Tips for Acing a Job Interview

by | Mar 11, 2016 | Exclusive Tips Articles |

Interviews are a harsh reality of modern life. There are several occasions when we might find ourselves faced with one. The reason might be professional, academic, even financial.

There are lots of times when an interview stands in the way of us and our goal, so it’s important to find ways and means of facing it.

Losing sleep over an interview or allowing it to stress us out too much can mean we underperform on the day. If we’re feeling exceptionally nervous, it might be a sign that we’re underprepared. Be sure to address any gaps in your knowledge and reread your application and CV to know exactly what you’ve said.

Some nerves are natural, however, and can be harnessed to help us think on our feet and perform well. With a few extra steps, you can ace your interview and feel great about your performance, whatever the outcome.

Great Grooming

This may seem like a superficial place to start but our appearance can matter in more ways than you might think. Being considered attractive is not the main aim of our performance at interview, but feeling confident is. Being well groomed and appropriately dressed gives an impression of control and self-awareness.

It is not necessary to be in designer labels or sporting all the latest trends. Classic, well proportioned clothes that fit our body type are the best way to go. Try not to be tempted to do anything radically different with your hair unless that is your usual look.

Look for inspiration in places like and get some additional opinions if you’re not sure what will suit you. Whatever your style, a freshly trimmed, unfussy hair cut is timeless and professional. Short nails and clean hands is also essential.

You would be surprised how many men arrive at interview after a quick sandwich or snack having completely neglected to wash their hands! Your hands may not be your usual focal point but handshakes will abound here. Keep it clean and simple.


Do Your Research

It will seem obvious if you chant back company rules or goals like a trained parrot. Don’t be too concerned about memorising anything word for word or it tends to come across as forced.

Nevertheless, be sure to have spent a few days before the interview reading up on the company history and manifesto. It’s a good opportunity to see if you are the right fit for them and they for you. You’ll be able to field questions naturally and sincerely if they ask why you think you’re right for the job. Read the job description carefully and don’t be afraid to ask questions when prompted.

Ensure they are professional and positive though. Many people have scared off potential employers by asking how many sick days they get or when they can ask for a raise! Genuine concerns about sick pay or holidays are fine, but probably better to leave until you are actually offered the job.

Feeling knowledgeable about the role and the company will help to calm your nerves and make you feel prepared. Check on your own CV and application if you feel you have demonstrated any skills that they are actively seeking for the new role.

Be Honest

Honesty and confidence go hand in hand. It is important to recognise that confidence shouldn’t manifest as boasting or exaggeration.

Be honest with yourself and others about your strengths and limitations. Don’t be tempted to downplay your strengths but phrase them calmly and give examples.

If you have demonstrated excellent customer service, tell your interviewers when. If you are determined and good in a crisis, give an example.

Describing your good professional qualities is really positive as long as you can back them up. You may also be asked about weaknesses, limitations or times that you made the wrong decision. Stay relaxed and try to have a few moderate examples. Be honest about the mistakes but also recognise what you learned and what you would now do differently. Being confident enough to admit mistakes is endearing and professional. It is possible to frame weaknesses in a positive light too. Let’s say that you have struggled in the past to manage your time effectively.

Give an example of when this affected your work and what you did to correct it. Perhaps now, the fact that you are aware you struggle with time means that you always start planning well ahead? You may also want to add that it has made you delegate more effectively, and communicate in advance if you are struggling. Awareness of your own faults and a desire to improve can be very attractive to an employer.

Especially when coupled with other strong qualities.

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