Interview anxiety is real and can easily shake your confidence.
To help you ace your interview, we’ve curated this massive list of interview tips to win over your interviewers with a smile and a stellar conversation.
In this article, we’ll break down actionable interview preparation tips and cover:
- 6 Interview Preparation Tips to Ace Your Interview
- 10 Key Tips for Acing Zoom Interviews Like a Pro
- 18 Tips for Perfecting In-Person Interviews tips
- What to Do After the Interview
How to Prepare for Your Interview
Whether you’re gearing up for a chat with a recruiter or preparing for a final interview round with the company’s CXOs, you need some good prep to make a strong impression.
These six essential guidelines will prepare you for any interview scenario and set you up for continued success.
1. Take the time to truly understand the role.
There’s one rule of thumb for acing interviews: show them you know them.
Conveying how well you understand the intricacies of the position and the company at large is a surefire way to stand out from a pool of candidates.
So, before going for an interview, spend some time to:
- Thoroughly analyze the job description.
- Research the organizational structure.
- Learn more about the company’s offerings + values.
This means you have to go beyond their website and socials.
Conduct this research meticulously to show interviewers how serious you are for this position.
Bonus: It’ll also reflect your ability to go the extra mile!
2. Research relevant questions and practice answers.
Contrary to what many people believe, there’s no way to “hack” an interview. However, preparing answers for role-specific questions can amp up your readiness for such a conversation.
Prepare a list of potential questions they can ask related to the position you’ve applied for. You can also include a few questions about your past experiences.
Once you’re ready with a list, think of possible responses for each question. You don’t have to memorize these answers.
Instead, consciously think about the question to prepare a crisp response in your mind. You can build on these thoughts if the interviewer asks any of these questions.
3. Clearly define and articulate what you bring to the table.
Many job seekers drop the ball when asked to explain why and how they’re ideal for the position.
They sound either too boastful or too shy to explain their skills and accomplishments effectively.
But if you’re well-prepared for an interview, you can play to your strengths and creatively highlight everything you bring to the table.
This is where tip #1 will also help.
When you know what the company is looking for, you can mentally list down your most relevant achievements and skills.
Highlight these contextually during the interview and give a convincing response for why you’re a qualified (and ideal) candidate for the role.
4. Practice and improve your body language.
Your body can convey more details about your personality than your words.
Even if you respond to every question properly, your chances can still fall through if your body language doesn’t make the right impression.
That’s why one of the key aspects of any interview prep is practicing non-verbal communication to present your most confident self.
Here are a few best practices to train your body before an interview:
- Keep a straight posture with your back and neck.
- Maintain consistent eye contact to show you’re attentive and engaged.
- Avoid fidgeting and limit your hand movements to remove distractions.
- Keep an open stance since closed arms can look defensive and rude.
- Practice steady breathing to calm your nerves before/during the interview.
These non-verbal gestures can make or break your impression.
So, train yourself to give off positive energy and a confident look during interviews.
5. Prepare yourself for handling unexpected situations.
One of the most underrated interview tips is preparing yourself for unexpected situations—like a loud noise coming from your background or maybe some awkward dead air.
If you get easily frazzled, you’ll likely come off as nervous and underconfident.
That’s why you need to prepare your reaction to unanticipated situations beforehand.
Think of a few possible situations (like the ones I mentioned before) and practice some ways you can respond.
Depending on the interviewer, you can infuse some humor into the conversation or repeat what the question was and say you need a couple of minutes to think. Don’t be afraid to be honest.
6. Calm your nerves to be in the best headspace.
Lastly, the best thing you can do before an interview is to put yourself in the groove and create a calm and comfortable headspace.
Here are a few tips to get rid of the nerves and bring out your best version:
- Inhale deeply and exhale slowly to the tune of soothing music.
- Read positive affirmations out loud to reiterate your strengths.
- Avoid taking caffeine and instead drink water to hydrate.
- Practice mindful meditation to build a strong focus.
- Play out a few interview scenarios in your mind.
- Talk to a friend to pump yourself up.
You can experiment with any of these tips to see what works best for you.
Then, repeat before every interview!
10 Key Tips for Acing Zoom Interviews Like a Pro
We get it: interviews can be nerve-wracking.
But when you’re interviewing from the comfort of your home, you’re in control of your environment and headspace.
Here are 10 virtual interview tips to nail your Zoom interviews.
7. Use a laptop/computer and stress-test it.
Taking an interview on the phone can come off as too casual and make you look unprepared, potentially hurting your chances. That’s why it’s essential to use a laptop or PC to appear for a virtual interview.
As a best practice, remember to stress-test your device to be sure it’s performing properly and avoid any last-minute technical glitches. This would also include checking your mic and webcam for best performance.
8. Choose a stable internet connection.
“Am I audible?”
“Your voice sounds choppy.”
“Sorry, could you please repeat that?”
That’s what a bad internet connection can do to your interview.
Besides ruining your audio and video quality, it can spoil the entire experience and leave a negative impression on the interviewer(s).
So, check your internet connection and switch to a different network if the speed isn’t the best. Always keep a backup network handy, if possible.
9. Create a professional setup.
Position your laptop at a good height to match your line of sight and keep it in a bright place.
If you don’t have access to natural light, choose the right position to make your video properly lit and visible.
You should also consider a plain or distraction-free backdrop for the interview.
If you don’t have a proper background, use a filter to cover up your backdrop.
Remember to choose a quiet spot with minimal noise.
10. Pick a neat background.
It’s okay if your background includes a wall filled with posters of your favorite music artists or movies. Thanks to a nifty Zoom feature, you can replace your background with any image.
Remember to choose a professional and clutter-free image.
You can pick from any of Zoom’s default background options to upload an image you found online.
11. Remove distractions from your screen.
Another great way to prepare for your interview is by keeping your laptop screen clean.
Close those 20 tabs on your browser and shut down any other apps currently active, like Spotify, Instagram, Todoist, etc.
Keep only the information relevant to your interview.
For example, you can open a sticky note with all the points you’ve jotted down during your prep.
12. Optimize Zoom for a video conversation.
If you’re not well-versed with Zoom, then you have to practice well before the meeting.
You should know all the basics of the tool—how to mirror yourself, adjust audio, share your screen, and similar tasks.
Take some time before the call to optimize your Zoom setup.
That means adjusting the lighting, touching up your appearance, testing your mic, and all the finer details.
13. Get into the groove and build focus.
Remember how we talked about calming your nerves?
In a virtual interview, you can reduce anxiety and develop focus by joining the meeting lobby five minutes early.
This will show your punctuality and make a good impression.
Besides, you can also take this time to focus solely on the call instead of aimlessly scrolling through social media or overthinking about the conversation.
14. Position your webcam to maintain eye contact.
Maintaining eye contact is a great way to show you’re actively listening and paying attention to the interviewer(s).
That’s why it’s important to position your webcam or laptop just above the eye level.
You can use a laptop stand or place your device on a few books to give it the right height.
Start a meeting with just yourself to practice your body language and perfect your camera position before the call.
15. Dress for success in a professional outfit.
Virtual interviews give you some leeway to dress comfortably, but it’s still important to look sharp and wear a formal outfit.
Your clothing can be another non-verbal cue, making a direct or indirect impression on the interviewers. So, try on a few options and choose the one that best compliments your style.
16. Genuinely engage in the conversation.
Our final tip for virtual interviews is to show how interested you are in the interview. It’s one thing to listen intently, and it’s another to show that you’re actively involved in the conversation.
You can do a few things to convey that you’re deeply engaged in the interview. This can be jotting down a few notes, asking follow-up questions, smiling and nodding, and similar gestures.
18 Tips for Perfecting In-Person Interviews
Going for an in-person interview?
We’ve got you covered.
Here are our 18 best interview tips to become your most confident self for every in-person interview.
17. Do your research on the company.
Read up on the company you’re interviewing for and take the time to carefully understand their product or service, especially if you’ve not worked in the industry/vertical before.
Check their website and find relevant articles or videos to properly contextualize what they do. This research will offer more clarity into your role as well.
18. Read the job description thoroughly.
As we mentioned before, read and internalize the job description well.
The more you know about the job, the more nuanced and relevant your responses will be.
Higher chances of getting on the interviewer’s radar and progressing in the selection process.
19. Ask about the interview format in advance.
Before you appear on the interview day, you can ask the recruiter or your point of contact to share some details about the interview format. This will give you a better direction to prepare for the meeting.
For example, a one-on-one interview can be focused on one theme (like your technical skills), while a panel interview can cover various aspects.
20. Prepare for commonly asked interview questions.
Find questions interviewers tend to ask vis-a-vis your position and prepare your thoughts on responding to these questions.
For example, if you’re applying for a sales position, you might be asked about how you prospect leads. You can plan your response by jotting down the steps + tools you use.
21. Structure your answers with the STAR method.
STAR stands for Situation, Task, Actions, and Results.
The STAR method gives you a framework to properly organize your answers. For every question, you can respond by detailing your insights in four steps:
- Explain the situation or context
- Define the task you were given
- Highlight the actions you performed
- Elaborate the results you achieved
This easy method can make your answers more structured and coherent, making you look confident.
22. Connect your experiences to the job role.
What truly sets you apart from other applicants is all the experiences you’ve accumulated from your previous roles.
So, remember to creatively link back to your past experiences—achievements, responsibilities, and skills—when answering questions related to the job in question.
23. Use real-world examples to support your answers.
One way to impress your interviewers is by demonstrating your capabilities in action.
You can do this by topping off all (or most) answers with a real anecdote supporting your response.
For example, if you’re talking about your content strategy skillset, highlight 1-2 case studies where you executed a content strategy and produced positive ROI. Also, don’t be afraid to share numbers.
24. Understand the company's culture and values.
While researching the company, focus on identifying its core values and team culture. Employees’ LinkedIn posts can be a great place to get this insight.
When you’re aware of their values and cultural ethos, you can make a unique impression by conveying your own values. This will show them your efforts to truly understand the team.
25. Wear a professional interview outfit.
Dress to impress is another key piece of advice for everyone appearing for an in-person interview.
You want to look and feel good, so remember to wear something professional and comfortable to exude confidence.
Make sure you’re not over or under-dressed for the meeting because either can tank your chances.
26. Engage in active listening.
If you’re too nervous, it’ll show in your expressions.
That’s why you have to control those jitters and put your game face forward.
Show them you’re intently listening to each question and share thoughtful responses.
A calm demeanor often conveys active listening and focus.
27. Use face-to-face communication skills effectively.
Make sure you’re gently nodding your head while listening to each question.
You should also move your head and hands a little bit to appear lively during the conversation. But remember to not overkill with your movements and expressions.
Strike a balance to bring out the smart communicator in you.
28. Prepare a list of insightful questions for the interviewers.
You’ve read up on the company, and you’ve understood the profile — great.
But what more can you do to gain an edge over other candidates? Ask a few well-thought-out questions once the interview is done.
When the interviewers ask if you have any questions, express your curiosity by asking meaningful questions.
This is another opportunity for you to seal the deal by highlighting your attention to detail and critical thinking aptitude.
29. Reflect on feedback from past interviews or job roles.
Revisit the interviews you’ve previously given — both recent and old ones — to recollect key points of feedback.
Consciously reflect on these points to make sure you don’t commit the same mistakes again.
30. Research industry trends and relate them to the company.
Another great way to show your expertise is by bringing up industry trends in your responses. Some research before the interview can make you better equipped to reference the latest trends.
However, remember that you don’t talk about trends you’re not fully aware of.
This can backfire if you say something wrong and aren’t able to justify your stance.
31. Evaluate how the role aligns with your long-term career goals.
Highlighting your long-term goals and connecting them to the role in question can win you brownie points.
It indicates that you’re planning to take this role for the long haul and can bring stability to the team.
It can also show how committed you are to the industry since you see your long-term future in it.
32. Demonstrate adaptability and willingness to learn.
Regardless of the role you’re applying for, two qualities you need to spotlight are adaptability and willingness to learn.
These qualities tell interviewers that you’ll fit right into your new role and adjust well to the changes in your professional setup.
33. Emphasize collaboration and teamwork skills.
Being easy to work with is an in-demand skill across industries.
Companies would always prioritize candidates with a great work ethic and collaborative skills over those who lack such qualities.
So, make an extra effort to showcase your ability to collaborate and thrive as a team player.
34. Prepare a list of credible references.
Most companies perform a background check before finalizing a candidate. You can speed up this process by sharing a list of references right after the interview.
So, if you get the job, you’ll get the offer as soon as possible.
What to Do After the Interview
Giving a great interview is half the battle won.
Once you’ve made an amazing impression, you can put the icing on the cake with an email or a LinkedIn message thanking the interviewer(s) for the conversation.
Mention a few standout highlights from your chat and end with a soft CTA for hearing back from them.
It always helps to remind recruiters about your interview with a written note — in case they forget the details!
Bookmark These Interview Tips to Ace Your Interviews
There’s no magic interview formula. You never know what you'll be asked, and you’re always afraid you’ll be completely blank at some point.
But a little bit of prep before the interview goes a long way to make a stronger case for you and get you that bread. And good for you, we’ve created this list of the top interview tips to help you give your best in every conversation. Go ahead and bookmark it to say goodbye to those jitters!