25 job interview tips

Tips for a successful interview

An interview gives you the chance to demonstrate your suitability to an employer so it's important to be well prepared.
These interview tips should give you a head-start as well as calm those nerves.

Interview preparation:

  • Learn as much as you can about the organization and its mission and values.
  • Have a specific job or jobs in mind.
  • Review your qualifications for the job.
  • Be ready to briefly describe your experience and achievements, showing how they relates it the job.
  • Be ready to answer broad questions, such as "Tell me about yourself", "Why should I hire you?", "Why do you want this job?", "What are your strengths and weaknesses?".
  • Practice an interview with a friend or relative. Record yourself and you'll learn a lot when you play it back.
  • If you have them, take business cards. They are especially important in Japan, even if you're not currently employed and just have personal cards. Make sure they look professional, however.

Personal appearance:

  • Be well groomed and brush your teeth so they sparkle.
  • Dress appropriately. Don't overlook your shoes - they're noticed more than you may think.
  • Do not chew gum or smoke, even beforehand to avoid unpleasant smells.

The interview:

  • Be early. Not on time, early.
  • Learn the name of your interviewer and greet him or her with a firm handshake.
  • Use good manners with everyone you meet.
  • Relax and answer each question concisely.
  • Use proper English - avoid slang.
  • Be cooperative and enthusiastic.
  • Use body language to show interest - use eye contact and don't slouch.
  • Ask questions about the position and the organization, but avoid questions whose answers can easily be found on the company Web site. Also avoid asking questions about salary and benefits unless a job offer is made.
  • Take the time to consider whether the organization is suited to you, not just the other way round.
  • Thank the interviewer when you leave and shake hands.
  • Send a short thank you note.

Information to bring to an interview:

  • Official identification.
  • Resume (CV) or application and a copy of any letters or mails you've sent them. Although not all employers require a resume, you should be able to furnish the interviewer with information about your education, training, and previous employment.
  • References if requested. Employers typically require three references. Get permission before using anyone as a reference. Make sure that they will give you a good reference. Try to avoid using relatives as references.
  • Transcripts if requested. Employers may require an official copy of transcripts to verify grades, coursework, dates of attendance, and highest grade completed or degree awarded.

More useful advice can be found at 9 Things to Put on Your Job Interview Checklist