Tips To a Successful Interview – #1 (Tips 1-3)

IKEA Interview

This is the first installment of a series of posts that will relate to tips for successful interviewing. Some posts may expand upon a previous tip covered. And I’ll try my best not to be repetitive, but some tips are so important they often need to be reiterated over and over. Many of these you will have heard before, but I hope that you find them informative and helpful nonetheless.

Interviewing Tip No. 1 – It’s Just a Conversation.

This is one of the most important aspects to remember about an interview. It’s just a conversation. Of course, it’s a conversation with a potential employer so don’t get too comfortable and try and be “buddy-buddy.” But you should try and make the interview flow smoothly and comfortably without many awkward silences. Ideally, you’d eliminate all awkward silences, but in most interviews they’re bound to happen when each party thinks the other is about to start or is still talking.

So how do you make it more like a conversation? Feel out your interviewer and see how formal he/she wants the interview to be. If they seem to be very formal and wanting to stick to conversation related to the position’s responsibilities, you should follow suit. Keep your answers related to the position. If they seem to be ok with talking about other things, and the opportunity presents itself, don’t feel bad to delve into other subjects and areas in your personal life. Just remember to not get too personal or comfortable. Many interviewers will test you this way, wondering if you’re going to recognize where that imaginary line is.

Interviewing Tip No. 2 – Always Ask Questions At The End

At the end of just about every interview you will ever go on, the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions for them. ALWAYS have questions. I can’t stress this enough. In preparing, you should be doing research on the company. Write down a list of questions related to the position, the interviewer (if you know who it’s going to be, if not come up with some general questions), and the company. In future posts, I’ll give examples of great questions to ask.

In all honesty, you should never find yourself at the end of the interview struggling to come up with questions. If you have to, take notes during the interview and write down anything that pops into the question that you can ask about. As a last resort, if you really have NO questions, ask something you know about anyway that you found out about while researching (so long as it wasn’t covered in the interview, you don’t want them to think you weren’t paying attention).

Interviewing Tip No. 3 – Things Not To Talk About

There are several things you should not talk about with an interviewer. This relates highly to Tip #1. Some things you should never talk about with an interviewer include: politics, religion, drugs, marijuana, alcohol, sex, bars, clubs, the attractiveness of a member of the opposite/same sex, pets, and anything else that might be deemed “controversial” or negative. If the interviewer happens to mention something that you disagree with (say he makes a joke about Republicans, and you happen to be one), just let it go. Bite your lip. Yes, it might irritate you to no end, but what’s important is leaving the interviewer with a good impression of you, not the other way around. You can hate the interviewer by the end of it, but make sure they like you!

If the interviewer ever asks you about a topic and you are uncomfortable talking about it, say so. Don’t be afraid that they’ll look down negatively on you for it. In most cases, they’ll actually respect you for having the courage to speak your mind and not talk about something that makes you uncomfortable.


About Jason Willis
Jason graduated from the University of Central Florida in the fall of 2011 with a B.S.B.A. in Finance. He currently works at The Newport Group as an Investment Analyst on the Asset & Liability Management Team working with Non Qualified Deferred Compensation Plans. In his spare time he continues to give back to AKPsi by assisting with the CFAC and NX Chapter at UCF. He also currently operates his own blog entitled Professional Hedging, and is also preparing to acquire his Series 7 and 66 Certifications.

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