Have you ever gone into an interview wondering if you are prepared enough? I know I have. So I set out to find the best interview tips to help you in-person and in a virtual setting.
From doing some research, the 4 best tips that you can use to help ace your interview are: 1) Using the S.T.A.R. Method, 2) perfecting your elevator pitch, 3) asking questions, and 4) nailing the follow-up.
Let’s dive into these in more detail.
Perfect the S.T.A.R. Method
First up is the S.T.A.R. method. This method is a technique for responding to behavioral interview questions, i.e. “tell me about a time when you…” S.T.A.R. is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. By structuring your responses by these parameters, you can feel confident that you are not only answering a question fully but concisely. S.T.A.R. aims to help candidates answer interview questions in the way that is most helpful for interviewers to understand you and your experiences.
You want each answer that you give to be between 30 and 60 seconds. Sticking to the S.T.A.R. method will help you keep this time requirement.
S is the situation or the who, what, when, where, of the situation.
T is the task or the challenge/problem you were faced with.
A is the action. Answer, “what did you do?” and give a clear explanation.
R is the result. What was the outcome? If possible, quantity where you can.
Perfecting your use of the S.T.A.R. method takes practice and takes time. However, putting in the work well before your interview gives you the best shot at making the best impression. If you are able to, this is the perfect topic to go over with your career consultant. So make an appointment with them and get the practice going!
I wrote a more detailed post on the STAR method and how to implement it into your interview arsenal. So, check it out here.
Perfect Your Elevator Pitch
The elevator pitch is one of the best interview tips to help you perform better. It is like the resume of the mouth. It can be your saving grace when asked the infamous “tell me about yourself” question. Just as you should be able to answer questions in a concise manner using the S.T.A.R. method, your elevator pitch should be just as concise.
Read More: 6 Resume Must-Haves As A Young Professional
The elevator pitch is just as it sounds. It is a pitch of yourself lasting about 45-75 seconds in duration (how long an elevator ride usually lasts). The information in this pitch should consist of pertinent background information, what you do, what you want to achieve, and how you hope to add value.
When developing your elevator pitch remember the 3 C’s – clear, concise, consistent. Next, is all about trial and error. Try it out on your friends, mentors, and anyone really. Find your pace, what feels like you, and stay true to what you want to convey. As you practice, you will continue to improve in your delivery.
An example elevator pitch would be something like this:
“I am a recent graduate from the University of Georgia. I received a Bachelors in Business Administration, studying International Business and Economics with a minor in Marketing. I am now attending graduate school pursuing a Master of Arts in International Affairs. Now, I applied for this position because I know that I can add value as a Part-time Field Sales Representative. I am extremely passionate about technology and its effect on people, so much so that my specialization for my Master’s is in Science and Technology Policy. Plus, I really love the mission of spreading the internet simply and affordably.”
Remember you want to use your elevator pitch to stimulate the interviewer’s interest in learning more about you and to confine your introduction to the average attention span. So speak your peace, and let them follow up with questions.
Ask Questions to Show Interest
At the end of almost every interview, you will be asked if you have any questions. Always ask a few questions! Come prepared with questions that arose while you were researching the company and position. When you do this, you show the interviewer that you have done your due diligence and that you are already taking the position seriously.
Of course, you want to ask relevant questions. Another tip within a tip is to ask an open-ended question instead one of that can be answered with a yes or no.
Some good questions to ask at the end of an interview are:
- Can you elaborate some more on what my day-to-day would be like working in this position?
- How does this role contribute to the organization’s mission?
- Does this position have me working with different departments often?
- What have you seen people do in this role that worked well/not so well?
- How would my performance be reviewed?
- What is the career trajectory for someone in this position?
- What other benefits does the company offer that was not already mentioned?
- Does the company offer any type of professional development benefits?
- Can you tell me more about the team I would be working with?
- What keeps you wanting to work here?
- How would you describe the company culture and the team culture?
Follow up with a Thank You Card or Email
The follow-up is the icing on the cake. No matter if you feel you did badly or great in the interview, send a follow-up thank you email. Thank the interviewee for the interview opportunity. If possible, it would be even better to hand deliver the thank you note. People eat this up, and it shows respect and that you are willing to go the extra mile.
Below is a sample thank you email that you can send to your interviewer:
I hope all is well with you and yours. I want to thank you for taking the time to interview me yesterday afternoon. I really enjoyed our conversation, and look forward to joining the team soon.
All the best,
Keep it simple and short. You only want to remind the interviewer of who you are and show your thanks for the opportunity. Additionally, it’s best practice to send the email within 24 hours of the interview itself. I always opt for the following morning. If the interview lands on a Friday evening, however, it is customary to send the follow-up email the following Monday morning.
What are your thoughts? Share these best interview tips to help you and your friends!
Best of luck adulting!
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About The Author
Donald Williams, Jr.
Donald is an avid believer in helping young people prepare for adulthood. He spends his time working on Adulting Starts Here and helping new adults plan for the future. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and going to the beach.