15 Tips on How To Interview Successfully

Updated 14 August 2023

Your preparation and attitude during an interview can determine your success. Preparing for an interview can help you be confident and comfortable when answering difficult questions. Follow these general guidelines to improve your interview abilities and your chances of impressing the interviewer. In this article, we give you 15 tips on how you can interview successfully, including what you can do before, during and after the interview.

Related: What is an Interview? (and the most common types)

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15 tips on how to interview successfully

You can follow these tips to help you have a successful interview for your next role:

1. Research the company

Research the company beforehand to learn about its mission statement, values and industry-related news. You can find information about the company's current projects and how financially stable it is. You may also connect with former and current employees on a professional social networking platform to determine how the company treats its employees.

2. Prepare for behavioural interview questions

Behaviour-based interviewing involves the interviewer asking you how you handled specific situations in your previous roles. The purpose of this interviewing technique is to give the potential employer insight into how you approach challenges in the workplace and whether you can turn them into opportunities. To prepare for this type of interview question, you can start by making a list of your strengths, weaknesses and skills. Prepare examples of when you used these qualities successfully.

Read more: Behavioural Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

3. Prepare for different types of interviews

A recruiter may use one of several Interview formats and settings. Preparing for different types of interviews can help you feel more confident and ready. Besides the traditional one-on-one interview, there are hiring events, panels and open interviews:

Out-of-office interviews

An out-of-office interview may involve meeting the interviewer for lunch or dinner. Arrive early enough to be there before the interviewer. It may be helpful to look at the restaurant menu online and decide what you want to order. Also, research the restaurant ahead of time to ensure you know how to dress appropriately.

Video and phone interviews

When the interviewer invites you to a video or phone interview, find a quiet room where you won't be interrupted by friends, flatmates or family during the interview. Make sure the Internet is working properly and the lighting is appropriate. Practise using your technology beforehand to make sure it works efficiently.

Related: Phone Interview Tips to Get You to the Next Round

Group interviews

A group interview involves being interviewed in a group of candidates. In this case, a panel may ask you and the other applicants questions simultaneously. Practise your listening skills before doing a group interview. You can also prepare for the interview by researching answers to the most common interview questions (see tip 5 below).

Related: What Is an Interview Panel?

4. Always practise

Practising can help you feel more at ease. You can ask a family member or a friend to do a mock interview with you to get their feedback on how you conduct yourself. An alternative way to practise for an interview is to record yourself and study your body language and responses to questions. Seeing yourself on a recording can provide valuable insights into improving your body language during an interview.

Related: 12 interview strategies for interviewees (plus tips)

5. Prepare answers to common interview questions

Here are some of the most common interview questions:

  • Would you mind telling me about yourself?

  • How did you find out about this role?

  • Why did this role appeal to you?

  • Why should we hire you?

  • What are your strengths?

  • What are your weaknesses?

  • Would you mind telling us what you know about the company?

  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

  • What is your work ethic?

  • Do you prefer a specific type of work environment?

  • How do you handle disagreements with your team members about work-related matters?

  • How would your current manager and team members describe you?

  • How do you handle severe work pressure?

  • Do you have any questions for me?

    Related: Interview Question: "Tell Me About Yourself"

6. Prepare questions to ask the interviewer

In addition to preparing responses to the interview questions above, you may also prepare questions to ask the interviewer. Asking questions shows your interest in the company and the position. It's acceptable to have a list of questions to refer to during your interview.

Related: Questions To Ask at an Interview

7. Behave professionally

Be sure to behave professionally when you go for an interview. It's essential to treat the people you meet before, during and after the interview with respect. Make sure to dress appropriately and be polite to everyone. The recruiter may ask their colleagues for some feedback on you.

Related: Job Interview Tips: How to Make a Great Impression

8. Get insider information

If you know anyone working at the company you're interviewing with, contact them to learn about the work environment and the company culture. If you don't know anyone working at the company, visit their website and social media channels to learn more about their culture. Learning about the company can help you think of relevant questions to ask the interviewer.

9. Dress appropriately for the position

To leave a positive first impression on the interviewer, make sure to dress appropriately for the position when you go for an interview. Decide on an interview outfit in advance and have it cleaned and ready to avoid rushing on the day of the interview. Remember you may need to iron your clothes. Make sure your outfit fits well, and only wear simple accessories.

The outfit you choose for your interview depends on the company and its culture. Researching the company can help you know whether the company has a more casual or formal dress code. You can also ask the person who scheduled your interview what the company's dress code is.

Related: What not to wear to an interview (and what to wear instead)

10. Be ready for small talk

You may need to interact with the interviewer on a personal level. To help you prepare for this, practise typical conversation topics. Your preparation can help you feel more confident if the situation occurs. Follow these tips to practise your small talk skills:

  • Talk about the work environment where the interview takes place. You can complement the office location or its design.

  • Compliment the employer if the company has recently won awards or achieved specific milestones.

  • Try to identify a common interest you share with the interviewer and have a conversation about it.

  • Always remain positive during the conversation.

11. Use techniques to help you calm down on the day of the interview

Prepare and use stress management techniques to stay calm on the day of the interview. Make sure to present yourself for the interview five to ten minutes before it starts. If you arrive too early, go to a coffee shop or wait inside your car. If you plan to drive to the interview, drive to the location before the interview to get to know the route and where to park. Be sure to leave early to avoid possible heavy traffic in the area.

Although it's normal to be anxious, it's essential to remain as calm as possible throughout the interview. If you don't understand a question, ask for clarification and take your time to respond.

Related: What is self-confidence and why is it important to have?

12. Items to have with you for the interview

You can consider taking the following items with you to an interview:

  • A printed version of your CV

  • A list of references

  • A portfolio

  • A list of the questions you'd like to ask the interviewer

  • A notebook and pen to take notes

13. Build rapport with the interviewer

You can use your interview to create a connection with the interviewer. Although the interviewer might ask most of the questions, you can use your responses to each question to turn the interview into a conversation with them. Try to connect to the interviewer on a personal level while remaining professional.

14. Be authentic

Although preparation and practice can help you have a successful interview, try to be yourself. It's best to remain positive, confident and assertive. Respond to questions candidly and concisely.

15. Always follow up

After your interview, write a brief email to thank the interviewer for the opportunity. You can reiterate your interest in that specific role and mention some details you might have forgotten during the interview. This can help cement your interview in the interviewer's mind and help them recall important aspects of your skills and qualifications.

Related: Follow-Up Email Examples For After the Interview

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