When you’re job-hunting, making room to practice for an interview can easily fall by the wayside. We’re already busy updating our resumes and checking them not once or twice, but what seems like a gazillion times, only to still have a friend point out an embarrassing typo. (We’ve all been there!) Add in the countless hours we spend tweaking our cover letters so we don’t sound like robotic bores or desperate, “Choose meee!” applicants, and it’s no wonder preparing for an interview and seeking out job interview tips falls last on our list of priorities.
And while there’s plenty of advice on the internet for how to stand out as an applicant, it can be hard to get a handle on it all. That’s because, as Kathryn Minshew, CEO of career site The Muse, previously told Girlboss, “Career advice changes based on things like your experience level, industry, dynamics of your office culture, and your individual values. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. And job advice changes all the time, especially with technology and social media in the picture.”
You know what hasn’t changed so much? Knowing how to make a good impression when you finally do score that interview. Here are some of our favorite job interview tips that every Girlboss tackles before they meet a hiring manager:
They’re ready for any and all interview formats
Before the actual interview, ask for details on everything from the format to the name and role of the person who will be asking the questions. Succinct, confident answers will give you a major advantage when you do a phone interview. Things like clearing your environment of distractions and having a stable internet connection can make for a smooth video conference interview with your future boss. If you’ve got a group interview for a managerial role, you’ll have a strategy on lock.
Read more about how to ace a group interview.
They focus on what they can do for the company
A Girlboss doesn’t dwell on the past. They look at their work history as a treasure trove of good learnings while focusing on the new company’s future. Remember, if you’ve made it to the interview stage, they’ve already reviewed your experience and work history. Hiring managers want to know what you can do for them now, not what you did for your boss three years ago. Ask about what challenges the company faces. Then detail how you’d tackle the problem in your first few months on the job by referring to past examples.
Read more about how to keep your focus on the future.
They know how to answer, “Why did you leave your last job?”
They say there’s no time to look for a job like when you already have a job. If that’s true, then interviewing while you’re already gainfully employed will no doubt mean that you’re asked about why you want to switch companies or industries. Or perhaps you quit a job after only a few short months and the interviewer wants to know why. Don’t worry, just keep your answer positive and the focus on the current role.
Read more about how to better answer why you left your job.
They have a good list of questions to ask
This is an easy thing to forget, but it’s always helpful to have both general and specific questions about the role you’re interviewing for and the company you’re hoping to join. “The candidates that can pull something that they genuinely find interesting out of a recent news article or something going on at the company are always impressive,” Nina de Keczer, senior talent advisor at Mozilla, previously told Girlboss. Also think about questions like, “What are some common attributes of people who succeed in your organization?”
Read more questions you can ask at the end of the interview.
They’re ready to bridge gaps in their skillset
If you feel comfortable speaking about your best attributes, be sure to prepare for questions about gaps in your resume or skillset. Finding a candidate who satisfies every single attribute and skill in a job posting is a rarity. Hiring managers know this. But that doesn’t mean they won’t ask about why they should pick you over the next candidate who might have more experience in another field. Be ready with your answers.
For some handy skills checklists, read excerpts from the Girlboss Workbook.
They’ve practiced interviewing with someone difficult
Maybe you’ve already practiced interviewing with your trusted bestie who knows you inside and out. While that’s great for a test run, you’re better off practicing in the harshest interview-like setting. Not every interviewer is friendly and you can easily be thrown off. Do yourself a favor and prepare ahead of time so you can remain unfazed in the moment.
Read more about how you can find the right person to practice with.