How to ace that job interview: five surefire tips from managers

Interviews can be scary; follow these five tips to give yourself a fighting chance.

In 1943, American psychologist Abraham Maslow presents to the world: A Theory of Human Motivation. In this theory, Maslow proposes that humans are all driven by various conditions that need to be fulfilled in order to live a relatively comfortable life. These conditions are known as the hierarchy of needs and include basic requirements such as sustenance, shelter and social interaction. In our modern lives, these conditions are still very much prevalent today, perhaps in some more complex ways. However, while not explicitly stated in the hierarchy of needs; people today are finding that there are additional conditions that need to be fulfilled for us to have a fruitful life: Primarily, money.

Unless you’ve been blessed by good luck, good looks or perhaps a small loan of a million dollars by your beloved daddy, you as well as 99% of the rest of us need to work if we ever want to afford some degree of comfort. As such, the prospect of finding employment for many is a troubling hurdle to cross. Partly due to a variety of reasons such as a lack of experience or the anxiety that comes with any new major decision in life. For some, the biggest hurdle comes in the form of the dreaded interview. A test of character, a way to gauge experience and the most popular method of inducing fear into any starry-eyed person looking to prove themselves in the fires of social contribution.

For that reason, I have compiled a list of 5 surefire tips to help you get an edge on the interview; tips that are proven to get the information your future employer needs to put you on the path towards becoming a contributing member of society.

  • Do your research.

No commander goes into battle without a battle plan, no conductor performs a concerto without sheet music and no aspiring jobseeker should commit to an interview without understanding what a job entails or what a company represents. Interviews are primarily focused on whether a person can perform the duties required of them or not. To that extent, research the job, find out what you’ll be doing and consider how substantial that information is in the eyes of an employer. Angel Aguilar, Manager at Ate8 Noodle Bar elaborates;

“The interview is a way to gauge both interest and energy level, If i’m going to hire a guy to change tires, he damn well better know what the numbers on the tire mean. Be aware of what you’re going to be required to do, research helps us determine how aware you are of what is to be expected.”

  • Be confident.

The perception of experience is based largely on how confident a person seems; politicians, actors, actors who become politicians, they all carry with them a degree of confidence that is equal parts experience and assertiveness. In an interview, assume a position of authority and use that to assert yourself as someone who can get results. This tip can backfire however, should you apply to a position as an astronaut. All the confidence in the world won’t prepare you for the cold dark isolation of space.

“I tend to have better interviews with people who have an air of confidence, not only does it scream capable in my eyes, it also makes a person seem more reliable and i’m more inclined to work with that than with someone who is unsure of themselves.” says Nayelli Aguilar, Manager at Game World

  • Be yourself, be genuine.

While confidence is a key factor to nailing most job interviews, it should be said that not everything is black or white regarding how you choose to connect to people. At the end of the day, the person conducting an interview is as much a person as the person being interviewed. To that end, explore genuine conversation with your future employer, build rapport and attempt to comprehend that person. Use your personality to build a connection and perhaps a friendship.

  • Eye contact and body language.

In nature, there are certain things that one should avoid doing in order to avoid a confrontation. Body language such as posture, rigidity and size deter that conflict and rightly so, these are factors that are intimidating. However, in an interview, the right body language and the right amount of eye contact can present several emotions to your future employer. Maintain eye contact to exude confidence and high self-esteem, sit up straight to indicate interest and alertness.

  • Follow Up.

Time is a valuable thing and while the time spent in an interview may seem inconsequential and ultimately negligible from the perspective of the interviewee, conducting interviews is still something that is taxing on all parties involved. As a result, the crucial step of conducting interviews can feel a bit impersonal and to be frank that is a fair assumption to make. However, at the end of the day one should consider that while the job of interviewing people is only a small part of the procedures that make a business work. People should perform the extra step of following up or reaching out after the interview to remain relevant in the mind of the interviewer. Simple gestures such as following up to thank the individual for their time can prove quite fruitful and is in some cases the last bit influence needed to secure a job.

“I’ve interviewed dozens of people in my time. People get upset, but ultimately, my interest is for the company to succeed. I’ve given people chances before when it came to how they ultimately followed up. It’s a courtesy, but it’s a great thing to do.” Says Fransisco Avina, Manager at Bangarang Drum Shop.

In a perfect world, interviews would be effortless and perhaps merely a formality in the grand scheme of life. However, wishful thinking aside, life doesn’t work out quite that well and so for now, the cycle continues. Perhaps with these tips in mind maybe you too can land a position wherever you should aspire to ultimately be.