plenty of training, but if you don't get along with our team and can't communicate with other depts in company, it won't work. (Let's just say I had one "painful" interview that only lasted 10 min)

Guest's picture
Carmen

I already am a fan on Facebook

Guest's picture
Guest

Research the company you're interested in, be yourself during the interview, focus on what you can accomplish for the company.

Guest's picture
Christine S.

Dress for the job: Office work requires a suit for interviews. Entry-level retail interviews are best attempted in business casual outfit, a suit will make you look like a temporary worker. Management-level retail interviews should be attended in a suit.

NEVER encourage anyone or yourself to get a tattoo that shows (back, rear end, stomach, upper thighs only), multiple facial piercings or to use ear stretchers. Most companies will not hire management level or higher staff sporting either - your kid may want to be a Rapper or Rock star but it's more than likely he will be working in an office somewhere or in service industry management.

Guest's picture
Christie

Liked and commented on Facebook too! :)

Guest's picture
NJJ

My best interview tip is definitely dress to impress go light on the make up, jewelry and cologne and know something about the company before hand Also, make sure your resume always has a cover letter. And most importantly, do write a thank you note and make sure to stay on topic especially for all the "tell me about yourself" questions--that's always in reference to your previous work experience, not your family. Save family photos and talk for the water cooler :)

Guest's picture
David

One tip I haven't seen yet: practice. Google common interview questions and go over how you would answer them. The point is not to cover all the questions but to become familiar with your resume and ensure you are not caught flat-footed. Combine this with research on the organization and industry and you can come up with even more specific areas to prepare in. Combine this with dressing well and acting confident (because you've prepared!) and professional, and you've just about maximized your chances of being hired.

Guest's picture

My tip is to make sure that you are positive in your interview. Don't ever be negative and if they try to get you to say something negative about your previous employer find a way to make it turn into something positive.

Guest's picture
Therese

Be pleasant and prepared.

Guest's picture
Happy Love

Be on time.

Guest's picture
Lynda

dress professionally. it's always better to overdress than under-dress. arrive early or at the very least, on time. and bring copies of your resume.

Guest's picture
Lynda

i like wisebread on facebook

Guest's picture
Rebecca B. A. R.

Be confident, friendly, and tactfully honest.

Guest's picture
Gabriella G.

Research the company you are interviewing for! Know the company's mission statement, values, what they have currently going on, etc. During the interview, when appropriate, show off your knowledge.

Guest's picture
Betty D

Learn about the company and be prepared.

Guest's picture
Betty D

I liked you and the post on facebook.

Guest's picture
Jenn

I think it is very important to remain positive and to think about why they are asking the question before you answer. It is always okay to say something along the lines of "Just one moment while I reflect on my experiences..." and take a moment to gather your thoughts before speaking.

Dress is important, but so is posture and attitude. If you are a person who talks with their hands, try to resist the urge as it can be distracting.

Guest's picture
Ali

Act as if you are already in the position. This makes the interview much more of a conversation than an interrogation. If you see the interviewer as a co-worker or supervisor, rather than a challenge or enemy even, you will both have a more enjoyable time. In a work relationship, it is still important to maintain a good relationship, impress them, and seem knowledgeable. However, the interviewer views you as a potential co-worker, so they are thinking about who they want to join their team. So, act as you would on the team - as you prepare, put yourself into the head of your best self once you [hopefully] get the job. I fully believe in fake it till you make it about confidence. Of course within the content of the interview, be honest.

Guest's picture
Ali

I've "liked" Wise Bread! Now a facebook follower, too!

Guest's picture
cwaltz

Do your homework before entering the interviewers office. You should know how to answer questions such as "why do you want to work here?" Be candid. If you don't know something tell them but indicate that you are willing to get back to them with an answer. Don't undersell yourself. A lot of times people forget that everyday activities or parts of a personal life can be tied to skill sets in the workplace. Keep your perspective positive. The interviewer doesn't want to hear your last boss was a jerk even i he was. Wear a watch. It tells a potential employer that you understand the importance of time. Those are just a few I've learned.

Guest's picture
CJ

Answer the questions they ask you! You'd be surprised how many people don't and try to play games. An interviewer asks questions to get information. Making them ask twice or dodging answers annoys them and doesn't help you.

If you are a recent graduate and they ask for your GPA, your first sentence should have a number in it. If you start with, "Well I had a really tough schedule senior year…" you aren't answering the question and the interviewer knows you have a low GPA; that's two strikes instead of just one. If I they ask for a weakness, give them one - and what you are doing to improve. If they ask for your salary expectations, give them a salary and say why you are worth that (based on your research into salaries in the field) and remind them that you'd consider less for the right job. Replying, "I'd be willing to consider any reasonable offer" or some other non-answer is annoying. The interviewer is trying to find out if your idea of "reasonable" matches his.

The good news is that all these questions are predictable so you can have a real, thoughtful answer practiced and ready. The bottom line is you want to appear smart, confident, and prepared. The best way to do that is to have a straightforward answer that you are comfortable with because you did your homework.

Guest's picture
djben75

Be yourself!! Don't try to act like someone you are not!

Guest's picture
KelR1

Be honest and be yourself. Don't put on airs or pretend to fit in at a job/company where you really don't or you will be extremely unhappy in the position and not do well for them or yourself.

Guest's picture
KelR1

Like you on FB.

Guest's picture
B

Figure out what problem the hiring manager is trying to solve. Demonstrate that you can solve it.

Guest's picture

Research the employer's requirements (hint: look at the job posting) and prepare scripts that showcase you as the "perfect solution" for the employer's requirements. Preparation is the key for any interview.

Guest's picture
Gwenavyre

Have a firm handshake even if they don't!

Guest's picture
Rusty

Research the company as much as possible. Wear a nice interview suit. Go over some interview questions that might be asked and have the answers ready. Always be nice to the receptionist.

Guest's picture
DeeDee

Be on time, dress appropriately and make sure your clothes are clean and be confident.

Guest's picture
James

Pretend that you don't really need the job you are applying for. It will help ease the nervousness. Works for me all the time.

Guest's picture

My best tip for interview is Eyes contact.
Eyes contact is important for the job interview. Its shows that you are sincere, honest and confident.
I think the candidate who try to avoid interviewer's eyes, will not get a job

Guest's picture
Monica Platz

Definately look the interviewer in the eye and try not to use "ummmm" or stutter!

Guest's picture

Find out a little bit about the company, in case they ask you why you want to work for them (which they probably will). You don't want to look like a fool. Dress the part. Maintain reasonably good eye contact...but don't stare them down, either. :)

Guest's picture
Ariana Morris

Research the company and what they do BEFORE the interview. Come up with some things you admire about the company's practices or policies.

Guest's picture
Danna

I had a professional looking notebook ($5 at Books-a-million) and I had a pen handy so I looked prepared, looked attentive to the person who was interviewing me, firm handshake, smile, and practiced my strengths (including knowledge on Excel, Powerpoint, etc...)
Pencil skirt never fails. Standard colors for clothes, (white, black, gray, blue) not too much makeup just a natural/presentable/professional look, hair make it a bun or something simple not too much distraction if you choose down then it must be out of your face.