5 Ways to Nail a Job Interview

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For two years I hired summer students for a hostel front desk in Montreal, positions that were relatively popular within my university. I saw a huge range of students in the job interviews, and subsequently, a huge range of interview styles, ranging from “doing it for the good vibes” to business school student precision. While some interviews were clearly better than others, there always seemed to be the same slip-ups, regardless of the preparedness of the candidate. Here are all the little ways to make an interviewer remember you.

1. Arrive early

It’s the golden rule of interview tips for a reason. Doing interviews all day is exhausting, and an interviewer might get frustrated if you waste their time. This also makes you look unprofessional and unreliable. Instead, arrive about 10-15 minutes before your scheduled time, especially if it’s scheduled for later in the day. If the interview before yours wraps up early, the interviewing committee might see you sooner. Can’t help being late? Call ahead and let them know. Then they’ll be able to interview the candidate who arrived early and won’t waste their time just waiting.

2. Treat every chit-chat in the building as a mini-interview

At the end of a full day of interviews, the first thing the interview committee and I would do was to ask the receptionist for their feedback. And their opinion mattered because they saw how people acted when there wasn’t anyone around to impress. People remember rudeness and it’s hard to shake off the first impression like that.

3. Know what the job position entails

The amount of people applying to positions and having absolutely no idea what the responsibilities of the job are always surprised me. So make sure you read the job description! Explain what the job is to a friend. Imagine yourself in the job and picture your day-to-day. That way, if an interviewer asks you a question about the role, you will feel more prepared.

4. Ask a question at the end

Most people don’t. Asking a thoughtful question will make you stand out. My personal favourite is “What’s your idea of an ideal candidate?”. You’ll get an idea of what management would expect of you, and this will signify to recruiters that you are really interested in this role.

5. Fake it ‘till you make it

Interviews are nerve-wracking. Sitting in front of strangers who are evaluating you can get stressful. The interviewers know this, and they can also feel the awkwardness in the room. So do your part in diffusing the awkwardness. Answer their questions with openness and friendliness (while still being professional, of course). Pretend they’re your parents’ friends or your formal extended family. Sit confidently, and make eye contact with everyone in the room at least three times. Treat this as an opportunity to just talk about yourself for 30 minutes. You’ve got this!

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