Job interview tips to help you get hired: What to say, mistakes to avoid, how to answer key questions and more

Monday, July 1, 2024

Introverts and extroverts alike, we all have to go through job interviews — and we all equally have the potential to blow them.

If you get to the job interview stage and find you aren’t getting job offers after, you have to examine what you’re doing in the interview. Did you fidget or giggle nervously? Or worse, did you babble on way too long, leaving out some of the important stuff?

Career coach Natalie Fisher said there are four common reasons why you might get a job interview but not a job offer:

1. You look desperate.
2. Your self-doubt shows.
3. You didn’t provide enough details.
4. You try to hide your weakness.

We’ve all been there, right? It’s like dating. You can walk in feeling like you’re the whole package, or you can walk in feeling like you just reek of desperation and self-doubt that clings to you like a too-tight sweater. You can’t shake it no matter what. It makes me cringe just thinking about it.

Of course, overcoming those negatives is easier said than done. But there’s great news. There are some exercises you can do to help you prepare for the interview, shake that desperation and boost your confidence.

What to say — and what not to say — in a job interview

In an article for CNBC Make It, Fisher offered up some great tips for what you should not say — and what to say instead. For example:

Don’t say: “I was laid off, and this role checks all my boxes.”

Say instead: “Getting laid off gave me the time to step back and find positions like this one, where I can make a real impact in building a sales team. This is exactly what I’ve done in the past six years.”

The key is to play it cool and confident — even if those aren’t your dominant traits.

So, how do you do that?

First, you have to go in prepared. Read the job description, match up your experience with some of the skills and experience they’re looking for — and put that into talking points. Drill those talking points.

Give yourself a pep talk

Here is a great tip from Peggy Klaus, a career coach and author of “Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It”: Pump yourself up before you walk into a job interview. Play your favorite song. Give yourself a pep talk before you leave home: Declare that you are so excited to be going to this interview and that you are going to wow them. They are going to be so impressed. Rattle off your accomplishments. Brag like no one’s watching. Literally, you can do this alone at home when no one is watching except for maybe the dog — and you know they are always supportive of everything you do.

You might feel uncomfortable at first, but saying these things out loud actually works. Does that mean you’re cured, and you’ll suddenly be confident from this point forward? Um, no. But it will help you shake off the jitters and perform better in interviews. And the more you do it, the better you will get. Yes, you have to do it before every interview.

Another secret to help you shake that desperation vibe and ace the interview: “Don’t care so much,” said career coach Emily Liou.

That means: Don’t let your fear override your confidence.

You can’t hold on to the idea of one job so tight because it has to be THE ONE. If it is, it will work out.

And, if a job interview goes badly, do something fun to shake it off. Then treat it like online dating: Get back in there and keep swiping. There are more fish in the sea — and jobs on the job boards.

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