5 essential tips to ace your next interview

Interviews are nerve-wracking at the best of times, and even the most seasoned interviewees will be well acquainted with the feeling of trepidation that precedes an opportunity to impress potential employers.

Here are five sure-fire ways to ace your next interview.

1. Know the company and the industry

Knowledge is power, states the adage, and this is also applicable, come interview time. Do thorough research about the company you’re applying to, and also make sure you understand the industry that you want to work in. The internet is a great resource here: most companies have a presence on the internet and on social media, so you shouldn’t struggle to find enough information to get the gist of what the company does and what it stands for. Industry-related information gives you an edge, as you’ll be able to understand the questions you are asked, and ask the right questions in return.

2. Come prepared with selling points

Going into an interview, you’ll be one candidate among a host of others. What will distinguish you from the rest is not just the skills and abilities you can bring to the position, but also the your attitude and enthusiasm about the position you are applying for. Interviewers typically screen the list of candidates based on their skillset, so you’d do well to anticipate any reservations they may have about hiring you. Have your defence at the ready, and clarify why you are the best candidate, based on your skills, but also on positive personality traits that would be beneficial to the company you are applying to.

3. Have answers prepared for common interview questions

Certain questions will always pop up in an interview. Research common interview questions that may be applicable, considering your age, employment status and experience, and practice these questions before your interview. While you should always be polite, it is important to be assertive and to highlight your selling points as you are faced with questions. Practicing with a friend before your interview will go a long way in boosting your confidence.

4. Have your own questions ready

Prepare questions that you can ask the interviewer that will show your preparation and understanding of the company and its workings, as well as giving an idea of your knowledge of the industry. Intelligent questions will make you stand out from the rest – no questions at all will make you seem passive and unprepared.

5. Use the “Tell me about yourself” question to your advantage

This very common interview question can be used to highlight previous experience, and to explain how your skills can be advantageous to the company you are applying to. Avoid going into too much personal detail, and rather say something like “I could tell you many things, but I’d like to expand a little about the three/ four things that I’d most like you to know about me.”

Expand by using examples: “At my previous company/ During my studies, I [example of a selling point].”

As this question is typically asked at the beginning of an interview, you are using the first few minutes to not just tell the interviewer more about yourself, but also to give them a good idea of how having you around would be beneficial to the company.

Most of all, good preparation will help you to be confident from the get-go, and confidence is a quality that will help your potential employer to remember you. A positive attitude goes a long way, and self-confidence easily translates to aptitude.

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