How to Ace a Job Interview: During the Interview

You arrive at the interview well-prepared. You painstakingly researched the company, rehearsed your answers to possible questions, and contacted professionals for additional tips on how to outperform other applicants. Do these activities guarantee that you will land the job?

Not necessarily. You may have equipped yourself for the battle, but victory depends on your actual performance. Some applicants diligently prepare before the interview but as soon as it begins, they become mentally blocked and end up forgetting everything they practiced. This deal breaker is the last thing you want to happen during your interview so keep the following guidelines in mind:

Focus on the Question

The negative side of over-rehearsing answers is the possibility of disregarding the main point of the question and verbalizing what you have memorized. Never commit this mistake as your answer will seem illogical. The interviewer will also assume that it's difficult for you to understand simple questions, follow work instructions, and carry a conversation. Remember that nailing down the answer should be your main goal; don't stray from the main point and be natural.

Take a Moment to Answer the Question

If you're confronted with a difficult question, it's perfectly acceptable to stop for a few seconds in order to collect your thoughts. The interviewers expect you to think about the questions before you provide an answer. If you are not sure of what to say, answer in the best way you can. Don't lose your composure or confidence; otherwise, it will affect your performance during the remainder of the interview. You can tell the interviewers that you haven't had a chance to master the topic yet, but are interested in learning the details if required for the position.

Speak with Your Body

Peter Drucker once said that the most important thing about communication is hearing what isn't said. Apparently, interviewers are aware of this and will interpret your nonverbal messages. If you are you fidgeting, tapping the table with your fingers, and sitting with slouched shoulders, the interviewer will take it to mean you lack confidence. Are your arms or feet crossed during the interview? Perhaps you're not that open-minded. Is your tone firm? Do your hand gestures make you more convincing or do they distract your listener? These are just a few of the non-verbal related questions you need to consider.

Sweat the Small Stuff

To handle stress, people advise not to sweat the small stuff. During an interview, however, things you may regard as trivial may have an impact on your performance. Below are some tips to keep in mind.

Chewing gum

Chewing gum to release stress is inexcusable. It will distract the interviewer's attention away from what you are saying.

Phone calls

Turn your phone off or put it on silent mode. Receiving a call in the middle of the interview interferes with the flow.

Lack of eye contact

Make eye contact. Looking around the room while listening to or answering questions is a sign of insincerity or disinterest.

Accessories and scent

Don't wear too many accessories or too much cologne. Stay conservative in your choice of clothing.


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