How to win a job interview

Does the thought of sitting in a job interview send shivers down your spine? Well, you’re not alone. 

But there’s good news. Job interviews don’t have to be feared. There are a few ways to make your next interview a whole lot more comfortable.

Here is the Surplus Nerds guide to smash your next job interview:

  1. Do some slight stalking
  2. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”
  3. Don’t fear rejection
  4. Tell them why you love them
  5. Connect with other employees
  6. Display confidence but not arrogance
  7. Show your strengths
  8. Take notes
  9. Say thank you
  10. Be unique
  11. Embrace your weaknesses
  12. Be a long term thinker
  13. Promote your goals
  14. Nail your cover letter
  15. Humans like humans

Do some slight stalking

Before the interview, make sure you research the company and its key employees. Search their website and find out the companies mission, areas of operation and any notable events. Check their “about us” section, Linkedin and Google to discover all the information you need to know.

Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”

You won’t know the answer to every question, and it won’t be expected. What’s important is showing that you can find out the answer. Let the interviewer know if there is something you don’t know, you’ll find the answer. For extra points, offer to send the answer in a follow-up email.

Don’t fear rejection

Look, this list isn’t magically gonna get you every job you interview for. You’re going to face some rejection, and that’s ok. Remember, if you don’t ask the answer is always no.

Tell them why you love them

At some point, the interviewer is going to as “why us”? Be prepared but don’t give a boring HR response. Let them know what attracted you to the company and be specific. 

Connect with other employees

If you already know someone in the company then you have a headstart. Seek out an introduction from your friend. But be sure they will say nice things about you!

Display confidence but not arrogance

You might be full of nerves during the interview but don’t let them hold you back. Sit up straight, speak up and don’t shy away from eye contact. 

Be sure you don’t slouch back in the chair or stare down your future boss. 

It’s a thin line between confidence and arrogance so I recommend you practice. 

Show your strengths

Don’t be afraid to show off your strengths. There’s something special about you that will give you an edge. 

Have you taught yourself a skill?

Been in a leadership position?

Even if it has nothing to do with the job description, it will help. 

Take notes

Interviewers notice the little things. Bring a notebook (and pen) to the interview. If there is something to follow up on or just an interesting point, note it down. 

Say thank you

After the interview, send a short and sweet thank you message. Make sure it’s unique and includes something you discussed in the interview. 

Be unique

At the end of the interview, you’ll probably be asked if you have any questions. 

Don’t say “no”, this is your chance to stand out. Ask something interesting and show you care about the job.

Embrace your weaknesses

Once again, not HR answers! Show a real weakness. You’re only human after all. The real trick is showing how you’ll overcome this weakness. 

Be a long term thinker

You may be asked what your plans are for the next couple of years. This may be a test to see if you’re not planning to stay at the job long. Simply reframe this question and talk about what you’re long term goals are.

Promote your goals

Show that you’re goal-orientated and how this can be related to your day to day work tasks. Pro tip – learning is a good goal to have. 

Nail your cover letter

Do not send the same letter to every potential job!

Write a new cover letter for every job. This is your first impression and first impressions matter. Keep it short and show some personality. Make sure you answer the “Why us?” question.

Humans like humans

Despite this whole work from home thing, humans still like connecting with other humans. Be the type of person that your future boss wouldn’t mind sitting next to on a plane for 8 hours.

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