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10 Tips to Ace the Interview

Interviews can cause a great deal of anxiety, especially if you haven’t had practice in a while. But don’t worry, with enough preparation done before the interview, you’ll be a pro!

Interviews are a process, and one of your biggest advantages is in gaining an understanding of the process. Below are 10 tips you can leverage to increase your competitive advantage:


Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes. If you were the interviewer, what questions would you be most interested in asking a candidate? Why do you think you have been invited to interview?


Research is probably your best friend when it comes to increasing your chances of acing the interview. How does the job description describe the role? What are the success factors for this role? What are the most critical issues facing this industry, company or role? Read the company’s website, its mission, vision and values. Do your values align with the company’s values? Your IPG Staffing consultant can be of great assistance to you in your research and preparation for your interview. We know our clients’ expectations and the company culture. We’ll give you guidance to ensure you’re as prepared as possible!


Think about your skills, knowledge, interests, traits, values and accomplishments. Match them to what you know about the job. Consider which ones you should highlight during the interview.

Prepare Answers

Draft at least 5 key questions that you think the interviewer may ask, determine the best answer and write them down.

Interview the Interviewers

By asking the interviewer thoughtful questions, you communicate your interest and you will learn a lot about the job. Avoid asking a lot of questions about vacation time, breaks, etc. Now is also not the time to discuss money – that time will come. The better you interview, the higher the company may be willing to pay you. Pick two or three questions from the list below to ask the interviewer:

  • How would you describe the responsibilities of the position?
  • How would you describe a typical week/day in this position?
  • Is this a new position? If not, what is the previous employee doing today?
  • How much travel is expected?
  • Is relocation a possibility?
  • What are the prospects for growth and advancement?
  • How many direct reports does this role have (if applicable)?
  • What skills are most important for the successful candidate to have?
  • If I am extended an offer for this job, when would you like me to start?

    What Questions Should You Never Ask an Interviewer?

  • What does this company do? (Do your research ahead of time.)
  • If I get the job when can I take time off for vacation? (Wait until you get the offer to mention your prior commitments.)
  • Can I change my schedule if I get the job? (If you need to figure out the logistics of getting to work, now is not the time to mention it.)
  • Did I get the job? (Don’t be impatient, they will let you know.)

Practice Makes Perfect

I don’t know about you, but whenever I had an interview one of the ways I’d prepare was by saying aloud the answers I wrote down to the questions I thought the interviewer may ask. The reason for this is that you want the answers to sound as natural and as unrehearsed as possible during the interview. This may or may not work for you, but interviewers can tell the difference between candidates who’ve taken the time to prepare by providing thoughtful answers versus those who’ve winged it. If you’re really serious about getting the job, make sure you practice!

Make Sure You Know the Logistical Details

Have you ever jumped in the car on your way to an important meeting, certain that you knew where you going, only to find out that you didn’t know? Don’t take a chance – you don’t want to look “flustered,” out of breath and perspiring walking into the interview. You want to be composed and act with complete confidence. Before your interview, do a drive-by (or “walk-by”) past the address of the interview location so that you know how long it will take you to get there. This goes without saying, but it’s important to be on time. Nothing creates a bad first impression like being late to an interview. However, if something truly unexpected comes up, be sure that you call the contact person at the company and/or the interviewer as soon as possible to let them know that you’ll be late, the reason for being late and offer your sincere apologies.

Be Confident!

It’s the day of the interview and it’s almost your time to shine. In order to be at your very best, get a good night’s sleep the night before. If at all possible, wake up the next morning, eat a light breakfast (make sure your clothes are in the closet so that they do not retain the smell of your food), and get your blood flowing by doing at least 30 minutes of exercise. Why? Exercise, even for a small amount of time, releases endorphins that makes your thinking clearer and lessens stress levels. And it’ll give you a boost of energy and confidence when you meet your interviewer.

Be Memorable

To be memorable as you leave the interview, remember to:

  • Be personable.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Find ways to overcome your anxiety and speak slowly.
  • Be sure and confident in your skill sets and past experiences.
  • Keep focused on the questions presented and do not provide long responses.

Follow Up

Send a brief follow-up letter to the interviewer. Keep in mind that many job searchers will not send a follow-up letter, so sending one can become a competitive advantage. If you have good handwriting, send one via regular mail. If not, a professional follow up via email will do.

Good luck!