Ace Your Next Interview: 5 Tips for Success

April 26, 2024
A candidate being interviewed

The job interview is a critical component of attaining your next career opportunity. Whether you are a seasoned professional or are stepping into your first role, understanding the interview process can help set you apart from the competition. Through years of debriefing with candidates and clients, I have compiled a list of five tips that will help you ace your next interview.

1. Prepare what you’ll say to the “Tell me about yourself” question

Most interviews begin with some form of this question. Avoid taking up too much of the interview time walking through your resume in granular detail for 15 minutes. Think of your answer as a slightly longer version of the 30-second elevator pitch, ideally lasting no more than 2-3 minutes. Provide an overview and highlight the key points that showcase who you are and your relevant skills. The interviewer will dive into topics they are interested in learning more about.

2. Research the company

This seems simple enough, but many people do not do this. At the very least, explore the business focus, history, and core values on their website and social media platforms. If you have time, read articles, recent press releases, or public filings on industry forums or financial news outlets. Most clients will ask some form of “What do you know about us?” Understanding the company’s culture, values, and services not only allows you the opportunity to decide if you would be a good fit for them, but also helps you determine if the company is a good fit for you. Being able to clearly express why you want a specific job, beyond the basic responsibilities, will show the interviewer your enthusiasm for their organization.

3. Rehearse how you’d answer common interview questions

These can be behavioral like “Tell me about a time you disagreed with someone at work and how you handled it” or “What’s an example of a time you failed?” Preparing answers to these questions in advance gives you the opportunity to think about your answer and plan how to communicate a response in a clear and concise way without using fillers. Be flexible and adaptable during the interview, adjusting your responses based on the direction of the conversation. If you are hit with a question that you did not prepare for in advance, stay calm and composed as you showcase your ability to think on your feet and problem-solve in real time.  

4. Prepare and write down the questions you want to ask the interviewer

These could be about the big picture, culture, day-to-day operations, or wrap-up questions. For example:

“What is the vision for the company in the near and long term?”

“What type of person really thrives or succeeds at this company or in this department?”

“What will be the first project or couple of projects I’d focus on in this role?”

“What reservations do you have about me or my background for this role?”

I recommend writing the questions down and having them in a notepad during the interview so you do not forget what you wanted to ask at the end. Do not skip this step. Many of our clients have passed on a candidate because they did not ask any questions.

5. Express interest in the job if you think it seems like a good fit

At the end of an interview, you are often given the opportunity for a wrap-up. If you feel confident and excited about the opportunity, express that to the interviewer. Re-emphasize why you are drawn to the company specifically as well as what about the role piques your interest. Following the interview, send a thank-you email to reiterate your interest and leave a positive impression. The follow-up email should be personalized and reference specific parts of the conversation.

As you prepare for your next interview, remember that success lies in the details. Each of these five tips is designed to give you confidence and help you present yourself as the ideal candidate, increasing both your interview performance and chances of landing the job. Make your next interview count!

Kevin Clemens

Senior Partner, Executive Recruiter

A picture of the author, Kevin Clemens

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