12 job interview tricks you can’t afford to ignore

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Keep these interviewing tricks up your sleeve.
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COD Newsroom/Flickr

Some people are naturals at selling themselves during job interviews.

Others aren’t.

Either way, there are certain tips and tricks that can instantly boost your performance during a job interview.

Here are 12 tricks that might be hard to master, but will take your interviewing experience to the next level:


Establish the right mindset beforehand

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Marko Kudjerski/flickr

Get yourself hyped for the interview.

This can be pretty difficult for some people, especially if you’ve got a lot on the line. Try taking some deep breaths. A good trick for maintaining a sense of calm is visualizing your success and accepting that rejection’s a possibility, but not an inevitability.

If you’re nervous, as Steve Errey of “The Daily Muse” writes, it’s important not to assume your interviewer is there to be judgmental and mean. The hiring manager is not your opponent – odds are, they’re hoping to feel wowed.

“You were asked to come in because someone at the company wants to get to know you,” says Errey. “The hiring manager wants to hear more about the experiences he read about on paper, and I promise you no one is looking to see how much shaking you can do in those boots of yours.”


Prepare some good questions

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Job interviews are scary. By the end of the ordeal, you’re probably thinking that the last thing you want to do is drag on the experience with more questions.

However, asking good questions that demonstrate your knowledge and interest in the job is exactly what you have to do in order to demonstrate your interest and engagement.

Because it’s often impossible for some people to think up informed questions on the spot, write some down beforehand. Rehearse them a bit, if that makes you feel more comfortable.


Break the ice with some good conversation starters

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First impressions are important, so you really want to get off on the right foot at your interview.

Still, job interviews are often present a somewhat intimidating conversational environment, so finding the right conversation starter can be pretty tricky. It can be hard to make a perfect first impression when you’re super nervous to begin with.

Rachel Gillett previously reported for Business Insider that the key is making the job interviewer feel like they have your undivided attention; good conversation starters include asking about the person’s weekend or referencing a post you liked from their organization’s blog or social media platforms.


Be open about your weaknesses

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When the hiring manager asks about your greatest weakness, it can be tough to come up with a good answer. Whatever you do, don’t say that you work too hard. Kudos to the person who first thought that up, but it’s pretty much a cliché at this point.

Discussing a lesson garnered from finance author and speaker Ramit Sethi’s appearance on “The Tim Ferriss Show,” Richard Feloni of Business Insider broke down how exactly to answer this tricky question – identify your real biggest weakness and describe how you’ve corrected it.


Be prepared to talk about why you’re switching jobs

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Flickr/COD Newsroom

The hiring manager may ask you why you’re switching roles. It’s a good idea to be prepared with an answer.

Business Insider previously interviewed Nicholas Miller, CEO of software company Gather. He always asks potential hires why they moved from one role to the next during job interviews: “Why was that the right time? What were they looking to accomplish? And then did they accomplish that at their next job?”

It’s a question that allows Miller to weed out the ambivalent, the aimless, and the bitter. The key is to convey that you’re intentional about your career and serious about the company.


Maintain good body language

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Strelka Institute for Media and Design/Flickr

Projecting confidence doesn’t come easy to everyone. Still, it’s a crucial part of selling yourself in an interview.

Slouching, fidgeting, and averting your eyes are all behaviors that might make you appear awkward – or, worse, deceptive.

It’s definitely hard to control, but if you’re prone to these habits, make a special effort to reign them in during your interview.


Do your homework when it comes to money

Money – it’s an awkward subject to begin with, which makes it especially easy to bungle in a job interview.

Doing your homework is key to avoiding salary-related awkwardness in your conversation with the hiring manager. Know your worth. Know the market. When wages come up, try to frame it so the interviewer throws out the first number – and remember to remain flexible and honest throughout the discussion.


Take it slow

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Vladimir Pustovit/Flickr

To paraphrase the S.O.S. Band, take your time and do it right when it comes to job interviews.

Shana Lebowitz reported for Business Insider that this strategy especially benefits shy people, allowing them to show the interviewer that they’re confident enough to handle the pauses and engaged enough to carefully consider each answer. If you rush through your conversation, you risk sounding incoherent and nervous.


Stick to your thesis

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If you’re anxious or speaking with an inexperienced interviewer, it can be easy to swerve off-track in your interview. You might end up babbling about your career highlights reel, when you really should be demonstrating the value you can bring to the organization.

Make sure to always keep the focus on what you can do for the organization. Treat your interview a bit like an essay. Everything you discuss should pertain to one thesis – why you’re a great fit for the job.


Keep things real about your motivation

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This question is so simple that it’s subtly tricky to get right. You want your response to stand out, but you don’t want to sound corny or fake.

The key thing is to not overthink this one. The ideal response would be real, but upbeat. Ponder this one before your interview in order to prepare.


Ask about next steps

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Reuters/Regis Duvignau

Especially for individuals who are particularly nervous or new to the hiring process, it can feel a bit daunting to ask about next steps.

Still, asking about the follow up process demonstrate to the hiring manager that you’re pragmatic and serious about the job.

Plus, as Natalie Walters previously reported for Business Insider, if your interviewer is enthusiastic with their response, that’s a sign that your interview went very well.


Send the perfect thank you email

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Let’s say you rocked your interview. It’s easy to become so relieved that you forget one crucial step.

You don’t want to have the job interview-equivalent of a Simone Biles-esque vault, only to fall flat on your face during the landing.

This happens when you really click with the hiring manager, and then forget to send a thank you note. Seriously, something as simple as a thank you email shows that you care about the job – in some cases, this could make or break your prospects.

Send a thank you note that looks something like this within 24 hours of your job interview.

Jacquelyn Smith contributed to a previous version of this article.