Shake Off the Nerves: 20 Tips to Help You Ace Your Job Interview

Shake Off the Nerves: 20 Tips to Help You Ace Your Job Interview

Job interviews can be a daunting, stressful experience, no matter if you’re a fresh graduate or a seasoned professional. They’re the one thing stopping you from getting your dream job, which means preparing well for them is absolutely crucial. Whether you’re facing your very first interview or just looking to improve your performance after a series of attempts, here are 20 comprehensive tips to help you ace your job interview.

1. Conduct Comprehensive Company Research

Before stepping into your interview, you should always make sure you have a thorough understanding of the company. Research the company’s mission, culture, products or services, key personnel, and recent news; understanding the industry trends and how the company stands in relation to its competitors can also be beneficial. This information will not only help you tailor your responses, but it will also show you have a genuine interest in the organization.

ux-indonesia-4FCkpfGIIJg-unsplash.jpgPhoto by UX Indonesia on Unsplash

2. Understand the Job Description

The job description is a roadmap that clearly lists what the employer is looking for. Analyze it and understand the skills, qualifications, and experiences required for the position. Highlight any relevant instances from your background that make you an ideal candidate, allowing you to present a focused and compelling narrative regarding why you should be hired.

headway-5qgiuubxkwm-unsplash-1.jpgPhoto by Headway on Unsplash

3. Practice Common Interview Questions

While you can’t predict everything that you’re going to be asked, there are always certain interview questions that are universal. It’s probably safe to assume that “Tell me about yourself”, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”, and “Why should we hire you?” are all questions likely to be asked during your interview. Practice answering these common questions so you can feel confident and ready when they come up.

brett-jordan-_ImoAwRlQuU-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

4. Prepare You Own Questions

An interview is a two-way street - preparing insightful questions for the interviewer demonstrates your keenness for the role and helps you gauge if the company is the right fit for you. You could ask about the company culture, expectations for the role, or opportunities for professional growth.

alexander-wark-feeney-TjeSBvkxX2Y-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Alexander Wark Feeney on Unsplas


5. Dress Appropriately 

First impressions are important! Your attire should reflect the company’s culture and the role you’re applying for. If the company is formal, opt for a business suit or a nice dress. If it’s a startup or in the creative industry, business casual might be more suitable. Just remember, it’s better to be slightly overdressed than terribly underdressed.

ruthson-zimmerman-Ws4wd-vJ9M0-unsplash-1024x683.jpgPhoto by Ruthson Zimmerman on Unsplash

6. Mind Your Body Language

Non-verbal cues like a firm handshake, eye contact, and good posture can project confidence and professionalism. Conversely, fidgeting, avoiding eye contact, or slouching can all be seen as off-putting to interviewers. Practice maintaining positive body language so you make a solid first impression.

amy-hirschi-JaoVGh5aJ3E-unsplash-1.jpgPhoto by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

7. Be Punctual

Arriving late can convey a lack of respect for the interviewer’s time and indicate that you have poor time management skills. Neither work well in your favour. So with that in mind, aim to arrive at least 15 minutes early, allowing for unexpected delays and giving you time to calm down any pre-interview nerves. 

lukas-blazek-UAvYasdkzq8-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

8. Highlight Your Achievements

Your achievements can set you apart from other candidates. Discuss them quantitatively, such as how you increased sales by 20% or reduced project turnaround time by 2 weeks. Using concrete examples is a great way to demonstrate the value you can bring to the organization.

ariel-HkN64BISuQA-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Ariel on Unsplash

9. Display Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm can be the perfect way to express your interest in both the role and the company. If you’re passionate about it, show it! Showcasing your passion when discussing your experience and goals can really set you apart from all the rest. Of course, just remember to balance your enthusiasm with professionalism. Nothing over the top!

spencer-davis-o7MVbPwxSBI-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Spencer Davis on Unsplash

10. Illustrate with Examples

When discussing your skills or experience, provide specific examples to make a powerful impact. Describe situations where you successfully applied your skills, the actions you took, and the results you achieved. This is also known as the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result).

christina-wocintechchat-com-yyp_HpXrUfw-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Christina @ on Unsplash


11. Be Honest

Honesty is absolutely critical during a job interview. If you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s far better to admit it than to lie. Misrepresenting yourself could only lead to problems down the line. Besides, employers appreciate honesty and integrity. 

linkedin-sales-solutions-1A8yP_5msac-unsplash.jpgPhoto by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

12. Avoid Speaking Negatively About Past Employers

It’s important to always maintain professionalism throughout the interview. Criticizing past employers can lead a bad impression and raise questions about your attitude. Instead, focus on what you learnt from these past experiences and how you’re looking forward to new opportunities that await.

mimi-thian-lp1AKIUV3yo-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

Show You’re A Team Player

Most roles you apply for will require some form of teamwork. As a highly valuable trait, discuss your experiences working in a team, how you handle team dynamics, and your contributions to achieving team goals. This shows your ability to work well with others and contribute positively to the company culture. 

cherrydeck-rMILC1PIwM0-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Cherrydeck on Unsplash

14. Listen Actively

Active listening shows respect and enables you to give thoughtful, relevant responses. Avoid interrupting and take a moment to formulate your response before speaking. There’s no rush! This can also demonstrate your communication skills which are crucial in any working environment.

parabol-the-agile-meeting-toolbox-Sp1uQo368fA-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Parabol | The Agile Meeting Toolbox on Unsplash

15. Highlight Your Problem-Solving Skills

Employers value candidates who can think on their feet and solve problems effectively and efficiently. Discuss situations where you faced such challenges and how you overcame them. This will not only highlight your problem-solving skills, but it’ll also spotlight your resilience. Companies want to recruit individuals who can work well under pressure.olav-ahrens-rotne-4Ennrbj1svk-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Olav Ahrens Røtne on Unsplash

16. Show Willingness to Learn

Expressing a desire to learn and grow professionally can convey your commitment to the role and the company. It shows you’re not just interested in the job today but in the industry as a whole. It also displays that you care about contributing to the company and growing with them.

tim-mossholder-WE_Kv_ZB1l0-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash


17. Be Clear About Your Career Goals

It’s a good thing to have goals in mind! Having clear career goals shows your motivation and dedication. Discuss your short-term and long-term goals, and describe how the job aligns with them. This acts to reassure the interviewer that you’re invested in the role and unlikely to leave at the earliest opportunity.

isaac-smith-8XlMU62ii8I-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

18. End on A Positive Note

Once you’ve reached the end of your interview, don’t forget to express your appreciation for the opportunity. Reiterate your interest in the role and the company, and leave the interviewer with a positive impression of you. If first impressions matter, your final impression matters just as much.sebastian-herrmann-nbtidofkgo8-unsplash-1.jpgPhoto by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

19. Follow Up 

A follow-up email or note expressing your gratitude for the opportunity is a great way to set you apart from all the other candidates. It reinforces your interest in the job, and it reminds the interviewer of your presence.solen-feyissa-taogbzs-qw-unsplash-1.jpgPhoto by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

20. Reflect and Learn

Whether or not you get the job, always look back and reflect on the experience. Identify the areas where you did well and note down the areas you need to improve on. Treat every interview as a learning experience and it’ll surely bring you closer to your career goals! 

amy-hirschi-K0c8ko3e6AA-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

The key to nailing a job interview is all in your preparation and how you present your authentic self. It’s okay to be nervous! Being nervous just means it’s important to you. So just take a deep breath, review these tips, and you’ll soon be on your way to getting hired! Best of luck out there.