Job Interview Tips and Examples

Master your next job interview using these 20+ expert job interview tips, covering everything from interview prep to answering key questions.

Ho Lin Profile
By Ho Lin 5 minute read

Our customers have been hired by:*Foot Note

Job Interviews

It is often said that the job interview process can be scarier than the process of writing a professional cover letter and resume. During your job interviews, you need to answer the questions in the best way possible to make yourself stand out from the competition and be remembered for the right reasons. ResumeHelp can provide you with everything you need to know about making a great impression in a job interview.

On this page, you will discover:

  • Expert advice on preparing for an interview
  • Key tips on how to ace the interview
  • Insights on the most important interview questions
Build my resume

What happens in a job interview?

A job interview gives employers a chance to dig into your background and uncover any experiences and skills that are a good fit for the specific job you’re applying to. Not only are they usually trying to make sure you’re being truthful about everything on your resume, but they’re also seeing how you put your skills into play and what you’re like as a person.

9 tips for preparing for job interviews

Preparation and practice is key for a job interview, but where do you start? Here are some tips to help you get started on the preparation stage so your confidence will outshine your nervousness.

1. Research the company and position

Learning as much as you can about the company’s goals, challenges and culture will better prepare you to highlight skills and experiences from your own background that can address what the company needs and open the door for you to ask questions about the job and the company. Check the company’s website, reread the job description and get a feel for the company’s mission. You can also follow the company’s social media accounts.

2. Get all your information ready

Prior to job interviews, your prospective employer will have already received your application, resume and other necessary documents. However, it’s always a good idea to bring an extra copy to the interview. Put together a folder of your work history, copies of your diploma and degrees if needed, and proof of any relevant awards or achievements. If your employer has specific document requirements, they will let you know before the interview. You can also include a list of questions you may want to ask or talking points you want to address during the interview. It’s also a good idea to gather a list of references. ResumeHelp offers guidance on organizing resume references and outlines the essential information usually required for references.

3. Prepare for the most common questions

Here are 10 of the most common job interview questions:

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Tell me about a challenge or conflict you faced at work and how you dealt with it.
  3. What are your greatest strengths? What motivates you?
  4. How did you hear about this job?
  5. What are your greatest weaknesses?
  6. Tell me about an experience when you demonstrated leadership skills.
  7. Why are you leaving your current job?
  8. Why should I hire you? Why do you want this job?
  9. Where do you see yourself in five years?
  10. Is there anything else you want to ask us?

ResumeHelp offers tips for job interviews to help you ace these questions.

4. Get comfortable talking about yourself

It’s important that you’re able to talk about yourself and your skills. You should know what your best skills are, what career paths you’re hoping to pursue and have thoughts ready on how you can contribute to the potential employer. Being able to talk about your strengths will make your interview answers much smoother.

5. Map out your interview day

If you have never been to the interview location, look it up on a map to make sure you know where it is. Getting lost is not a compelling excuse for being late to job interviews, so take the time to know the route before you go. If it’s very complicated or in an area you have never traveled, consider going there before the day to check the route in person. This trip can also tell you if there is construction or another delay that might slow you down.

When preparing for a telephone interview, add the interviewer’s number to your contacts.
Confirm the details as far in advance of the scheduled time as possible. Remove distractions from the area you intend to be in during the interview, including sources of background noise that could interfere with communication. Most importantly, charge your cell phone ahead of time.

6. Dress for success

Proper attire is an important part of a successful interview. Since every job type requires a different dress code, how you dress needs to reflect the type of job you are interviewing for. However, in almost every case, you should dress your best in slacks or a skirt and a button up shirt, or a complete suit for more formal interviews. Ensure that your outfit is clean, pressed and professional, and you’re sure to make a strong first impression. To make a positive impression, dress in neutral colors, avoid flashy jewelry and also avoid perfume and cologne.

ResumeHelp offers many more tips on how to dress for a job interview.

7. Rehearse your answers

If you’re nervous about a job interview, practice what you want to say in front of the mirror. Focus on making eye contact with your mirror image and remember to smile. It can help to be dressed in your interview clothes while you practice. Rehearsing will allow you to catch any bad habits such as tapping your fingers or shuffling your feet. To make the best possible impression at your interview, make sure that your posture is good and your delivery is clean. Ask a friend or family member to help you perform a mock interview or record your answers to typical and unique interview questions. If you have some of the answers in your mind, you will cut down on repeatedly saying, “Umm” at the start of each answer. Listen to your answers and the tone of your voice. Sound optimistic and excited versus monotone, boring and uninterested.

8. Prepare yourself for what the interviewer is looking for

Typically, an interviewer is looking for three elements when interviewing a potential candidate.

  1. The interviewer wants to make sure you’ll work well with the company culture so make sure you know what the company culture is all about, and think about how you’ll fit in in this new job. Check to see what the dress code is and dress for your interview accordingly.
  2. Interviewers also want to know that you understand the company. Be prepared to answer questions about specifics, like the company’s mission or what the company is most well known for in the industry.
  3. Lastly, the interviewer wants to know you’ll excel in your position long term so the company doesn’t have to fill the position again anytime soon. Remember to showcase that you want to stay and grow with this company and that you have the skills and experience necessary to benefit the company in both the short term and the long term.

9. Come up with a list of questions for the interviewer

Asking the interviewer meaningful questions will make you stand out among other job candidates. That’s why it’s important to create a list of questions to ask the interviewer prior to the job interview. This will also help you stay focused while answering questions and not worrying about what to ask when it’s your turn to ask questions. The right questions can show you did your homework ahead of time and that you’re interested, enthusiastic and prepared. We provide job seekers with a complete list of interview questions to ask the interviewer.

Build my resume

12 tips for acing the job interview

Here are some expert tips to help you prepare for a job interview.

1. Arrive early and prepared

To make the best possible initial impression, arrive at your interview 30 minutes early. Upon arrival, make sure you have a pleasant and professional attitude. Also, be sure that you have copies of your resume and references if requested by the interviewer. You should also bring a blank pad of paper and a pen to take notes. While you are waiting, spend a bit of time practicing how to answer interview questions and you’ll be better prepared to impress your potential employer. Bring notes to the interview that are compact and easy to refer to while you are answering questions. Throughout the job interview, be as helpful as you can and you will be on your way to selling yourself to the interviewer.

2. Stay positive and confident

The best way to convey a positive image is to smile. Be polite to everyone you encounter prior to the interview. Shake hands and look each person in the eye with a smile. As the interview proceeds, remain positive and keep your attitude upbeat to show your interviewer that you can remain calm and persevere in any situation. Even experienced job seekers feel nerves prior to and during a job interview. It’s only natural. However, no matter how anxious you feel, show confidence. The interview is a simple conversation between two people. Showing positivity also means to avoid any negative remarks about past employers.

Prior to job interviews, practice a few visualization techniques to boost confidence. Visualize the interview process and the best scenario of how you want it to go. Do you want to appear confident and full of outstanding and impressive answers? Visualize that. With a positive frame of mind, you will leave a lasting impression and increase your chances of getting invited back for another interview.

3. Watch your body language

No hiring manager will even consider a job candidate who fails to show appropriate body language. Your posture in your chair and the way you use your hands in the interview are important. Work on your posture and mannerisms by watching yourself in the mirror as you practice for your interview. Then, when you are seated at the interview, stay alert to your body language. Are you slumped in the chair? Are you fidgety? Are you making eye contact with the interviewer? Your body language has a direct affect on being recognized as confident during the interview. Poor body language may show you as uninterested in the position you are applying for.

4. Give concise answers

When an interviewer asks you a question, simply give the answer that is required. An interviewer does not appreciate when an interviewee rambles through every interview question. Instead, just answer and if more information is needed, follow the lead of the interviewer. This is especially important if you’re having a phone interview. A yes or no question demands a yes or no answer.

The best way to be prepared for a job interview is to rehearse. Memorized answers should be one or two sentences. This will help you give concise and focused answers.

5. Use the STAR method

No matter how prepared you are for a job interview, there’s always a question that can catch you off-guard. The STAR method can help you to answer tricky questions. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. Using this strategy, you bring up a specific situation, talk about the task you needed to perform, go over the action you took and showcase the result you ended up with. It’s a great way to show off your skills and how you made a positive impact in previous jobs.

6. Give details about your skills and accomplishments

Some interview questions lead you into explaining the highlights of your work experience. Your answers will not only tell the hiring manager if you are qualified to perform the job role successfully but it also gives you an opportunity to stand out among the competition. Your work examples will demonstrate your skills and accomplishments rather than the mundane tasks of your job performance. Other questions will allow your answers to highlight your skill set. In your answer, mention the skill by demonstrating how you developed it through work experience and how it can help you succeed in this new position. Consider mentioning a work achievement you reached or how you solved a specific company problem.

Example:

Our creative department had more than 500 images to use in our online advertising and printed brochures. With my organization skills, I created a digital asset management database, organizing the images in 10 major categories and 50 minor categories. The creative director and team members can now quickly and easily access the images.

7. Show you understand the job and company culture

Here’s where your research pays off. Find ways to relate your experience and your goals with the job and company, and ask the right questions about the company’s culture. Employers want to hire job candidates who align with the company’s culture and mission. Prepare answers to interview questions pertaining to how you would fit in at the company. Your thoughtful answers can help the interviewer understand a glimpse into your personality, work ethic and values.

Questions may include:

  • Which of our company values resonates most with you?
  • How do you handle stress?
  • What type of environment do you work best in?
  • Do you prefer performance feedback at informal meetings or formal reviews?
  • Do you prefer to work alone or on a team?

8. Know how to handle behavioral questions

Behavioral questions are the type of questions that show what type of employee you will be on a daily basis. How will you react to stressful situations? How will you work in a team environment? Expect the hiring manager to ask questions about your past behavior in specific work situations. Provide examples of times when you used behavioral skills like decision-making, adaptability and teamwork, to deal with a stressful or challenging situation. Prepare some follow-up questions to ask the interviewer, and know what questions may be off-limits for an interviewer to ask.

Here are a few behavioral questions to consider:

  • Can you describe a situation in which you had to step up and demonstrate leadership?
  • Provide an example of a time you had a conflict with a coworker, and how you handled it?
  • Tell us about a time when you made a mistake. What did you do to correct it?
  • What’s your approach to handling stress at work?

Example:

How do you handle a challenge? Give an example.

As communications specialist for the college, the college was put on lockdown due to police activity in the area. I immediately changed the outdoor and indoor digital signage to say “lockdown” to urgently notify the faculty, students and staff of the situation. I also wrote social media posts and sent email and text alerts. While we were unaware of the exact law enforcement issue, I had to remain calm and instruct the team to put out the necessary emergency information. The situation ended safely but it was an eye-opening experience.

ResumeHelp can provide lots more tips and advice on behavioral interview questions.

9. Be honest

While a job seeker attempts to answer each job interview question in full, there are always a few questions that are challenging to answer. Along with keeping your answers brief, you should admit when you do not know the answer to a question. An interviewer will appreciate your honesty instead of rambling on with an answer you quickly make up. You can also let the interviewer know that you would love a chance to learn the answer under the direction of the company. And it should be noted: exaggerating or lying about your previous achievements or skills can end up costing you down the road, so be truthful about what you can do.

10. Stay professional

An important part of trying to sell yourself to an interviewer is to remain positive and professional throughout the job interview. This begins the moment you are greeted by the receptionist until you shake hands with the interviewer at the end of the interview. Be sure to appear optimistic, pleasant, courteous and professional. Having a smile on your face shows that you are confident and excited about the possibility of getting hired by the company. Part of staying professional is to keep your feelings in check. This includes not bashing any past employers when describing previous work experience.

11. Finish strong

When the interview is about to be completed, the interviewer typically asks, “Is there anything else you want to ask us?” Asking questions is your best opportunity to finish the interview strong. Prior to the interview, research the employer and jot down some questions about the company and job. Word those questions to reinforce your interest in the position and say you’re excited to hear about next steps in the interview process.

12. Follow up

Be sure to thank your interviewers for their time. This includes sending a follow-up thank you to each person in attendance, through email, a hand-written note or both. These small efforts are not only appreciated and remembered, but it really helps to make you stand out among the competition.

In your subject line of the follow-up email, include the name of the position you’re applying for, and say “thank you for meeting with me.” Your salutation should use the interviewer’s name. If it was a panel interview, it’s best to address each interviewer individually. The wording of your follow-up will show appreciation for the time and consideration they gave you. Try to refer to specifics from the interview, and provide additional details or ask questions if needed. This is also a chance to reiterate your skills and strengths. If you forgot to mention something in your resume, cover letter or interview, the follow-up email is a perfect time to bring it up.

If you hear nothing within two weeks of your interview, don’t hesitate to make a follow-up phone call. ResumeHelp offers more post-interview tips and advice on how to follow up after a job interview.

Bonus tips: handling recruiter interviews

Working with a recruiter gives you an advantage over other job candidates. This is because the recruiter wants to help you land the job with a prospective employer as much as you do. A recruiter can pass your resume and cover letter along to employers thereby providing you with multiple opportunities to be considered for many job roles until you are employed.

Every recruiter will want to do an interview to get a better idea about your skills and qualifications. Treat an interview with a recruiter like you would any other job interview because the recruiter is your key to moving along in the job search process.

Here are some preparation tips:

  • Be prepared for a wide range of recruiter questions.
  • Be honest and direct with your answers.
  • Prepare as you would for an employer interview.
  • Practice extensively in front of a mirror.
  • For in-person recruiter interviews, map the route to the interview location the day before.
  • For a telephone or virtual interview, select a quiet location and test your wi-fi connection.

More job interview questions and prep tips

ResumeHelp has tons of resources to help you answer all kinds of interview questions, covering every possible topic.

Job interviews: General tips? – Everything you need to know to feel confident and make a good impression at a job interview.

How to prep for an interview – With the right preparation, you can succeed in a job interview and land the job.

Top questions to ask an interviewer – Learn 16 key questions to ask during a job interview and land your dream job.

Answering the question “Why should we hire you? – Get tips and answer samples to help you answer this question in the most impressive way possible.

How to describe yourself in a job interview – Discover the best ways to approach this question and show the interviewer that you are the candidate they are looking for.

How to deliver a strong “elevator pitch – Learn how to verbally word a brief introduction that will quickly and immediately captivate the hiring manager’s attention.

Situational interview questions – Be prepared to answer this type of question with our basic job interview questions and answers sample handling specific scenarios presented during a work shift.

How to answer “Why do you want to work here? – Learn the importance of showing that your skill set, knowledge about the company and industry, and your core values align with the company’s mission.

Interview questions for managers – Find out the top interview questions you need to answer to land a manager job.

Behavioral interview questions – Get helpful samples of behavioral questions you may be asked at your next job interview.

Phone interview tips – Phone interviews are very popular these days so get prepared to ace yours and keep the interview process moving forward.

How to follow up after a job interview – Learn expert post-job interview tips to say “thank you” and make a memorable impression on the interviewer.

Follow-up email after a job interview – Discover why a follow-up email can increase a job seeker’s chances of landing a job.

Build my resume

FAQ: Job Interviews

Have questions? We’re here to help.

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Tell me about a challenge or conflict you faced at work and how you dealt with it.
  3. What are your greatest strengths? What motivates you?
  4. How did you hear about this job?
  5. What are your greatest weaknesses?
  6. Tell me about an experience when you demonstrated leadership skills.
  7. Why are you leaving your current job?
  8. Why should I hire you? Why do you want this job?
  9. Where do you see yourself in five years?
  10. Is there anything else you want to ask us?

For more interview tips, ResumeHelp is your one source for everything related to interview preparation. Check out our full list of interview questions and interview answers.

  1. Prior to the interview, gather the necessary information including an extra copy of your resume and other necessary documents.
  2. Study the most often asked interview questions and contemplate answers to those questions.
  3. Select an appropriate, professional, clean and neat outfit to wear for the interview.
  4. Rehearse in the mirror to practice making eye contact, smiling and not slouching.
  5. Be mentally prepared to ace the interview by using visualization techniques to help you visualize how you want the interview to go.

The length for your answers to interview questions depends on the type of question. Answers to basic questions could be as quick as one minute. Answers for behavioral questions may take you up to 4 minutes to explain your answer thoughtfully. When answering questions, consider using the STAR method:

  • Situation: Set the scene with details
  • Task: Describe your role in the situation
  • Action: Explain what steps you took
  • Result: Share the outcomes your actions

After your interview, it’s always a good idea to follow up with the interviewer. Send correspondence immediately to thank each interviewer for their time. While sending a quick email is the easiest, you may still send a handwritten note via standard mail. ResumeHelp can provide you with sample post interview follow-up emails and letters.

The number of interviews depends on the company you are interviewing with and the urgency to hire. Typically, a company will have an HR representative reach out to you for initial information. Then, a formal first interview will be scheduled. If you impress the HR interviewer, you would then be scheduled for an interview with the team leader or leaders. ResumeHelp can give you tips on how to prepare for a second job interview.

Much of the time, you’ll do one interview, and then the hiring manager will decide who fits best into the job. Sometimes you may need to go through two rounds of interviews. It’s rare to have more than two rounds of interviews but your best bet is always to ask the hiring manager what to expect after the first interview.

Video interviews are generally the same as in-person interviews, with the extra challenge of making sure you have a solid Internet connection and look polished in-camera. In phone interviews you don’t have to worry about things like body language. However, all the questions and answers will typically be the same. Visit our phone interview tips page for more advice on how to handle phone job interviews.

There are some questions that are illegal for a hiring manager to ask you, such as age, sexual preference or religion. f a manager asks one of these questions, it’s best to dodge the question and decide later whether it’s a red flag or if it seemed to be asked out of innocent ignorance rather than malice. Don’t forget, you’re not just getting interviewed by an employer — this is your chance to interview an employer too and determine if they’re the right fit for you.

Couldn't find the answer you're looking for?

You can always contact us.

Ho Lin Profile
WRITTEN BY Ho Lin

Ho Lin is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and editor with two decades of experience in content strategy, creation, and development. He holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University and his background includes experience aiding military veterans as they transition to civilian careers.

right resume

Build a resume in minutes with ResumeHelp