A job interview can make you feel like you’re alone in the spotlight because, well, you are. But think of it as your moment to shine. If you’re fully prepared going in, and know what to expect in an interview, you can make a fantastic impression and increase your prospects for landing the job.
FlexJobs offers a ton of job interviewing tips to help applicants prepare for the challenges that can come with job interviews—a potentially nerve-racking stage of a job search. Whether you’re prepping for a face-to-face, in-person session or for an online job interview, you can lay the groundwork to set yourself up for job interview success.
Avoiding common job interview mistakes should be one of your major goals in an interview. What are some other ways to get yourself job-interview ready? We’ve come up with a few strategies to consider.
What to expect in a job interview, and ways to prepare:
Expect it to be all about you.
Set aside any shyness or reticence and prepare to “explain yourself”—in a good way. First impressions count, of course, particularly during your job interview introduction. You’ll want to keep your composure and not get rattled under a barrage of questions. It’s also helpful to school yourself on what to do when employers ask illegal questions, such as queries about your marital status, children, or health issues.
Be ready to talk about employment gaps.
It’s always a good policy to be honest about employment gaps, particularly if the gaps are lengthy. Your goal is to present any periods between jobs in the best light possible. Working to find a new job, volunteering, becoming a parent or caregiver, or traveling are some reasons that may be viewed in your favor. You’ll want to emphasize any skills you gained during employment gaps that will make you a better employee now. You should also be prepared to explain a firing in a composed, upfront, and matter-of-fact way.
Describe projects you’ve been involved in end-to-end.
One of the best proactive moves you can make in a job interview is to steer the conversation toward your achievements. If you can point proudly to a project where you were instrumental from inception to completion, consider it an achievement that you can talk about without feeling like you’re bragging. Touting your achievements (with appropriate modesty) is a strategy that may help you position yourself as the top candidate for the job.
Prepare for the salary question.
Questions about salary during a job interview can be uncomfortable. But you can prepare yourself by knowing what you’re worth based on your qualifications and your salary history, and by consulting authoritative sources. One resource to consider is PayScale, a comprehensive site that can help you determine your skills in the job marketplace. Don’t feel it’s your role to bring up specific numbers, but if you’re asked, be prepared with salary ranges, based on your research.
Want to work remotely? Be ready to talk about why you’re okay working alone.
If your goal is to find a remote job, you may be asked about your temperament and ability to work in a non-traditional work environment—say, a home office or other virtual location. Tough job interview questions for a remote job may focus not just on whether your home office is adequately equipped, but how you’ll stay motivated and whether you can troubleshoot problems on your own.
Bring questions of your own.
It’s just about inevitable: as the interview is winding up, the hiring manager may turn the tables and ask if you have questions for them. If you’ve done some research and have insightful things to ask about the job or the company, now’s the time for your big interview finish. However, when you have no questions that add to the conversation, it can be totally okay to finish with a non-question grace note, such as expressing that you’ve enjoyed the discussion and look forward to the next step in the hiring process.