8 Tips For Winning a Job Interview

handshake over clipboard and next to laptop

The economy sucks, the unemployment rate in the country is rising. So many young professionals graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree from a great university and are having trouble finding work. Friends and family are leaving and factories are closing left and right.

How to Winning A Job Interview

However, this will not be a blog that complains and cries about the situation. After working on several web development projects and meeting with Adam Davenport of Gorillas & Gazelles, an HR outsourcing company, I decided to ask some tough interview questions. Together, I was able to put together a few tips in order of importance for Winning a Job Interview for any profession. Here’s how to pass the interview.

1. Network

It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. Sounds harsh, but I really believe it and don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. They may not be mutually exclusive, so I’ll soften them up a bit and rephrase them as “knowledge can be power, but relationships are fuel.” Take advantage of professional networking events, network with your peers and faculty, seek help from your career services department, attend a job fair, and ask your friends via email (another tip from Timothy Ferris in The 4-Hour Workweek).

2. Dress for work

Common sense, but critical. Adam recommends that you call the company secretary in advance and find out what the typical dress code is for the office. Don’t show up to your carpenter interview in a three-button suit (or the female equivalent). By the way, I just bought a T-shirt on eBay that says “wat da” and has a picture of a duck underneath. It may not be interview material.

3. Research the company (and competitors)

Do your homework about the company before interviewing them. I have heard that it has been successful on many occasions. Explore the company’s website for its mission/vision, history, and any other publicly available information. Also check out the competing organizations.

4. Explore people

Figure out who you’ll be interviewing and research them. See what they’re up to by typing their name into Google. A neat way to collect people further is to match their full name with their username and then search by username to find forum posts, profiles, and comments. Find a common sympathy for this person or express a sincere interest in his sympathies. People love to talk about their families, cars, office furniture, etc. Try to identify the interviewer’s personality type (this takes practice). You can read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie to further develop this skill.

5. Smile all the way

Come with a big smile and excitedly introduce yourself to every employee/client you meet on your way to the interview. It is very possible that someone will discuss you after you leave if you have made a lasting impression. During the interview, this helps because you can really show your excitement about the job opportunity and passion for the profession. This also brings me to another point. Try to get a job that you really enjoy; it will make the interview much easier!

6. Answer the question about your biggest weakness

The infamous “What is your biggest weakness” question is one of the most popular interview questions. We asked entrepreneurship professor Dan Ferguson what the trick is? Wrap a strength in what could be a weakness and always mention that you are working to improve the weakness. Many interviewers ask this question to find out if you easily give up on your weaknesses. For example, try something like, “I work late all the time and, as a college student, I have a hard time balancing work and personal life. Sometimes I feel like I’m overtired, but I’m really working on becoming more productive to make up for it.”

7. Refine answers

You should never answer a question with a simple yes or no. Instead, refine your answer a bit. If you are asked a “yes” or “no” question, be sure to justify it. Interviewers usually ask yes or no questions to test your laziness and see if you can communicate professionally.

8. Think entrepreneurial

I am an entrepreneur at heart and I should include this here. Some are simply not made for the corporate world. Do not limit yourself to corporate work if it is not your gateway to achieving your life goals. Always keep your options open and remember that you can do it yourself!

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