Six Steps to Acing Your Next Interview

1. Do your homework. Before you pick out your clothes or print a fresh resume, visit the company’s website. Instead of wasting time aimlessly browsing, focus on three key areas: mission statement and values, flagship projects and recent news/achievements. Being armed with simple facts about the organization could make a huge difference to the interviewers.

2. Dress the part. As the old saying goes, “Dress for the job you want.” Always go above the level you think is required for your interview. Keep it smart, clean and professional by sporting a simple business suit. Unless you’re interviewing for a job in the fashion industry, the interviewers likely won’t care if you’re up on the latest trends. They just want to know you’ll reflect their company positively.

3. Be confident and polite. When heading into an interview, remember to smile – at everyone. The secretary checking you in is just as important as the person reviewing your resume. Always be polite, give a firm handshake and make direct eye contact as you introduce yourself. This is your only shot at presenting your personal brand to them, so take pride in it.

4. Use examples. Instead of providing ambiguous answers like, “I am determined and love to take on challenges,” use specific examples illustrating when you were determined and took on a challenge at a previous job or class. Try to relate each question back to an experience that demonstrates your readiness to take on the job. Answers linked to actual life experience carry far more weight than vague self-assertions.

5. Have a question ready. At the end of an interview, you probably will be asked if you have any questions. Always have a question. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate your preparation by asking about something you saw on their website.

6. Send a thank you. After your interview, sit down and write a thank you note to your interviewers. If you only have their email addresses, send them a quick note about how much you enjoyed speaking with them and how grateful you are for this opportunity. You never know, seeing your name again could inspire them take a second look at your resume.

Do you have any tips for acing your next interview? Share in the comments below.

Cassidy Duckett is the President of the Sammie Lynn Puett PRSSA Chapter at the University of Tennessee. Follow her on Twitter at @cassidyduckett1.

1 thought on “Six Steps to Acing Your Next Interview

    • Author gravatar

      Great post! I think young professionals often overlook points 1 and 4 when they are preparing for an interview.

      Brandi Smith — an Account Executive at Ketchum Pittsburgh — says she remembers interviewees that do memorable and unique things. One person not only sent a hand-written thank you card, but included a brand new shoe with all of the logos she designed on the bottom. On the shoe box she attached a note that said: “I’m ready to hit the ground running for you.”

      Do something different, fresh and branded specifically to your personality.

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