It’s estimated that only 2-3% of job applicants receive a call back for an interview. If your application makes it past digital or human gatekeepers and into the lap of an HR representative or recruiter, you’re on the right track. But in order to land the position, you need to stand out and prove that you’re the right candidate for the job.
There’s no way to guarantee you’ll secure the position, but if you take the time to practice, it’s possible to increase your chances. Here are a handful of suggestions that can help you master the interview process and stand out from the crowd:
1.) Make sure you understand the interview process. Every company conducts the interview and hiring process differently, but there are four basic phases that are pretty much universal: the pre-interview phase, the interview, a time to ask questions and the post-interview phase. For a thorough breakdown of each phase, click here. The more familiar you are with an interview’s structure, the easier it is to shine.
2.) Practice answering common interview questions. Regardless of industry, job interviews often include similar questions. Start by studying this list from The Muse. Select 15-20 of the questions and practice answering them out loud. If it helps, write down the questions on one side of a notecard with a synopsis of your answer on the back. Study both sides and then have a friend or family member quiz you so you’re able to provide responses on the spot.
3.) Record yourself responding to the questions. If you don’t have a friend or family member who can help quiz you, record your responses with a smartphone or web camera, then play them back. Study your body language, posture, tone of voice and level of enthusiasm. If you notice yourself slouching or fidgeting, make adjustments and then rerecord. Practice until you feel confident in your presentation style.
4.) Try on your outfit in advance. If you’ve been out of work or working from home, it’s probably been a while since you’ve dressed in office-appropriate attire. A day or two before your interview, select an outfit and try it on. This will help you feel professional when practicing, but it also presents an opportunity to catch stains, rips or missing buttons.
5.) Remember to slow down and speak clearly. When you’re nervous or anxious, you’re more likely to speed through your answers without providing detail. When practicing, work on slowing down and speaking clearly. It may feel strange at first, but reminding yourself to not rush makes clear communication much easier.
How do you prepare for job interviews? If you have a tip that didn’t make our list, visit our Facebook page and leave a comment.