6 Tips to Ace Your Next Job Interview

LIFE

It’s no secret that the job-search process can be pretty stressful. After all, you’re expected to blow someone away with your career achievements and professionalism in a matter of minutes.

So then, it makes sense that you want to be on your A-game in all aspects of the interview process. Here are just a few ways to make sure you stand out from the competition:

Pick the right resume font

Before you land the interview, your resume has to speak for you – and fast since managers can flip through hundreds of resumes before picking who they want to follow up with. While there’s no one set way to do a resume and some variation is involved depending on the industry you’re in, Monster.com recommends sticking with the basics when it comes to resume font. Think: Calibri, Arial, Verdana, and Cambria. However, if you’re applying to a corporate or legal job, you might want to consider the ever-classic Times New Roman.

Track the company online

Sure, you can and should search online for information about the company, but don’t forget to check out their social media presence, too, since it can give you clues about company culture. And, since you want to be as up to date as possible with what’s happening with the company, set Google alerts—and actually read them—before an interview.

Find your scheduling sweet spot

Sometimes you’re at the mercy of the hiring manager when it comes to scheduling an interview, but other times you have some input. If you can pick and you know the company isn’t trying to make a hire ASAP, try for around 10:30 a.m. on a Tuesday. Glassdoor reports that this is the best time for an interview because you’re not coming in on a Monday (when your hiring manager is likely slammed) or Friday (when they’re ready for the weekend), and you’re avoiding the end of the day, when they’re preoccupied with trying to get out of the door.

Peruse social media beforehand

It sounds random, but a new study from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign suggests that reading supportive comments and private messages from friends on social media can help reduce anxiety before a big event. (Researchers specifically studied college students who were nervous about taking a test, but say it also has implications for job applicants.) So ping your best friend on Facebook on the way to your interview. It could have a bigger impact than you’d think.

Be prepared to talk about your struggles

At some point during an interview, you’re probably going to be asked to talk about your weaknesses or a time at work when you struggled. Hiring managers do this to try to suss out how you may handle a pressure-cooker situation in the future. So, when you think of yours, make sure it’s followed by a solution. For example, “I’m in charge of social media at my company and, at first, I struggled to get enough interaction from our followers. Then, I looked at traffic data and realized we were targeting them at the wrong time of day. I tweaked our approach, and our engagement increased by 20 percent.”

Double up on the thank you notes

No doubt you know you should thank your interviewer afterward, but it’s always tricky to know the best way to do it. Emails are quick but require less effort than a hand-written thank you note. If you’re not sure which is the right option, do both—thank the hiring manager with an email on the same day as your interview, and send a hand-written note by mail the same day reiterating how much you enjoyed your conversation and their time. A note should arrive two days or so after your interview, and will help put you back in the interviewer’s mind.