10 Most Underrated Interview Tips
1. Be Prepared.
The interviewees that stand out are those that know their stuff. They know the basic qualifications for the job, and they can express how they embody those qualities. They know what the company does and its mission. They know the hiring manager’s background, and the company’s most recent accomplishments.
How? Scour the company’s website for facts and news. Google search the company’s name under the “News” tab. Note as much as you can any industry changes that might affect the company’s business. Go on LinkedIn to learn to the hiring manager’s background or your potential boss’s background.
2. Be Yourself, but Refined.
Pretend like you’re going to meet your significant other’s parents for the first time. It’s better to be overly conservative in your demeanor and conversation until you can adjust as necessary. Even if your interviewer is very relaxed and casual, don’t necessarily follow suit. That means that you should not swear, use slang (like, “I crushed it”), or tell stories about your college drinking parties — even if your interviewer does.
3. Don’t Overcompensate with Flattery.
Be deferential, but don’t go overboard. Too many compliments and exaggerated expressions of interest can backfire as they can seem disingenuous. You also don’t want to appear that you get by on your personality as opposed to your qualifications.
4. Presentation is Everything.
The way you look, the way you dress, and your body language speak volumes to interviewers before you even open your mouth. Unless you’re in Silicon Valley or are applying for a labor-intensive role, try to wear a suit jacket or blazer with a pant suit or a dress. It not only gives the impression that you take care of yourself but also that you care about getting the job and you prepared for it (i.e. you ironed your shirt and and pants). And don’t slouch.
5. Always Have Questions.
At the end, or sometimes in the middle, interviewers will ask you if you have any questions for them. ALWAYS SAY YES. You should always have questions. Not having questions can give the impression that: 1) you aren’t prepared; 2) you don’t care that much; 3) you are arrogant about how well you did or how much you know and don’t think you need to ask any questions.
Come prepared with at least five questions in case some of them are answered in the interview. Some examples include: “What do you like about working here?” “What is the culture like?” “What is the team dynamic and how do you work together?”
6. Don’t Interrupt
Interviewers have control at all times, and some might hold a grudge if you don’t let them speak. You want to show that you’re capable of working well with others, which means you need to be a good listener. So don’t interrupt.
7. Focus on Your Skills and Achievements, Not Name-Dropping
Interviewers want to know what you know, not who you know. Focus instead on your responsibilities, achievements, and transferable skills. Even if you think you have someone in common, it may give the impression that you’re not confident in your skills and that you rely on relationships to climb the ladder.
8. Don’t Talk Badly About Your Company or Boss.
Even if your boss is a horrible person and your company treats their employees terribly, keep it to yourself. Bad-mouthing your current boss and company for any reason only reflects poorly on YOU. It makes you seem bitter, whiny, and negative. Which leads me to my next point…
9. Be Positive.
Always keep a positive tone when possible. Stay positive about your career prospects, your current role, and your qualifications. Even if you currently hate your job, hate your company, and feel under-qualified, project positivity. Interviewers don’t want to bring on a negative person with poor or low energy. They want someone who’s emotionally stable, capable of doing the work, and will maintain a positive presence among their teammates.
10. Avoid Being Too Personal.
I once interviewed someone who kept trying to veer personal questions towards me. Note: they were applying for the role, not me! They asked me where I live, what I liked to do in my free time, and why I personally liked my job. None of this was relevant to the interview or the role. It didn’t come off as friendly or probative, but it did make me feel uncomfortable. It also made the interviewee seem mentally unstable. Focus on professional, relevant questions.