13 Top Job Interview Tips – The Definitive Guide 2022
Welcome to our article, 13 top job interview tips to give you success in your job hunting goals for 2022. Job interview technique isn’t something you get taught in school and is something you can only really learn through experiencing job interviews. For younger people, this article should act as a good starting point when you’re beginning to think about upcoming interviews and for more experienced readers, as you grow older you may become more self-confident in your own abilities and have a wealth of professional and life knowledge to help you through your job interviews but there are always job interview tips and tricks worth learning to give yourself the very best chance of landing the job at your next job interview.
We hope everyone reading this article finds the job interview tips list to be useful. The list is made up of advice that is different to the generic and common advice your parents or professor might tell you before your very first interview. Things such as don’t forget to dress smart and be sure to make eye contact and give a firm handshake.
Please formulate your own opinions when reading the below job interview tips. There is never a one-size-fits-all solution to the complex topic that is job interviews. If you feel one of the job interview tips isn’t right or appropriate to your circumstance, consider what would you do differently in that scenario and look to apply that to your future job interviews.
Research the company and keep it relevant to the job role you’re interviewing for.
Ok, so this one isn’t groundbreaking but it will ease you into the list. It is pretty much common sense to research the company you’re interviewing for. Job interviewers love to ask, “so what do you know about our organisation?”, as a way of weeding out those who haven’t come fully prepared and identifying those who have gone the extra mile.
You should look to conduct standard company research for things such as:
what products and services do they offer?
how many locations do they operate in?
How big is the company and how many people do they employ?
when were they founded?
what are their core values?
To take this to the next stage and to make yourself stand out from the crowd try and find examples of positive news and even projects that the company is embarking upon and an even bigger bonus would be to identify news and projects which the job role you’re interviewing for could get involved with or it could be something you would be interested in getting involved in or have past experiences in.
Showing a more focussed knowledge of what is happening at an organisation gives off a good impression and shows that you have a genuine interest and passion in what that company has going on.
Do make sure what you research and commit to memory is relevant. Reciting the current share prices of the company when interviewing for a job in the mailroom will tick a box to show you’ve done some research but it isn’t really relevant to why you are there.
So how do you find examples of good business news?
Google & Google News – it’s a good idea to use these sources to find news articles about the business from trade blogs, magazines and newspapers.
The company’s website and social media – it’s always a good idea to check the company’s news section and social media posts to get a feel for the recent activity happening in the business as well as understanding what their business culture is like.
Are they a relaxed organisation with a pool table in the office and no uniform requirements? Or are they the definition of corporate? Do they have staff nights out? Are they big in the community or support charities? Understanding things like this can help you to expect the environment you’ll be walking into and the likely character types of the people interviewing you.
LinkedIn – On LinkedIn you are able to search for the company and identify employees from the company. Take a look at their profiles and see if they share regular updates about the business. Like with the previous point, this could help to gain a better understanding of the businesses culture and goings-on.
Prepare a story for every point and claim made on your CV/resume
This job interview tip follows a similar theme to the previous point. When you walk into a job interview it is not uncommon for the interviewers to have two documents in front of them. One is a copy of the questions they want to ask, and the other is a copy of your CV/resume.
Often the copy of your CV held by the interviewer will have been annotated with points they find interesting and want to discuss further. Which points they will want to discuss further you can never guarantee, so to make sure you are ready for this, have a full story prepared for every claim and point made on your CV.
Knowing what is on your CV should come as common sense to anyone applying for a job. But the idea behind having a story memorised for every point is to allow you to know the words you want to say when asked about claims made on your CV. When you can give a non-short answer backing up your claims, knowledge and skills it helps to fill the interviewer with confidence.
A fact of life is that people lie on their CVs and it is the interviewer’s job to weed out the liars. Whether you have told the truth or not, an interviewer has the right to ask you about anything you have put on your CV or resume. This is a real opportunity to shine in a job interview, demonstrate capability and passion in what you do. Failing to give a satisfactory answer might make interviewers second guess your abilities. Don’t give them that chance!
Prepare a story for every main point mentioned in the job description
When you go for a job interview you should have one main goal, and that is to make sure the people on the opposite side of the table know that you are the right person for the job. To do this you need to make sure that you tick all of the criteria boxes they are looking for.
By the end of a job interview you want the interviewers to fully understand you, your knowledge, your experience, your ambitions, your skills, and leave them with complete confidence in you to deliver and make a success of the job role you are interviewing for.
One way to do this is to print out the job description ahead of time and scribble notes on it with examples of where you can give clear evidence of doing what they are looking for.
If you can provide examples for every bullet point on the job description and every skill and attribute they are looking for and communicate this effectively in the job interview you are putting yourself in a strong position to be considered for the job role.
As the heading above says, it’s about creating a story to accompany each point you’ve noted down on the job description that you printed out. When you are explaining the points to an interviewer make sure that you elaborate on the points.
The time spent in a job interview is as much your time as it is theirs so give them the required detail to comfortably know that they understand you can do what they are asking.
Don’t be afraid of taking notes and documents into a job interview with you. Interviewers will have plenty of paperwork with them, it’s only fair you have yours.
Look for the opportune moments to mention your experiences and specifically link them to the job criteria. Don’t look to speed through each point one after another, a good interview should have a natural conversational flow to it, but when you are asked a question consider which of the points made on the job description could relate to the question and what stories of your experience and skills you could share.
It is always worth remembering that the person or people interviewing you might be as inexperienced in job interviews as you are and linking your skills and past work experiences directly to the criteria on the job description makes their lives easier and gives you a greater chance at success.
Be prepared to do all the talking. Some interviewers are bad!
Just like job interview technique isn’t taught in schools, unsurprisingly neither is how to conduct a job interview. Conducting a good job interview is its own skill and one that you might have already found very few to have mastered and many to be anything other than satisfactory.
It is not unreasonable to suggest that the best job interviews come from when the best interviewers are asking questions and seeking information.
Poor job interviewers can make your job extremely tough and in some cases cost you great career opportunities. Prepare yourself for this to give yourself every fighting chance to succeed regardless of if you are given a great or poor job interviewer.
When faced with a poor job interviewer who isn’t asking the questions you’d prefer or probing to discover further information from your given answers or simply might just be showing a lack of enthusiasm themselves or are trying to rush the interview along, then consider if it might be time to do more talking. This isn’t to say you should approach the interview in a more aggressive manner or look to control the interview but be conscious of how the job interview is going and ensure you are giving the full detail you need to give them the maximum amount of notes to scribble down.
The worst thing you can do is to let an interviewer wrap up an interview and you then leave the building, set off home and then think “I wish I had said that now.” This happens to everyone and it never feels good.
Ask questions as you go along. Make it a back and forth conversation
One of the first job interview tips most people will receive at a young age is “make sure you ask questions at the end”, and you will likely hear this many times over during your working life. It seems to be set in stone among job-hunters that you must ask questions at the end, this is probably aided by the fact at the end of every job interview you are given the opportunity to ask questions.
There is nothing wrong with asking questions at the end and this should be encouraged, however, do not be afraid to fire questions back to the interviewer during the job interview. This can help to make the interview feel more like a conversation between peers rather than a formal job interview and help both sides of the table to learn more about one another and share more valuable information than they would have otherwise.
When asking questions in a job interview look to keep them relevant to the current talking point to extend the current discussion. Asking a question completely off-topic will not reflect well on you and could be seen as you looking to dodge a certain topic.
If you are successful in converting a job interview into what feels like a flowing conversation and in doing so have asked all of the questions you feel necessary, when asked at the end if you have any further questions, do not just say no, let them know you are happy with the answers they have already given to the questions which you asked.
However, if you feel there is a topic of discussion that hasn’t been touched upon and it plays to one of your strengths, asking a question that leads to discussing this at the end could be useful for you.
Make sure you say what you want to say
Do your best to not leave the interview without having said everything you wanted to get across about yourself, your skills, education, knowledge, whatever it may be.
This is something everyone is guilty of, but it is something that we should always strive to achieve. Just for one second imagine you are interviewing for your dream job, or that job that gets you your foot on the ladder of your dream career. You want this interview to go perfectly and nothing else will suffice. Do your research, come prepared, and know what you want to say and make sure you do!
The end of a job interview is an ideal time for sharing information you want the interviewer to know about you. Sometimes it can feel awkward bringing up new topics but if you really feel there’s key information that could get you that job, you need to have the confidence to say it. If what you say is of quality and completely relevant, nobody is going to mark you down for that.
Prepare for competency-based job interview questions
For those who aren’t aware of what competency-based questions are, examples of them would be:
Can you give me an example where you went the extra mile?
Can you give me an example of where you worked as part of a team?
Can you give me an example where you had to use your initiative to overcome a problem?
This style of job interview question receives mixed opinions among job seekers. A defence for their usage from interviewers is that they allow for all candidates to be asked the same questions and it helps to keep all job interviews fair and unbiased. These style questions are also useful when interviewing a batch of people with a limited working history to discuss, such as youngsters fresh out of education.
In this author’s experience, this style of job interview question is seen more in job interviews for entry-level and lower-paid positions rather than senior roles within an organisation.
Sometimes when organising job interviews an employer will let you know if the questions will be of this style, but this cannot always be guaranteed. Because of this, it is always best to be prepared for any eventuality and leave nothing down to chance. If you have followed the previous tips in this article about memorising stories to tell about your work history, skills and experiences, then these little caveats could potentially be dropped into your answers.
When answering competency-based questions like the examples given above, it can be an easy trap to fall into where you just give the example and submit that as your answer. When answering these questions, give your example but then think about what else you can say to take it further.
Let’s take a look at the question:
“Can you give me an example of where you worked as part of a team?”
Consider incorporating these kinds of things into your answer:
the role you played in the team
the impact you had on the results that the team produced
the results that were produced by the team
the positive impact this had on the business and others
What you enjoyed about working in this team
What you learned from the experience
The planning and preparation that went into it the work the team conducted
Not all of the above bullet points will apply to every question, but it’s worth considering what points you can make and say to elaborate on your answers to really sell yourself to the interviewer. This is the extra value you can extract from these types of questions and could put you in a strong position in the hiring process.
Where possible bring documents and evidence of past work with you
There are three things worth considering taking into a job interview with you:
An annotated copy of your CV with references to stories and anecdotes to mention when discussing a particular area. (See point 3)
An annotated copy of the job description to do the same as above. (See point 2)
A portfolio of past work or college/university projects tailored to the job you are interviewing for
If you are in a position/line of work to possess a portfolio of past work, there is no better proof to back up any claims made on your CV/resume than having hard-copy evidence of your work.
If you’re interviewing for a digital role such as web design, or digital marketing, you could even go one step further and bring with you an iPad with interactive evidence to demonstrate there and then.
Taking work/data from your existing employer to take into a job interview elsewhere is a contentious area, especially if you interviewing with a rival business. However, if you are in a job role where you can gather information such as the below, it could help to impress the job interviewers on the day.
Publicly accessible marketing collateral
Print outs and designs of existing website and mobile projects
Copies of news articles from newspapers and trade magazines where your work has featured
Copies of successful social media campaigns and associated data
Find out about who had this job role last and why did they leave
This job interview tip only really applies if you are interviewing for a job role where you will be the only person or one of only a few people doing that job role in the organisation.
If you were for example interviewing for a role in a supermarket or worker in a large factory where there will be 50 other people with the same job responsibilities, asking this question wouldn’t really give much clarity as a higher level of staff turnover in these roles would be expected due to the number of people doing it.
Do not ask this question if you know it is an all-new job role that has been created.
This isn’t a tip you most definitely have to do, however, the trouble it could prevent you, in the long run, could be valuable. It can sometimes feel like an awkward and sometimes blunt question to ask, especially if the interview isn’t going well and you’re not getting a positive feeling from the interviewers across the table so it is always best to ask cautiously and politely.
When you ask this question of an interviewer, don’t expect a completely honest answer if the existing person in that role is leaving for negative reasons. But do your best to read between the lines and analyse the interviewer’s tone of voice and body language as they are explaining. See if anything looks a bit fishy!
If you receive a negatively worded response like “the previous person to do this role left because they were incompetent”. This should immediately make you begin to question how this organisation treats its staff. On the reverse to this if you are given a positive answer such as the person previous left because they achieved a promotion or exciting opportunities elsewhere it could suggest a strong company culture for developing staff.
Probing questions like this can feel awkward to ask but they can also help ease your mind regarding a particular issue or alert you to potential concerns that may arise when choosing to work for that organisation.
Never turn down a free drink – it’s all about how you interact with everyone
The next three job interview tips on our list are things that you might not naturally pick up unless you have attended many job interviews.
So, why should you never turn down a free drink? Well, there are two reasons. One is easy to explain, you don’t want a dry throat when answering questions, especially if you are doing a lot of talking or delivering a presentation. Make sure you have a drink near you to keep your throat from drying out.
The second reason is something that occasionally businesses have been observed to do. Once a job candidate has left the building they will ask their existing team members who the candidate engaged with the impression they gave off. If you are offered a drink by a receptionist or other team member, be polite and graciously accept, maybe even try and throw some small talk in there!
If you are interviewing at a smaller business, maybe a family-owned business or one that really values its staff culture and harmony, they will be keen to ensure they hire someone who fits in with their team and culture. Demonstrating your ability to fit in before the interview starts could support your job application.
You may never encounter this kind of thing during any job interviews that you attend, but it’s always good practice to be polite to everyone you encounter when visiting a business. You never know who you might encounter, that young person who signs you in at the reception desk could be the CEO’s son or daughter!
Get comfortable, it should feel like a conversation between friends or associates
Job interview nerves are to be expected from everyone, regardless of age and experience.
Our job interview tip here is that once you’re seated in an interview room, find yourself a comfortable position to sit in (that isn’t slouching). When you’re delivering answers, you want to feel comfortable and confident in delivering your answers with unblocked airways allowing your answers to flow nicely and don’t forget to make eye contact.
Try to avoid sitting with your arms folded and looking rigid. Sitting in a defensive and uncomfortable position makes it hard to project confidence in the words you say. Imagine if you were the person conducting the interview, would you respond better to someone who looked comfortable and projected confidence in their answers or someone who looked like a bag of nerves?
Sitting in a position that allows you the comfort and confidence to express yourself properly can also help you to deliver your answers at a pace more normal of the way you would regularly talk. Feeling rushed in an interview can lead to shorter, quicker responses where you begin to feel stressed and you can miss out on key pieces of information which you later regret. Allowing yourself to be in a position where you can respond at your own pace will allow you to deliver the answers you want with all the required detail.
Remember that job interviewers are for the most part regular people like me and you, and not fire breathing dragons as you might see on TV or the movies. They will give you the time to find your comfort levels and answer at your own speeds, but ultimately you are responsible for the answers you give and our goal in a job interview is to always do our best and project the very best versions of ourselves.
Observe your surroundings. Do you want to work there anyway?
This isn’t a job interview tip on how to behave during an interview but it is more of an observational point that you should look to do as soon as you arrive at an employers premises.
From the moment you walk through the door or arrive in the car park, you should look to be hyper-observant. Is the building in a good condition and well maintained? Do the reception staff seem happy to be there? If you get a chance to look inside the main office, have a look to see how the desks are organised, how the office staff are acting, do they have the radio on? And can you see where you would be sitting should you get the job?
These may sound like petty things to some and not everyone is in a privileged position where they can be as selective over employers, but for those who can, take time to consider if the environment you are experiencing is one you feel you could adapt to and be happy or at least content with.
If you are an introverted person are you going to be happy in a loud office with rowdy work colleagues? Or if you’re an extroverted character who loves to express themselves, are you going to be satisfied in a quiet office where you could hear a pin drop?
These are also things you may wish to discuss in your job interview when given the opportunity. There isn’t an exact science to this, it can often come down to gut feeling, instinct and life experience.
Reflect on the interview while it’s fresh in your memory
This point follows the same theme of the last job interview tip in emphasising the importance of putting thought into the job interview you just had.
Once you have had your job interview, take an additional twenty minutes out of your day to fully reflect on how you felt it went. Considering things such as:
The people you met – did you like them? Could you see yourself working alongside them?
The office environment – is it the kind of environment you like? Too loud? Too quiet?
The commute – is it easy to get to? If you’re going to this place of work several times a week, it needs to be a journey you’re happy with and can afford.
The organisation itself – do you think you would fit in? Do their values align with your own
Also, take the time to reflect on how you feel you performed:
Were you punctual and on time?
Did you answer all of the questions to the best of your ability?
If you answered some questions poorly, take time to think how you would answer them better if you asked them again
Did you ask a good range of questions?
Did you tell them everything you wanted them to know about you?
Hopefully, in the coming days after taking the time to reflect on your job interview, you are greeted by good news with a job offer. This might make the process of reflecting seem redundant but it is all good practice for future job interviews.
If you are unlucky in your job interview and aren’t successful, seek feedback from the interviewers and find out what they thought about you.
Compare their feedback to your own assessments of the interview and see if you agree. Take on board feedback that is constructive and think about how you can implement it into future job interviews. It is ok to disagree with negative feedback, but you must remain polite. Thank them for their time and move on.