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10 Tips on How to Succeed at a Job Interview

Updated on August 6, 2017
davidlivermore profile image

David has over 10 years supervisory experience and has extensive knowledge in how to handle personnel issues across many areas.

Facing a job interview one-on-one can be just as stressful as a panel interview.
Facing a job interview one-on-one can be just as stressful as a panel interview. | Source

The Job Interview

There are many ways to approach a job interview. You can over think it and stumble over your own words, or you could approach it too casually and not answer the interviewer's questions effectively.

With the tips below you can properly prepare yourself for the job interview so that you not only survive the process, but get the job you are interviewing for.

Author's Experience

I have been with my organization for over 15 years and have received three promotions within that organization. I have been a supervisor for over 10 years and I have conducted multiple job interviews.

Prepare for the Job Interview

There are a few things you need to do even before you go to the job interview.

  • Decide what you want to wear to the interview.
  • Review the job specifications, the organization, your resume, etc.
  • Look for interview questions online that relate to the job you are interviewing for and prepare answers to those questions.
  • Prepare what questions you want to ask those interviewing you.

Picking the right clothing for a job interview is very important.
Picking the right clothing for a job interview is very important. | Source

Arrive Early for a Job Interview

You should arrive early for a job interview. Plan to arrive 20-30 minutes early. Here's why:

  • You need to find a place to park. If you have to park far away from your destination, then it'll take you time to walk to where the interview is being held.
  • Go to the restroom beforehand. Do your business, check yourself in the mirror, etc. to ensure you look good for the interview.

Have you ever been late to a job interview?

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Shut Off Your Phone Before a Job Interview

You should shut your phone off before the interview starts. Don't put it on vibrate. Shut it all the way off. It's distracting during the interview process even if it vibrates. Plus it will look bad to those interviewing you if your phone starts to ring during the interview.

Looking at the interviewer in the eye can be key during a job interview.
Looking at the interviewer in the eye can be key during a job interview. | Source

Keep Your Eyes Focused on Those Interviewing You

Don't fidget, look around, or do anything else distracting. Look your interviewer(s) in the eye. You have to show that you are completely focused on them. If you can't look at your interviewer in the eye, how can they expect you to perform your job duties?

Job Interview Question - Tell Me About Yourself

Don't State That You're Nervous

Everyone is nervous during a job interview. But if you can't control it and feel the need to express it, then you may have the same problem when you start the job. Employers need staff who are cool under pressure and don't succumb to interview jitters. As an alternative, think of those interviewing you as distant relatives. That will ensure you are relaxed, but not too relaxed.

If you have a job interview with a panel, ensure to make eye contact with each person.
If you have a job interview with a panel, ensure to make eye contact with each person. | Source

Be Prepared for Anything

Be flexible when you start your interview. You may have been told only one person was going to interview you, but end up with a three person panel instead. Or you could be interviewing with someone totally different that who you were expecting. Each interview experience is different, making the real challenge adjusting to those circumstances.

A Bad Job Interview

Answer Job Interview Questions Honestly

Honesty is always preferred, even if the answer is admitting you don't know the answer. I have gone into interviews where I state I don't know something and the interview goes fine. If you lie about something, it could cost you the job. Even if you have been fired from a job, you should be honest about the situation.

Job Interview Gone Wrong

I was helping conduct a panel interview for entry level positions in my department. This person walked in wearing clothing inappropriate for the interview, forgot how old she was, stated she was like a "chameleon" when it came to getting along with others, and admitted that she was still late to work often despite her boss talking to her about it. This is an example of what NOT to do at a job interview.

Don't Ramble in a Job Interview

I have conducted interviews where people have rambled on to pointless topics that had nothing to do with the questions I have asked. Listen to the question, gather your thoughts, then respond appropriately. Don't say little, but ensure you stick to your points.

Job Interview Tips

Focus on Real World Experience

In today's tough job market having a college degree will only get you so far. Real world experience is something that will prove to be more valuable to employers. Even a minimum wage job held during high school could give you an edge over someone who has just a degree.

Job Interview Quiz


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Don't Attempt to Spin a Negative Into a Positive

Everyone has faults and your employer wants to see what ones you have. Never try to turn a negative into a positive. If asked about a weakness, don't state, "I'm too organized". That isn't a weakness. Another example is if you are asked if you ever had to deal with conflict in the workplace. Be honest about it instead of saying you have never had a conflict with a co-worker.

© 2012 David Livermore

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    • davidlivermore profile image
      Author

      David Livermore 5 years ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Thank you so much!

    • Tired Buzzard profile image

      Tired Buzzard 5 years ago

      Great information! I especially love the reminder about using the restroom... definitely important!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

      Yikes. I meant to say "formulate." Must have been typing too fast.

    • davidlivermore profile image
      Author

      David Livermore 5 years ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      @ DeborahNeyens - Ah that is a good point. Thanks for the added input!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

      Excellent tips for job seekers. I would add do a little research about the company beforehand. That will help to foumlate some good questions to ask of the interviewer. It always amazes me when people come into an interview without having done any background work. It does show, and it shows a lack of interest in the company and the position.