How to Ace the Interview

Skylar Wooden and Katie Butler

April 23, 2017

If you’re at this part of the process, you have submitted a fantastic resume and follow-up email. Congrats! You landed the interview. A popular reaction to this is excitement that slips into panic; now is not the time for panic.

Beware of thoughts like these:

I am not qualified for this job.
I have somehow fooled this person into thinking I am capable.
They are going to realize halfway through this interview that I am a fraud.

It is not time to adapt toxic, self-deprecating thoughts. It’s time to kick ass. But, where to start?

Also see: Review of Lean In


1. Adopt a Mantra

Create a mantra and repeat it yourself.

“I am confident and calm.”

“This interview will go well.”

“I breathe in confidence and breathe out all fear.”

The more you visualize the interview going well, the less apprehensive you will be about preparing. Whether you believe you can do it or not, you’re right.

Also see Interview Tips from an Introvert

2. Practice, Practice, Practice

Be aware of what you specifically want to mention (e.g. your volunteering, etc.). Practice talking to yourself or a friend about the highlights you want your interviewer to notice.

While all interviews will be different, there are a few core questions that every interviewer will ask. For example, the classic “Can you tell me a little about yourself?” will come up. Practice makes confidence.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Stressing about the interview is inevitable. After all, you are invested in this job opportunity; however, staying up late practicing the night before will not help you ace the interview.

Meditate, go for a run, take a long shower—whatever you need to do to release the tension. Turn out the lights and lie down with a clear head, at a reasonable hour.


1. Listen

It’s easy to pretend like you’re listening to the interviewer when you’re actually thinking of what to say next; however, if you listen, you will naturally know what to say next. This will keep you from sounding like you have memorized a script.

It’s important to let the conversation flow naturally. Really listen to what they have to say so that you can reference it later, showing them that you have the listening/communication skills that are important to the position.

2. Take Notes

Picture yourself interviewing a potential employee.

Scenario 1: The person walks in, sits down, and waits to answer questions.

Scenario 2: The person walks in, sits down, takes out a pen, and opens a folder. You can see copies of their resume and a legal pad. This person means business.

Between scenarios 1 and 2, we all know which one you would choose.

3. Ask Questions

It’s always good to know possible questions beforehand. While having an idea of what you need to know is ideal, the interviewer may say something during the interview that sparks a question for you. If this happens, it’s another opportunity for you to show the interviewer you were listening to him/her.

Make a list of questions before going in so you don’t forget (put them in your folder).

Common questions may include:

  • Is free parking included?
  • What are the retirement benefits?
  • Is health insurance included?
  • Does the company pay for continued education?


Thank You Notes

Always follow your interview with a thank-you email within 24 hours. The fear of the unknown tends to get to us when we’re writing these. This fear usually comes from one daunting question: What is the interviewer expecting?

Email vs. Snail Mail: This widely depends on the company. You can usually get a feel during the interview for what the employer would appreciate. It is not wise to only use snail mail. This can take up to two days, assuming you mail it within the same city. The employer may think you forgot to send anything at all.

If you do send a handwritten card (as long as your handwriting is good!), send an email as well. There are many old souls out there who will appreciate the genuine card. There are just as many who are very busy and who want to see your email writing skills in action.

Download our free Thank-You Email Template by subscribing here or the subscription section of this page.

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