How to Ace Your Interview

Updated: September 9, 2020
  • If a company is interested in hiring you, they’ll reach out via email or phone to schedule an initial phone screen or an in-person interview. This is your chance to make a great impression, which requires some prep work.
  • Come prepared, with additional copies of your resume, cover letter, and work samples (if applicable). Before the interview, practice your responses to common interview questions, know each section of your resume by heart, and draft a list of questions to ask your interviewer.
  • Prior to your interview, do your research. Review the company website, spend some time on Glassdoor, and skim your interviewer’s LinkedIn Then, prove you’re the best fit for the role by tailoring your responses to reflect what you’ve learned.
  • Arrive a little bit early. Getting to your interview 5–10 minutes early will demonstrate your punctuality and reliability from day zero—and allow you time to decompress before the big event.
  • Listen to the interviewer. Answering interview questions is great, but listening carefully and critically is also crucial. Engage with the interviewer, don’t talk too much or go off topic, and don’t fidget or interrupt.
  • Don’t badmouth past employers. Even if a previous job was a nightmare, focus on the positive. Don’t give anyone an excuse to think you might not work well with others.
  • Don’t play hard to get. Jobs are different than dating, and you need to show your enthusiasm and passion for the role each step of the way. If you shy away, so will your potential employer.
  • Almost every interview ends with the dreaded question, “Do you have any questions?” Never say no. Prepare thoughtful, open-ended questions in advance, and ask the most relevant ones.
  • Send a thank you note or email 24–48 hours after the interview. Reference specifics of your interview and reinforce why they should hire you.
  • Sometimes, you’ll get a call back in a day or two. Sometimes, it can take weeks, or even months. Wait at least two weeks before politely following up about next steps. Once you’ve gotten to the interview stage of the process, most companies will let you know if they’re not moving forward with your application.
  • When you do hear back, there may be another interview, or they may ask for your references. If an employer checks your references, you’re either the top candidate or one of the top candidates.