6 Best Job Interview Tips and Tricks to Help You Get Hired Faster in 2021

A few years ago I was stuck in the endless job searching cycle. I would send out countless applications to companies I knew I was qualified for and would rarely see responses from recruiters, other than the occasional rejection email sent out automatically from applicant tracking systems. Every now and then, I would receive an interview opportunity and be overwhelmed with excitement and anxiety. Whether I was being interviewed over the phone, in person, or over skype (which just adds a great deal of anxiety in itself…), I always found myself asking: What are the best tips and tricks for job interviews that will get me hired faster?

In this article I want to answer this question to help you as you prepare for your upcoming interview. This article covers the six best job interview tips that have worked for me in my quest to land a job at a company I actually want to work for and a position I love doing.

6 best interview tips to help you get hired faster

  1. Research company’s website, social media pages, stock price, news stories, the position, and the interviewer
  2. Explain clearly how you are a problem solver
  3. Read the room in your interview – Aka, know when to stop talking
  4. Prepare answers to common interview questions
  5. Prepare a list of questions that provoke deeper conversation
  6. Leave a lasting impression

1. Research company’s website, social media pages, stock price, news stories, the position, and the interviewer

Going into an interview without doing your due diligence beforehand is like starting a marathon without ever training or at the very least looking at the course map. You will surely end up looking lost and at the tail end of the pack. You’ve made it this far in the job searching process, it’s time to finish strong and with confidence. Having a solid game plan before your interview will give you the confidence you need to successfully master your interview and impress the people you’re interviewing with.

Research every aspect of the company, well before your interview.

Before each interview, take a few minutes to jot down everything you find interesting about the company’s history. This doesn’t need to be a book report, just enough information to spark an engaging conversation with your interviewer.

A great place to start is the company website.

Chances are you’ve already scanned the homepage during the application process, but now it’s time to dig a bit deeper. Get to know the CEO bio, the company’s about us page, and the company blog to shed some light on the goings on within the company’s culture. Having an idea of how the company operates overall and at the employee level will give you a leg up in your interview.

Speaking of company culture, your next stop in your research should be Glassdoor.

This will give you insight into what current and past employees have to say about the company, their CEO, and even a ballpark salary for the position you are interviewing for. This will help answer common questions you shouldn’t ask in an interview.

Search for the company on Google and click the News tab to see the most recent stories.

Give the first few articles a read through to get up to speed on new product releases, potential scandals and downfalls to be aware of, and stock prices if it’s a public company. When looking at the stock prices, be sure to notice significant trends over the past 5 years. You never know how useful this information can be when you are needing a conversation starter in your interview. Plus, these are all important things to consider when joining a new company.

Re-read the job description and make a note of your experiences with each requirement.

Having a brief understanding of your strengths and weaknesses of each skill required for this job will help you have a confident answer to your interviewer’s questions about the job responsibilities. Because you have rehearsed your skills in relation to each requirement, you will be able to answer directly and confidently.

Lastly, research your interviewer.

You are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Your interview is as much about your personality and ability to mesh with the company culture as it is about your experience and qualifications. Look them up on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to get an idea of their personality, their likes and dislikes, and areas where you find commonalities. This is a great way to build trust and relationship in your interview. If you see they went to UNO and are a big fan of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, this gives you the opportunity to subltly mention you grew up in Omaha and your favorite memory was walking through downtown Lincoln on game day. Instantly, you will be stuck in their head as that guy or girl who is a Husker fan and shares that commonality with them.

NOTE: If you aren’t careful, this can come off a bit stalky. Do not make it obvious. This bit of research is meant to give you the tools you need to subtly intertwine your own interests into the conversation in the hopes that they will notice the common interests you share, sparking a deeper and more meaningful conversation.

A great resource I have found for this tip is through Indeed’s Complete Guide to Researching a Company.

2. Explain clearly how you are a problem solver

Every position ever posted solves a company’s specific problem. That’s why you are being interviewed, to see if you can be the solution to the problems the company is having. If you are applying for a Digital Marketing position, it could be because they aren’t getting any organic search results from Google or their ad spend on YouTube is outrageous and aren’t seeing positive growth in their sales numbers for their higher ticket products.

It is crucial that you know how to sell yourself as the one and only solution to their needs.

An article in Inc. by James Sudakow (@jamessudakow) shows how a good, compelling story is always far more persuasive than facts and figures. Instead of purely listing your accomplishments off, take the time to have a back story ready for one or two of your key accomplishments. Show your interviewer how you ended a crisis at your last company. Tell a story that shows your thought process behind solving each problem you face. I guarantee you will stick clearly in the mind of your interviewer.

For example, instead of saying, “I participated in the release of a new product,” you could elaborate with an engaging story:

“At my last company we went through a major crisis. We had just announced the launch of a new line of high ticket products over the weekend and were expecting a large media appearance at a trade show going on that Monday. I get a company wide email from my boss on Sunday night that the semi truck that was shipping our products slid off the highway and flipped due to icy road conditions in Iowa. We had one working prototype at the office and I knew the only way we could get it to the trade show in time was if I stepped up. I ran to the office, picked up the prototype and made the 8 hour trip to the convention center in blizzard conditions. I’m glad I got there when I did because as soon as I walked up to the trade show booth, the cameras all turned to me and I hoisted up the new product in epic fashion and become an iconic meme because of that picture!”

3. Read the room in your interview

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People often talk about the importance of “reading the room.” This is often in the context of delivering a big client presentation, but it also applies to job interviews. Job seekers are often so nervous during an interview that they completely zone out and go into rehearsal mode, talking quickly and looking straight through the interviewer’s head. But with a little practice, you can master the art of reading the room and really connect with the person interviewing you.

Job interviewers fall into one of two groups:

These types of interviewers tend to be extroverts. They may have family photos on their desk and a pennant from their alma mater. They’re often warmer and more open in terms of personality; they may greet you with a tidbit about their day—“I’m just getting back from a morning coffee run. I just love that new place down the street. I hope you don’t mind if I sip on my drink while we talk.”

Group A: Those who enjoy conversation

Group B: Those who prefer to get down to business

This group, on the other hand, is more to the point. That doesn’t mean they are unfriendly, but a quick handshake and a hello may be all you get before they sit down and look to get started.

So what does this mean for you?

If you get the impression your interviewer may be more of a conversationalist, start things off with a little small talk as you get situated. For example, “How is your day going so far?” If they respond with an answer longer than one or two sentences, this is a pretty good indication that they enjoy conversation and getting to know someone’s personality. If their answer is short, that may mean they are more of a “Group B” interviewer and are ready to get down to business.

Practical tips to connect with the interviewer

If you’re speaking with a conversationalist, don’t be afraid to ask them about a picture or poster on their wall. Showing genuine interest in their hobbies and wanting to know more about them before you begin your interview sets you up as a friend, more so than just another interviewee. For an interviewer, it’s not as easy to say “no” to someone who is interested in what you have to say. Also saying their name back to them throughout your pre-interview small talk is a definite plus. Human beings enjoy knowing that they are being listened to and that their opinions and stories matter to others. Your interest in them will be appreciated, but keep it to just one or two questions. Even the most talkative interviewers will be eager to get started after some brief small talk.

If you are sitting across from a more to-the-point interviewer, keep the pleasantries short and take your seat. Their body language should be an indicator if they are ready to get started with the interview. We will cover body language in the next section.

Body language tips for your next job interview

  • Mind your posture and sitting style
  • Avoid crossing your legs
  • Suppress restless or fidgety habits
  • Use your hands while you talk
  • Make eye contact

Source: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/body-language-tips-for-your-next-job-interview-2060576

Reading between the lines

Once the interview is underway, the art of reading body language becomes even more important.

Is the interviewer leaned forward and looking directly at you? That means they’re interested in what you’re saying. Keep expanding on your idea.

Nodding along as you speak? Also a good thing.

Have they broken eye contact and started looking at their computer screen, phone, or papers on their desk? That’s probably a sign to wrap up your response…you may be rambling!

None of this is rocket science, but it’s something that job seekers routinely overlook. They’re so focused on their appearance and their answers that they don’t pick up on clues that would be glaringly obvious to a third person sitting in the room. Luckily, you can practice these skills in a less stressful setting.

Practice makes perfect

Make a note on your phone or calendar to practice reading body language. Whether you’re talking to a grocery store cashier or you’re on a date, take a second to do a quick read and make a mental note of what you find. Does the person you’re speaking with seem happy or sad? Nervous or relaxed? Do they seem annoyed? Bored? Giddy?

Once you start noticing these clues in your daily life, it’ll become second nature. When you see the interviewer start to look around the room, you’ll confidently wrap up your point and bring them back with a phrase like “so with all of that said, I think what’s most important is…” You won’t even blink or get flustered.

Your experience and your skillset may be the most important things for you to focus on when preparing for your interview, but reading body language is your secret weapon to acing it. Practice your skills and knock it out of the park!

Build your confidence as you prepare for your next job interview

In my course, “Foundations to a Successful Job Search,” you will learn the framework for building your confidence as you prepare for your next job interview. In Module 5 you will take this concept of Building Your Confidence Muscle and apply it to your everyday life. You may be training for an interview, but this concept will help you navigate any anxieties towards communicating with other people – which will help in your job search and day-to-day conversations.

If you want a preview of what you will get when you enroll, as well as even more tips for how to ace your next job interview, check out my FREE Job Search Training Series. Once you enroll, I’ll be sending you four training videos over the course of four days that will walk you through my own experiences with job searching and how I developed a system that outperforms the standard job search process you are using now. It’s completely free, and I hope it will help you in your job search like it has helped me and countless other job seekers.

4. Prepare answers to common interview questions

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How to answer “So tell me about yourself”

The first question a job interviewer will often ask you is, “So, tell me about yourself.” It’s not even a question; it’s more of a demand. This shifts all attention to you right off the bat. If you aren’t ready, it can derail the
rest of your interview. But, when you come prepared to answer this question, you’ll set the tone for a strong, confident interview that leaves a lasting impression.

What the interviewer is really asking you for is your “elevator pitch.”

An elevator pitch is your 30-60 second case for why someone should hire you. The idea is that if you get into an elevator with the CEO of a company, what would you say to them to get them to want to hire you in the brief amount of time you have before the elevator doors open? There are specific use cases for an elevator pitch, such as a job fair, but you can use a slightly tweaked version of your pitch when this interview question comes your way.
Instead of walking the interviewer directly through every point on your resume (and risk boring them to death), make sure to touch on three important points when crafting your elevator pitch:

  1. Your background: A one-sentence summary of your experience
  2. Your style: What personal traits you bring to the team
  3. Your reason for applying: Why you’re looking forward to this particular position

The key here is to be confident and to the point.

For example:

“My background is in advertising—working mostly at small and mid-sized agencies. In my previous role as a marketing coordinator, I handled many of the day-to-day tasks of working with other departments to write copy, create graphics, and develop marketing materials such as flyers, postcards, and online ads. I’m a team player and am passionate about working hard to get the job done right the first time. What I look forward to in this job is the opportunity to work with a larger team and new types of clients in order to broaden my skill set.”

Focusing on these three quick-hitting points will keep your answer focused and pique the interest of the person you’re interviewing with.

Remember, this is merely your introduction. The interviewer will ask you the detailed questions later on, so keep it high level and focus on your delivery just as much as what you actually have to say. Make eye contact and speak confidently. It’s normal to be a little nervous at the beginning of an interview, so it’s easy to start talking fast and getting out of breath. But now that you know how to prepare for this question, you have nothing to worry about!

How to answer, “Is there anything Else I Should Know About You?”

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For example:

“Really appreciate you taking the time to speak with me today. I got a good sense of the requirements of the position and I feel like I meshed well with the rest of the team. Team dynamics are important and I really like your leadership style. My experience doing {example skills} will translate well to this department. You mentioned early on in the interview that you were looking for someone with {another example skill} experience. I have used this {example skill} in my past job and I
am continually working to improve {this skill} in my free time, so I think I can bring a lot to the table. I am hopeful that we can move to the next step in this process.”

The key here is not sounding desperate but to restate your interest in the role and that you are confident you have what it takes to do the job successfully.
Remember—the people interviewing you are humans. We can all be forgetful, and these interviewers may be talking with several other candidates that same day. By making a strong closing summary of your experience and qualifications, you are vastly improving your chances that you’ll stick out when they start thinking through all of the candidates. Repetition increases retention, so use this opportunity to your advantage.

For a more in-depth look at the most common questions, read this article from Indeed, the world’s largest job search platform. It is jam packed with useful tips for answering over 100 questions that could pop up in your interview. How To Answer the Most Common Job Interview Questions

5. Prepare a list of questions that provoke deeper conversation

You should always bring a list of questions to your interview, even if you really have a good understanding of the company and the position you’re applying for. I’ve gotten burnt here one to many times. Take it from my experience, a long silent pause after admitting I have nothing to ask takes the wind out of the room and makes you appear like you haven’t prepared for this interview.

Ask questions that get them talking about their experiences

Avoid “yes” or “no” questions. These are awkward and the goal here is to get them talking and voicing their own experiences and likes.

For example,

  • “How did you get to where you are in your career?”
  • “Who will I be working alongside of in this position?”
  • “How has the company changed since you started here?”
  • “What are your best tips for my success in this role?”

Avoid asking “desperate” questions

An article posted by WorkItDaily goes into great detail on the top 3 questions that will make you look desperate in your interview. Though these may be questions you genuinely would like answered, there are better ways to subtly generate conversations that will answer them for you.

  1. “How much does this job pay?”
  2. “What do your benefits look like?”
  3. “How quickly can I get promoted?”
  4. “How soon can I start?”
  5. “When will I receive my first paycheck?”
  6. “Can I get advances on my paychecks?”
  7. “Do you perform frequent drug tests?”
  8. “Will I be background checked?”

6. Leave a lasting impression

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In my first job interview tip, I talked about the importance of closing your interview with a strong recap of your experience and expressing your excitement for the position. Leaving a lasting impression is key when interviewers are speaking with numerous candidates in a short amount of time.

But before you ever get to the interview, there’s something else you can do to be remembered—Don’t be the first interview.
It may not always be within your control, but if you have any say, try to schedule your interview later in the week. If your HR contact suggests Tuesday, for example, ask if Wednesday or Thursday will work instead.

The goal isn’t to be difficult to schedule—it’s to be remembered.

It’s easy for the first person that’s interviewed to be ruled out because the interviewer’s memory became a bit fuzzy after going through the rest of the candidates. Even if you make a great impression, it may fade with time.
Not only that, but the way we make decisions also impacts things. Someone buying a house rarely buys the first one they look at, because they’re not sure if it’s a good deal until they see other ones to form a basis for comparison.

It’s the same way with filling open positions—a hiring manager often doesn’t know what to expect when they start conducting interviews. Their expectations may be overly lofty, or they may be surprised at all of the new skills that candidates have mastered in the few years since they last hired for that position (or were in that position themselves).

So if you’re first, they may not have a sense for if you’re a strong or weak candidate. On the other hand, if they have interviewed three or four other people, they should have a good handle on what to expect, so if you come in above that mark, you’ll immediately stick out and leave a lasting impression.

What happens if you are the first interview?

Like I said, sometimes things are out of your control. If you sit down and the interviewer makes an offhand remark about you being the first one, don’t panic. All this means is that you may have to do a little more work when it comes to the follow up. After an initial thank you, wait a couple days before following up again. At that point, simply reiterate your excitement for the job and pull in 2-3 nuggets from your interview. These should be things they seemed to gravitate toward, or follow ups to questions or comments they made.

For example, if you’re an engineer talking about your experience working at Volkswagen and they say, “Ah I love their new sedan! My wife just pre-ordered one,” then follow up with a magazine review of the car and say “I thought you might be interested in this based on our conversation. I hope I get the opportunity to collaborate with your team on some great products like this one.”

The goal is to bring your interview back to the top of their mind.

So, if you can help it, don’t be the first interview of the week. Instead, schedule your interviews later in the week in hopes that you are in the middle of the pack, or better yet, you can be the last interview and blow their minds right before they make their final decision.

No matter where you line up in the interview process, put your best foot forward then give yourself a little extra boost with your follow up to ensure you’re top of mind.

In conclusion

You are rocking it. You’ve made it to the interview stage which means you are at the door of your next incredible career opportunity. Don’t stress out over the next few days leading up to it. Ultimately, they already know you are qualified, otherwise they wouldn’t have reached out. You are now showing in person how you mesh with the company culture. Follow these best job interview tips and get the most out of your upcoming interview.

6 Best Job Interview Tips and Tricks to Help You Get Hired Faster in 2021
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6 Best Job Interview Tips and Tricks to Help You Get Hired Faster in 2021
Learn the 6 best interview tips and tricks to help you get hired faster. These tips will show you how to research a company before your job interview, build your confidence, and leave a lasting impression with your interviewer.
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Couch to Career
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