How To Ace Your Next Interview (Tips And Sample Answers)

Updated 30 September 2022

The interview is a key stage of the hiring process for a role. To increase your chances of getting hired, it is important to leave a good impression on the interviewer during this crucial interaction. Knowing the effective interview preparation techniques allows you to demonstrate your suitability for the role and make a favourable impression. In this article, we discuss how to ace your next interview and share sample answers to common job interview questions and explain why interviewers ask them.

How To Ace Your Next Interview

Knowing how to ace your next interview can increase the chances of having a successful job interview. Consider the topic you are likely to discuss, ways to position yourself as a great applicant and opportunities to create a favourable impression on the interviewer. Here are eight tips to consider when you prepare to ace a job interview:

1. Research the potential employer

Research the organisation so that you are familiar with its vision and mission. Discover the company's history, recent announcements, executive officers, values and culture by exploring its website and social media pages. Search for recent news about the organisation to learn about its most recent accomplishments and future objectives.

Your research can help you contextualise your interview answers. With an understanding of the organisation, you can connect your background, qualifications and accomplishments to the organisation and the role.

Read more: Essential Research Skills (With Benefits And How To Improve)

2. Review the job description

Examine the job description to express your suitability for the job's functions and responsibilities during the interview. Focus on keywords such as required skills, expertise, experience and job responsibilities. Consider how your qualifications and career objectives match with the job description so that you can provide the interviewer with pertinent examples.

3. Practise answers to common interview questions

Even while your interview may cover various company- or position-specific subjects, the vast majority of interviews consist of at least a few common questions. Review a list of the most common interview questions and practise answering them to prepare. Concentrate your answers on the organisation, position and pertinent qualifications and objectives.

Read more: 8 Common Personality Interview Questions And Answers

4. Utilise the STAR method in your answers

During job interviews, interviewers often ask behavioural questions to see how you respond to common working scenarios. Learn and apply the STAR approach, which involves discussing the situation, task, action and result to prepare for these questions. To employ this strategy, begin by describing the situation's context before detailing your position or responsibility in these conditions. Next, state the steps you took to address the problem and the outcome of your action.

Related: How To Prepare For A Walk-In-Interview (Plus 12 Tips)

5. Dress appropriately for the interview

To make a favourable impression on the interviewer, dress smartly for your interview. Consider researching the dress code on the company's website or social media pages and utilise that information to determine what to wear. In most instances, business casual wear, such as pants and a professional shirt or a formal business suit, is the most appropriate interview attire.

Read more: What To Wear: The Best Job Interview Attire

6. Consider your questions in advance

Although interviewers typically ask more questions than the candidate does, many interviewers expect candidates to demonstrate their interest in the position and company by asking pertinent questions. Consider preparing such questions in advance by reflecting on the information you seek, including business culture, organisational goals and professional growth and promotion chances. Asking relevant questions and help you demonstrate your deep interest in the role to which you have applied.

7. Carry your documents

Carry a few copies of your most recent resume for multiple interviewers and one for use as a reference. Consider bringing a hard copy of your cover letter if you provided one along with your job application. An interviewer may request supporting documents for the accomplishments mentioned on your resume. Bring a copy of your degree and any relevant certifications.

Related: How To Include Accomplishments On Your Resume

8. Follow up with the interviewer

After the interview, you can take additional steps to increase your likelihood of being hired. Try sending the interviewer a thank-you email within a day of the interview. Reiterate your interest in the role and your appreciation for the interview in the email. If you do not receive a response within a week of the closing date of the job advertisement, try sending a second follow-up email to convey your continued enthusiasm for the position and desire to proceed with the recruiting process.

Read more: How To Write A Follow-Up Email After An Interview With Tips

Common Job Interview Questions To Prepare To Ace Your Interview

Prepare your answers to common interview questions in advance to ace your interview. Following are five questions the interviewer may ask you during a job interview, along with a sample answer:

1. Tell us about yourself.

This is a common question interviewers may ask to learn about a candidate's background. When responding, begin by stating your current position before briefly describing how you attained it. This strategy enables you to establish your career history and highlight the most significant achievements.

Sample answer: 'I am currently a personal trainer with 15 clients. I have obtained my bachelor's degree in yoga. My three years as a fitness instructor allowed me to specialise in this fast-growing field. As I maintain a full client list, I have also completed an online sales course. As a health and fitness fanatic, I am very self-motivated and determined to share my enthusiasm for health and wellness with my clients.'

Related: 'Who Is Your Role Model?' (Interview Question With Answers)

2. What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?

Employers often enquire about your strengths and weaknesses to better understand the areas in which you excel and where you require development. Mention your biggest technical and soft talents in your response. While describing your weaknesses, select an issue you have already taken steps to improve. This method enables you to add a positive component to a potentially negative question.

Sample answer: 'I have mastered technical abilities such as graphic design and user experience after eight years of working on website designing. Combined with my ability to solve problems and think logically, these talents enable me to work with diverse clients without conflict. During my first year working in web design, I noticed I was not clearly communicating with clients, resulting in more revision requests and client dissatisfaction. I researched approaches for enhancing written and verbal communication while drafting a proposal and contract, which has helped me reduce revision requests by 80%.'

Related: 'What Makes You Uncomfortable?' (Interview Question)

3. Why do you want to work in this position?

This question assesses how well you comprehend the role and the organisation. When asked this question, you have the chance to demonstrate how well you have researched the organisation and the position. Try mentioning the company's mission or achievements and the position's unique opportunities that match your career goals in your response.

Sample answer: 'The position aligns perfectly with my experience and ambitions for the future. After three years as a retail sales supervisor, I am suitably qualified to advance to a managerial role in the area. I am passionate about the management and financial skills I can develop through this role and the opportunity to work for a successful firm that routinely aims to exceed its quarterly sales goals by at least 10%.'

Related: How To Be Confident In An Interview In 16 Easy Steps

4. Why are you leaving your current job?

Employers typically want to know why you intend to leave your current position to pursue a new one. Try to avoid discussing anything unfavourable about your current work or company in your response. Focus on positive qualities, such as pursuing professional development or seeking a bigger challenge.

Sample answer: 'I have spent eight years in my present company improving my sales talents and I am now prepared to move into a management role. I aim to find a position in a new company where I can utilise my current talents while developing and supervising an effective sales team.'

Related: 5 Common Tricky Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

5. Why should we hire you?

This question aims to elicit an explanation of why you are the best candidate for the position. In your response, emphasis your talents, expertise and accomplishments. You can also describe how your goals align with those of the organisation.

Sample answer: 'I am fascinated by creative marketing techniques and have made initiatives to improve my abilities and achieve ever-higher goals throughout my career. During my 12 years in the industry, I have progressed from a marketing assistant to a marketing manager. In addition, my career goals connect closely with the company's vision to practise ethical marketing for clients while giving back to the marketer's community.'

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