Ace Your Next Interview: Expert Tips from Prep to Follow-Up

Tired of getting rejected from your final round of interviews after jumping through so many hoops and hurdles? Want to stop feeling unprepared and nervous for them? To learn how to impress hiring managers and finally land your ideal career? 
Good news, we got your back! We’ve compiled expert tips to help you ace your next interview from start to finish.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-time job seeker, these tips will give you the confidence and edge to stand out and get hired. Let’s dive right in!

Pre-Interview Preparation

To ace a job interview, it’s important to get to know the company, the interviewer, and the job description. We can go on and on about all the different things you can research but here’s a good start: Understand the company’s history, products, and recent news. Look up the interviewers on LinkedIn. Study the job description to understand the qualifications and responsibilities and how your skills align. All of this will show your genuine interest in the opportunity and better equip you to ask and answer good questions.

While every interview is unique, there are a few questions that hiring managers tend to ask in most interviews. These include questions like:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • What are your long-term career goals?
  • Why should we hire you?

By the way, my team and I just released our video on Youtube all about how to masterfully answer the question “Tell me about yourself”, go check it out!
You’ll feel more confident and prepared for your interview after practicing your answers to these common questions. Remember, the key is to be confident, concise, and showcase your relevant skills and experience.

Lastly, I encourage you to send a LinkedIn connection request to the hiring manager before the interview. A simple message like “Hey, I’ll be meeting with you next week for a potential opportunity at your team. I’m really looking forward to it, and hope you have a great week!” does the trick in building rapport ahead of the big day.

Interview

Congratulations on preparing well for your interview! Now that you’ve done your research and practiced your responses, it’s time to show off all that hard work on interview day. I want your eyes on the prize and have the goal to stand out among the rest. 

And you do this by realizing that it’s less about being perfect and more about finding the hiring manager on a personal level. You can do this by following their lead into friendly conversations and being open to discussing their background and/or something interesting you saw on their LinkedIn profile. This can help build rapport from the very beginning and shows that you are more than just a number applying for this role. 

People tend to hire people that they LIKE. Sometimes that is even more important than checking off all the qualifications.

After the small talk in the beginning, it’s then off to answer the questions during the interview. There are a ton of resources online on what to say and how to say it (e.g. S.T.A.R. framework), but I like to keep it simple. I recommend that you do your best to tell stories you would want to listen to!

And the simple formula I teach to do that is the following:

  • Paint the picture
  • Go into the details 
  • And wrap up!

For most of your responses, start off with a hook and an introduction to the story. This part should set up the scene before you dive deep into your role and the details. 

Then when discussing your skills and experience, be sure to highlight those that are most relevant to the role you’re applying for. This will show the interviewer that you understand the position and are well-suited for it. Bonus points if you directly use words and responsibilities from the job description in your own stories!

And then, you wrap up by reiterating how these experiences will make you a great fit for this role. I recommend you use this simple formula for all your interview questions to tell impactful stories.

Closing the Interview

You know you are nearing the end of the interview when the interviewer asks: “so, do you have any questions for me?”

This is a good time to ask insightful questions about the company and the role that you genuinely want to know. From my experience, I have found that asking questions that are more personal to the interviewer tends to lead to better discussions.

For example, you might ask how the hiring manager has found the transition from his previous company to his current one or what specific qualities they think are important for success in this team. It helps to have done your research and come prepared with 3 – 5 questions ready to go that are personalized for the interviewer. These types of questions can help you better understand the company culture and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position.

Post-Interview Follow-Up

And the last step is following up! This is an important step in the job search process because it shows the hiring manager that you value their time and are specifically interested in this opportunity.

I suggest you send a thank-you note or email within 24-48 hours of your interview. In your message, be sure to mention specific aspects of the interview that you appreciated or found interesting, such as a particular project the company is working on or a specific quality they’re looking for in a candidate.

You should also emphasize your interest in the role and the company, and express your excitement about the possibility of joining the team. And finally, don’t be afraid to ask about the next steps and when you can expect to hear back. This shows that you’re proactive and interested in moving forward in the process. With a thoughtful and timely follow-up, you’ll demonstrate your professionalism and interest in the position.

Here’s an easy template you can follow:

Hi Jen,

Thank you for your time this morning! It was great to learn more about the new role and your experience with the company. I especially enjoyed when you shared <insert something new you learned from the interviewer>

As mentioned, my background in XYZ would be a great addition to what the team is trying to accomplish here, and I am excited to continue the conversation. Please let me know if you have any questions or need anything else from my end. Thanks again!

Best,
Sho

For more email templates, go to workhap.com/emails to grab the holy grail of all job search emails in our ebook: ZERO TO HIRED!

Final Tips and Strategies

I know interviews can feel nerve-wracking, but it’s important to remember that you are interviewing THEM as much as they are interviewing YOU. Here are some final pieces of advice to ensure you rock that upcoming interview! 

  • Strike the right balance between confidence and humility. Be sure to highlight your skills and experience, but avoid coming across as overconfident or arrogant. 
  • Practice good body language and eye contact to convey confidence and interest in the conversation. 
  • Avoid common interview mistakes such as rambling, badmouthing previous employers, or being unprepared to ask questions at the end. 

By following these expert tips from pre-interview preparation to post-interview follow-up, you’ll be on your way to landing your ideal career. If you’d like to work with my team and me,  you can check out our signature job search program Get Hired Academy which will launch again soon. Always rooting for you, my friend!

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