How to Ace Your Job Interview and Get the Job

Job interview
••• julief514/iStock

Congratulations! You have just landed an interview for what could be a wonderful job. Now what? A successful interview will be essential for you to lock in a job offer, and this is your chance to impress the interviewer enough to get hired.

Tips for Acing a Job Interview

Taking the time to prepare will make the interview process, which can be lengthy, run smoothly. You will be able to make the best possible impression at every job interview you go on.

Here's advice on how to ace a job interview, including tips on every aspect of the interview from preparation through follow-up.

Conduct Company Research

Research should always be your first step after accepting an interview. Gathering background information on employers is crucial to successful interview preparation.

An employer will expect you to know something about the company, and expect you to know why you will fit in well there. You need to be prepared to answer the questions, "What do you know about our company"? and "Why do you want to work here?"

Knowing as much as possible about the company's past performance and future plans can also help you better explain how you can add value to the company.

Before the interview, review the company's website, particularly their “About Us” section. Also check out their LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social pages to see what information the company is sharing. Review Glassdoor reviews, salaries, and interviewing information.

Don't be afraid to contact your prospective employer to request details on the position you are interviewing for.

The more information you have, the more comfortable you’ll feel while you’re talking to your interviewer.

More: How to Research a Company

Use Your Connections to Get the Inside Scoop

If you know someone who works at the organization or who can put you in touch with a current or former employee, you’ll be able to gather information that can give you an advantage over the other applicants.

Check LinkedIn to see if you have contacts at the company you can use to get insider information. If your college has an alumni network tap that, as well. Ask your connections about the interview process they went through when they were hired, ask what they like — and don’t like — about working for the organization.

Learn as much as you possibly can about the company and the job for which you’re applying. It will help you know what to ask, as well as giving you insight into the role.

More: How to Find Contacts at a Company

Take the Time to Practice

Practice makes perfect (or at least leads to improvement). Conduct practice interviews with a friend or family member, and ask for their feedback. You can also record or videotape your responses so you can review your answers and check your body language.

Prepare answers to commonly asked interview questions. Doing so will help you analyze your background and qualifications for the position. You don’t need to memorize answers, but having an idea of what you’re going to say will help you frame a solid response.

Also be ready to respond when you’re asked if you have any questions for the interviewer. Prepare a list of questions you want to ask the interviewer. Remember, you aren't simply trying to get the job — you are also interviewing the employer to assess whether this company and the position are a good fit for you.

The more you practice, the more self-assured you will feel walking into the interview. Your answers will feel natural, and interviewers will be impressed by your confidence.

More: How to Practice for a Job Interview

Learn Behavioral Interviewing Techniques

In addition to standard interview techniques, behavior-based interviewing is becoming more common. It is based on the idea that a candidate's past performance is the best predictor of future performance. Behavioral interviews involve you answering questions about how you have handled past situations at work.

The best way to prepare is to make a list of your skills, values, and interests as well as your strengths and weaknesses. For each item on the list, consider a time when you displayed that quality. Take the time to compile a list of responses to common behavioral interview questions.

When answering, describe the past situation, and how you successfully handled it. Make sure your answers are related to the job for which you are interviewing.

More: Behavioral Interviewing Tips and Strategies

Prepare for Different Types of Interviews

It is important to know what type of interview you will have, so you can effectively prepare. For example, you will prepare differently depending on whether it is your first, second, or final interview.

Phone and Video Interviews

You will also have to practice using different technologies if it is a phone or video interview. For both, you’ll need a quiet place to interview, a time when you won’t be interrupted, and the technology necessary to smoothly handle the meeting. Take the time to make sure everything is in working order, and do a trial run, so you’re ready when it’s time for the actual interview.

Out of the Office Interviews

For a lunch or dinner interview, you will want to review polite dining tips before you go. Get to the restaurant a few minutes early, and expect the hiring manager to pick up the check. Check online to get a sense of appropriate attire to wear. You may also be able to review the menu to get ideas on what to order.

Interviewing over a cup of coffee is much less formal, even though it can be a stepping stone to a formal in-office interview. A casual interview is an excellent way to learn more about a potential employer and the people who work at the company. You’ll have more flexibility and opportunities to discuss the role in an informal setting.

Group Interviews

You might also have a group interview, in which you are either interviewed by a panel, or interviewed along with a group of candidates. For this kind of interview, you want to practice both answering questions and being a good listener (which you can show by responding thoughtfully to your group members’ comments and through your body language).

Make sure you know what kind of interview you will be having before you arrive. If you are unsure, do not hesitate to ask the employer or recruiter who set up the meeting.

Dress for Interview Success

You will want to decide what to wear before the interview day. Your first impression is very important, and what you wear is a big part of that first impression. Therefore, you want to make sure you look professional and appropriate for the work environment.

In general, for formal business interviews, men tend to wear a dark suit and tie, and women often wear a dark suit or a blouse with dark pants or a skirt. You should also limit accessories, make sure you are well groomed, your clothing fits you well, and your shoes are shined.

You will be able to dress more casually for a job at a startup, or a job at a place with a casual work environment. What’s important is to wear what’s a good fit for the corporate environment, but even when you’re interviewing at a workplace where nobody has heard the phrase “dress code” you don’t want to look like a slob. Neat and tidy business casual is a good option when you know that a suit isn’t going to be appropriate interview attire.

If you are unsure about what to wear, email or call the person who scheduled the interview and ask about the typical dress code. It is always a good idea to dress just a little bit more professionally than the dress code requires. Your goal is to make the best impression possible.

More: Interview Outfit Tips | How to Dress Appropriately for Your Workplace

How to Handle the Day of the Interview

It is very important to be on time for the interview. On time means ten to 15 minutes early. If need be, take some time to drive to the office ahead of time or check out other options for getting there so you know exactly where you are going, how long it will take to get there, and what the transportation and parking situation looks like.

If you’re running late you’ll be stressed, and that’s no way to start an interview for what could be your new job.

Interview Etiquette

Remember that it’s not only the hiring manager who makes the decision on who to hire. Be polite and gracious to everyone you meet from the time you walk in the door to when you leave. The people you meet could be your future co-workers, so make the best impression on them that you can.

When you arrive, introduce yourself to the receptionist. Make sure you know the interviewer's name and use it as soon as possible during the interview. If you're not sure of the name, call and ask prior to the interview.

More: How to Introduce Yourself at a Job Interview

What (and What Not) to Bring

Remember to bring an extra copy of your resume, a list of references, and any work samples you want to show the employer. Bring a list of questions to ask the interviewer. It’s a good idea to bring a notepad and pen to take notes.

It’s also important to know what not to bring. Do not bring coffee, gum, or anything else not related to the job. Turn your phone off and put it away before you walk into the office.

More: What to Bring With You to an Interview

Try to Stay Calm and Avoid Stress

If you’re nervous, visit the restroom before your interview, and wash and dry your hands so they aren’t sweaty. Take some deep breaths, and remember that this is only one interview and you’ve prepared as well as you can for it. If the interview goes wrong, it’s not the end of the world, and you may even be able to fix it.

During the interview, try to remain as calm as possible. Ask for clarification if you're not sure what's been asked and remember that it is perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to frame your responses so you can be sure to fully answer the question.

Also, remember that thorough preparation helps build confidence and relieve stress. The more you research the company, practice answering interview questions, and prepare for the day of the interview, the calmer and more confident you will feel.

More: How To Avoid Interview Stress | Tips for Handling a High-Pressure Interview

Take the Time to Follow-Up

Even though you’ve finished the interview, you’re not quite done yet. End the interview with a thank you to the interviewer, and reiterate your interest in the position. Then follow-up with a personal thank you note or email message restating your interest. This is an opportunity to remind the employer of your qualifications, and to include any details you forgot to mention in the interview.

More: Tips for Following Up With an Interviewer

Avoid Common Interview Mistakes

In addition to doing everything right, it’s important to avoid doing the wrong thing when you’re trying to get hired for a new job or a promotion. What shouldn't you do when interviewing? Check out the most common job interview mistakes, blunders, and errors interviewees make before you start getting ready to interview. Some of them are minor. Others can make or break your chances of getting hired.

How to Tell If the Interview Went Well

Sometimes you can tell right away that an interview isn’t working out. You may know as soon as the interviewer starts telling you about the job that you don’t want it. The chemistry between you and the hiring manager may not feel quite right. Or you can tell you’re not a good fit for the job after all.

During other interviews, it may not be as clear. Here are some signs that your job interview went well. If it didn’t, consider it a learning experience, and more practice. With every interview you have, you’ll be better prepared to ace the next one — and get the job.

More: 10 Interview Skills That Will Help You Get Hired

Learn More About Job Searching

how to amend federal tax return 403 b withdrawals before retirement father daughter songs for wedding how much is a yard of cement how to get tax extension where to get free audiobooks online create free printable word search personalized baby shower banners boy games to play at a baby shower corporate taxation examples and explanations cream of tartar what does it do places that buy used cell phones loan debt to income ratio home for sale by owner do i need a bank account to use paypal what do i enjoy doing quiz file for extended unemployment benefits when can u file 2014 tax return home for sale signs by owner what jobs get paid the most money 10 year old boy birthday party games salary of a doctor in usa harkins theater tucson movie times loan debt to income ratio test that helps you choose a career credit card to rebuild credit score business tax i.d. number u.s. treasury 10 year bond rate how to file for unemployment in co how to fill out a w4 form if single how to decide on a career test free how to catch fruit flies in house part time jobs that pay cost of living international calculator can you get a good job without a college degree bow tie cinemas in richmond va retail store cards for bad credit places that buy used smartphones what percentage of my income should i save for retirement new at redbox this week eastfield mall cinemas springfield ma showtimes best way to get rid of fleas in a house how to sell a house fast by owner the best pumpkin carving ideas file for extended unemployment benefits outfits for girls with short hair home remedy for black ants where can i listen to free audio books home buyer loans bad credit most popular baby shower games what is the capital gain rate for 2014 how do you calculate the internal rate of return using borax to kill ants how many weeks in the year 2015 how many ounces in cup dry how long will it take to become a pharmacist calculating rate of return on investment pink elephant baby shower ideas for sale home by owner do i qualify for unemployment extension what is the minimum wage in new jersey 2014 how much does an obgyn make best deals on tires online visa gift card bank of america starting salary for real estate agent instant approval credit cards for bad credit secured credit card help credit score houses for sale by owner in michigan cooking ham in a roaster oven for sale by owner sign kit florida real estate for sale by owner h&m folsom hours sample w4 form filled out married get rid of fruit flies naturally how much does a quart of blueberries weigh what is a withholding exemption what is considered a high paying job career tests free for adults what is best to clean stainless steel how to determine rate of return how long are us postal money orders good for 21 dollars an hour is how much a year how to obtain green card in usa pay through paypal with credit card how many allowances should i claim how many oz in cup dry how to set up business facebook average law school professor salary how much will be withheld from my paycheck free games for pre k career tests free for adults totally free credit score no credit card required job for students part time debt to credit ratio definition how to build your credit with a secured credit card price of gold today in usa how many cups in pounds how do you calculate internal rate of return rust on a cast iron skillet restaurants that give free dessert on your birthday download music and burn to cd best computer jobs without a degree pink elephant baby shower ideas how well do you know mommy to be highest gdp per capita 2013 how to wash cast iron grill pan diy queen size bed frame baby shower invitations giraffe theme how much to save in 401k you are my sunshine father daughter dance state of michigan w-4 publication 544 sales and other dispositions of assets penalties for cashing in 401k what do you need to become a nurse practitioner 1040 child tax credit worksheet where can i get a free credit score without paying convert pdf to word online free us ten year bond rate unemployment extension after 26 weeks average salary for real estate broker what jobs pay good without a college degree free printable fun math worksheets best salary jobs without degree name that christmas song game what are the qualifications for earned income credit sign up for facebook business page irs phone number to check refund status free online games for pre k baby shower games to buy what is the capital gain tax rate restaurants that give free dessert on your birthday where can i get a free credit score without paying what does a background check show for a job short hair style for women get rid of ants in house naturally free on your birthday atlanta cinemark movies in el centro ca why get a tax id number who can you claim on taxes how to avoid penalties for early 401k withdrawal pound equals how many cups living cost comparison between cities what is debt to income free games for pre k how much social security is withheld from my paycheck how to build your credit with a secured credit card how to build your credit with a secured credit card best free malware protection for windows 7 where can i cash a check besides a bank free on your birthday atlanta best credit cards no credit history best credit cards no credit history 30 per hour annual salary Yet Another MEPS Experience - Indianapolis Public Relations - Handling Rumors, Lies, Propaganda Zero Waste in the Automobile Industry Free Thanksgiving Worksheets for Math and Reading GAC TV - Stash of Cash Sweepstakes (Expired) How to Deal with Customer Complaints 7 Ways to Give Your Small Business a Money Makeover Famous Black Entrepreneurs Series: Sean Combs 3 Strategies for Managing Rental Property The Complete Tax Guide for E-Commerce Retailers Options - In the Money and Out of the Money Managing Student Loans: Dealing With Collectors How Credit Card Promotional Rates Work How to Start a Pooper Scooper Business Writing / Publishing Resume Examples Process Annealing | Metallurgy Three Things You Should Be Doing Right Now at Your Restaurant Smart Money What Is a Professional Reference? dating Air Force Inspector General (IG) Complaints Program Police Technology that Is Changing the Business Contribution Margin Ratio Definition and Calculation Top Risk Reduction Strategies for Real Estate Leverage Repeat Clients and the Freelance Writer Sterling Vineyards - Uber Sweepstakes Tax Deductions for Start-Up Businesses Investing in Foreign Bonds Can Be Dangerous YouMail: Cell Voicemail to Email and More How to Succeed in a Medical Office Environment What Does a Navy Damage Controlman (DC) Actually Do? Last Minute Tax Time Survival Guide Combat Pay (Imminent Danger Pay) Steps to Solve Your Small Business Car Leasing Problem Federal Pay Scale and Pay Grades Inbound Marketing Versus Outbound Marketing TurboTax 2012 Software Versions, Features and Prices INTERNSHIP PICK OF THE WEEK: Marvel Entertainment Try These FOUR Unusual Places To Put Your Advertising Warning Signs of Sweepstakes Scams The Best Job Search Websites for Pilots General Information About the U.S. Military Most Popular Sales Careers Articles Mutual Fund Capital Gains Distributions Defined Black History Month: A Salute to Contemporary Black Entrepreneurs Retaining Technical Experts Event Planning Courses: Which One is Right for You? Should You Take Over an Existing Restaurant Space? The Second Chance Breakout Day Trading Strategy How To Calculate A Re-Order Point Why VPS Trumps Shared Hosting for Ecommerce Startups ETF Disadvantages to Consider Don't Be a "square" about Your Investment Thinking An Overview of Thrift Institutions Using Empty Bottles To Create Plastic And Glass Fencing Mederma/NeoCutis - Giving. Getting. Glowing Instant Win Free Microsoft Office Alternatives 35T - MI Systems Maintainer/Integrator - MOS Profile Single vs. Multi-Unit Franchise Owner Social Selling Tactics that Will Make You a Pro Investment Options within the Thrift Savings Plan Sample Workplace Condolence Letter for a Family Death A Simple Substitute for Allspice How to Create a Knockout Crowdfunding Video 12W - Carpentry and Masonry Specialist Strategies to Lower Your Auto Insurance Premium Electronic Trading Versus Pit Trading The Cons of Working in Civil Litigation 200 ok text/html 217 complete this form 5 1 1 nginx 00:00.429 utf-8 What Are Flexible-Fuel Vehicles (FFVs)? How to Freeze Summer Squash Hellmann's - #Strangewich Instant Win Game and Sweepsta - EXPIRED How Much Does Osmium Cost? - Historical Data U.S. Military Chemical Warfare Protection Get Your Fees Now NEC Codes: Electrictian'€™s Mate How Can I Tell It Is Time to Move on to a New Job? 10 Reasons Why You Should Work from Home Is It Time For An Economic Shutdown? Retirement Planning Finding Average Sales Per Square Foot - Retail Industry Pick a Partner Ice Breaker for Meals What's in an Employee Payroll File? Tips for Car Accidents Caused by Animals Top 10 Sites For Freelance Work In 2016 What Vaccinations Can I Expect to Get at Boot Camp? Allstate Insurance Review and Ratings Sick Leave Pay Why You Should Register Your Business Name with Your State Minimum Capital Required to Start Day Trading Futures Navy Corpsmen: A Marine's Best Friend 5 Virtual Gadgets Every Builder Must Have Adding Value to Sales Appointments Tutor Resume and Cover Letter Examples Psychological Screening for Police Officers Internships at Statoil and Other Oil Opportunities Infinity Insurance Company Review Impax Asset Management Sole Proprietor vs. Independent Contractor Explained The Issues You Need to Resolve When You Use 360 Feedback What Should I Charge on eBay for My Item? 7 Secrets Small Business Sales Professionals Use to Close More Deals How to Beat Inflation - Investment Strategies 200 ok text/html 107820 Pallet Markings: What Do They Mean? 3 131 34 Jetty(9.0.z-SNAPSHOT) 00:00.835 utf-8 Pallet markings, including, brands, stencils and paint color, provide important information about pallets that will be of interest to pallet collectors and recyclers, not to mention reluctant shoppers in big box stores. Guide to Series I and Series EE U.S. Savings Bonds Physical Therapy Assistant Skills List 6 Ways Boomer Retirement is Affecting the Construction Industry Your Dress Code Provides a Guide for Employees Marketing Jobs with the Best Future Outlook Recycling Concrete: How and Where to Reuse Concrete How to Get a Social Security Number for Non-US Citizens Treat Yourself to Some Free Halloween Music We Sell Restaurants Secretary of State Office Websites for All U.S. States Retirement Letter Sample to Notify Your Employer What Is a Mentor and How Do I Get One? No-Load vs. Load-Waived Funds Stones Throw Records - Profile of Stones Throw Records - Stones Throw Records Profile - Indie Hip Hop Label Stones Throw Records What Type of Investor Are You? Reference Letters - Example of a Reference Letter 4 Tips To Prepare For Your Upcoming Web Development Interview 6 Steps To Drive Your Customer Back Orders to Zero Bankruptcy by the Numbers The Difference Between Full and Part Time Employees 10 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Credit Score

Types of Employment Discrimin