Job interviews can be stressful. You are in a room with a total stranger, and you’re talking about your hopes and dreams for the future. Not only that, but you’re also talking about your past and your present. You’re talking about your strengths and weaknesses. It can be an emotional rollercoaster.

Job interviews can also be stressful because there are so many things you can’t control. For example, you can’t control the weather. You can’t control the traffic. You can’t control the other candidates. You can’t control the questions you’ll be asked.

However, there are some things you can control. You can control your appearance. You can control your body language. You can control your attitude. You can control your preparation. And you can control your answers.

In this article, we’re going to focus on the last point. We’re going to talk about how to prepare for a job interview and how to answer the most common interview questions. We’ll also talk about how to follow up after the interview.

1. Prepare for the tough questions

You can expect a lot of different questions during a job interview. But some questions are almost always asked, so you should be prepared to answer them with confidence.

Here are a few of the toughest questions that come up in interviews, and some tips on how to answer them:

• Tell me about yourself.

• Why are you the best person for this job?

• What’s your greatest weakness?

• Where do you see yourself in five years?

2. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself

The job interview is not the time to be humble, or to downplay your skills and accomplishments. You need to be able to sell yourself, and your abilities, to the interviewer.

This can be difficult for some people, especially if they are naturally shy or introverted. But it’s a skill that can be learned, and it’s an essential one if you want to ace your job interview.

Before the interview, make a list of your skills and accomplishments. Then practice talking about them in a confident, but not arrogant, way.

3. Ask questions

At the end of the interview, the interviewer will likely ask if you have any questions. Your answer should always be yes.

This is your opportunity to find out more about the company, the team you’d be working with, the day-to-day responsibilities of the role, or anything else you want to know.

In addition to the information you’ll gain, asking questions shows that you’re curious, engaged, and interested in the role. It’s a great way to demonstrate that you’re serious about the opportunity.

4. Be honest

If you are not honest in an interview, you will likely get caught. Even if you don’t, you will have to continue to lie once you start the job. That can be stressful and damaging to your reputation.

If you are asked about your weaknesses, don’t say that you don’t have any. Everyone has weaknesses, and it’s important to recognize and address them. Choose a weakness that is not critical to the job, and explain what you are doing to overcome it.

For example, if you are interviewing for a job that requires a lot of writing, you could say that you are not a strong writer, but you are taking a writing course to improve.

5. Don’t be afraid to admit your shortcomings

It’s an old cliché, but it’s true: no one is perfect. That includes you. That also includes the person interviewing you.

If you are asked a question about your weaknesses, be honest. Don’t try to turn a negative into a positive. That’s a common tactic, but it’s not an effective one.

Instead, think about a real shortcoming you have and be honest about it. Then, talk about what you’re doing to improve on that. That’s a much more effective way to answer the question.

It shows that you’re self-aware and that you’re committed to self-improvement. That’s a powerful combination.

6. Be prepared to discuss your resume

This is probably the most important part of the interview, so be sure to do your homework. Know your resume inside and out. Be prepared to discuss any aspect of your resume, including your educational background, work experience, skills, and accomplishments. You should also be able to explain any gaps in your work history, as well as your reason for leaving your most recent job.

To prepare for this part of the interview, take the following steps:

• Review your resume and make sure you can answer any questions about the information on it.

• Prepare a brief summary of your work history and be ready to discuss your most recent job in detail.

• Make a list of your top skills and abilities, and be prepared to give examples of how you have used those skills to achieve results.

• Prepare a brief explanation of any gaps in your work history, as well as your reason for leaving your most recent job.

• Think about how you would like to present yourself and your qualifications to the interviewer, and be prepared to do so in a clear, concise, and professional manner.

7. Use the right body language

Body language is a big deal in job interviews. In fact, some experts say that the first 10 seconds of an interview are the most important. That’s when you make that all-important first impression, and you can’t do that with words. It’s all about body language.

Here are some tips for using the right body language in your interview:

• Shake hands firmly. A good handshake is an important part of making a good first impression. You want to use a firm handshake, but not so firm that you crush the interviewer’s hand. And, of course, you want to make eye contact while you’re shaking hands.

• Make eye contact. Eye contact is another important part of making a good first impression. You want to make eye contact with the interviewer as soon as you meet them, and you want to maintain eye contact throughout the interview.

• Sit up straight. Sitting up straight is a sign of confidence, and that’s something you definitely want to convey in your interview.

• Use open body language. Open body language is body language that makes you look friendly and approachable. This includes things like smiling, keeping your arms and legs uncrossed, and leaning slightly forward.

• Avoid nervous habits. Everyone has nervous habits, but you want to avoid them as much as possible in your interview. This includes things like fidgeting, playing with your hair, and biting your nails.

8. Be sure to follow up

The interview process doesn’t end when you walk out the door. In fact, a well-timed follow-up can give you a leg up on the competition. A follow-up can be in the form of a thank you note or a thank you email. If you’re not sure what to say, keep it simple and thank the interviewer for their time and reiterate your interest in the position and the company. If you’re emailing, you can also use it as an opportunity to attach any work samples you may have discussed.

Conclusion

In a competitive job market, you need to stand out to be noticed. The Winning Edge will help you improve your resume, cover letter, and interview skills to increase your chances of landing your dream job.

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