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“Congratulations, you’re hired!”

Those are the words we eagerly wait for as we cross our fingers. Yet more often than not, the answer is often “We will get back to you.”

Spoiler alert. They do not always get back to you. After tons of rejections, you might even start thinking to yourself, maybe it’s your fault and there is something wrong somewhere. Well here’s a piece of info for you.

It might not even be you. It might just be a lack of finesse and strategy.

Interviews are like small tactical games, similar to chess. When it comes to job interviews, there is always a back and forth, where both parties are trying to get something out of the other. For you; it’s a good career. For your employer; it’s a good employee.

You might be the best employee one could ever hope for, but if you can’t sell yourself during the interview, it would be all for naught. To help you ace that next interview (and any subsequent ones), here is a step-by-step guide on what to expect in an interview, and how to prepare for it.

In this guide we’ll cover:

  • Preparatory Stage
  • The Introduction
  • The Back And Forth
  • After The Interview
  • Conclusion

Preparatory Stage

1. Your Resume

This is the most essential thing you should bring to your interview. Sure, you’ve sent it via email already, but it’s always a show of goodwill to bring a physical copy. Plus, it also makes you much more well-prepared in the eyes of the interviewer. If you’re wondering how to prepare the perfect resume, don’t worry we got you covered!

Related: How to Write an ATS-Friendly Resume in 6 Easy Steps

2. The Way You Dress

Treat your interview like how you would on a date. Dress to impress. And as the saying goes, always dress for the job that you want.

By dressing up, you’re able to accomplish two things. You convey discipline and cleanliness to the interviewer and you’re also giving yourself a huge boost in confidence!

Speaking of which…

3. Confidence

As cliche as it sounds, confidence really is the key. Believing in yourself and your abilities to succeed in the role is a powerful feeling. Your interviewer will also feel your confidence through your words and body language, making the selection choice much easier for them.

Yes, being confident is not as easy as just snapping yourself into it, however gaining confidence becomes easy when you…

  • Prepare for any questions relating to the job, including (and especially) the curveballs.
  • Embrace the butterflies in your stomach, acknowledge them, take a deep breath and stride forward. If all else fails, fake it till you make it. Act confident and you’ll be confident.

4. A notebook

You’d be surprised as to how much a notebook can bring to the table. Similar to everything else in the preparatory stage, a notebook conveys a sense of readiness, organization skills and discipline to your interviewer.

Even better, a notebook can be a potential lifesaver.

Writing down a few questions beforehand and jotting down notes during the interview ensures that there are no misunderstandings between you and the interviewer. You’ll have everything prepared and recorded in black-and-white for reference!

Resume, check!
Looking good, check!
Pen and paper, check!

Now that you’re geared up and ready to go, it’s time to face the boss!

The Introduction

Take a deep breath, calm yourself, this is the moment of truth.

5. Posture

As uncomfortable as it is to keep your posture straight, it’s important to do it during the interview. According to psychological studies, sitting upright not only conveys confidence to the interviewer, it also makes you feel more confident about yourself as well.

6. Body language

Coming in hand-in-hand with posture is body language. Pay attention to the position of your arms and your feet. Keeping your arms uncrossed and shoulders apart shows that you are comfortable and extremely open to the interviewer.

If you don’t know where to put your arms (don’t worry it happens sometimes), just rest them on the arm-rests or your lap.

7. Eye Contact

Ever looked at someone and instantly found them annoying? Or someone you liked instantly? Eye contact is just that powerful. A single shared glance can convey many things about a person.

In that regard, keeping eye contact with your interviewer is one of the key tricks in getting you hired. Of course, everything in moderation. Uncomfortably long eye contact would kill your chances of success as much as zero eye contact would.

8. Handshake

According to psychological studies, one of the biggest ways many people subconsciously gauge confidence is through a handshake. A firm handshake directly translates to a confident person.

In fact, there is even a template for the perfect business handshake. It is…

  • Grip firmly but not too tight
  • Shake at least once, but no more than 3 times.
  • Make eye contact throughout the duration of the handshake
  • Introduce yourself and your intent sincerely and confidently
  • Ask for the interviewer’s name and remember it!

Once the pleasantries are out of the way, the real “fun” begins!

Related : 5 Essential Job-Seeking Skills

The Back and Forth

9. Friendliness with A Smile

It is common sense to be friendly and remember to smile in a professional setting. Especially in an interview. Why?

Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes. They’re looking for a colleague. When you hire someone, you’re going to be spending most of your time with them in the office. Nobody wants to spend time with someone who is unpleasant to be with.

10. Focus – Listen Properly, Ask The Right Questions, Answer Tactfully

It goes without saying that you should always be focused on what the interviewer has to say. Ask any questions regarding the job or the company, and raise any points of interests along the way.

When the interviewer asks you a question, don’t lie about it. If the answer is not something you like, try and answer tactfully. For example, if you hated your previous employer and they asked you about it, just say it was a difference in opinion and approach. It’s more professional and you don’t end up saying something regretful.

11. Take Notes

Remember to put your notebook to good use. Jot down any relevant information that might be useful to you. Not only would that mean you won’t forget crucial information, you’d even have it in black-and-white in case you need it.

12. Display Your Talents

This is the main reason you are here. Your interviewers are looking for someone who is qualified to do the job right. To convince them that you’re the perfect person for the job, you have to walk the walk by knowing how to talk.

Displaying your talents means talking about yourself, showing what you’ve done in the past, what you’re currently doing and how you can help the company grow. It is about convincing your interviewer that you’re what the company truly needs.

13. Don’t Say “No” To Goodwill

You might feel a little shy sometimes, but if your interviewer offers you a coffee or any drinks, kindly take it. Accepting their show of goodwill means that you are open to what they have to offer you. It’s kind of like going to someone’s home and accepting their offer to have you over for dinner. It’s basic manners.

A not-so-well-known tip is also to ALWAYS wash your cups and clean up after yourself.

An interviewer who goes through at least 20 interviews a day gets numb to everyone drinking the coffee and leaving the cup. If you’re that one candidate that says “it’s fine I’ll do it myself”, it’s a small gesture that goes a LONG way!

Related : Why Upskilling Can Help You Progress in Your Career

After The Interview

Great, the hard part is over! Now it’s just time to tie up a few loose ends and finalize everything in a nice little package.

14. Leaving

If you aren’t in a hurry to go anywhere, and the interviewer isn’t rushing either, it’s nice to have a little small talk. This actually benefits you in a few ways.

You get to understand your potential coworker’s personality a little bit more and get an insight on how the company culture really is. Your interviewer would also get to gauge you as a potential colleague as well. It leaves a longer impression on them, for better or for worse.

Once the interviewer shows you out, don’t forget the firm handshake and thank them for everything.

15. Following Up

After your interview, don’t forget to email your interviewer again to thank them for the opportunity to give you the interview. It makes you even more memorable to them, because not many candidates bother to initiate a follow up.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be right after the interview, but it would be good to do it within the day. And after a few days if they haven’t replied, send them another email to inquire about your application process.

A follow-up is crucial because most applicants wait for a reply from the company instead. But the truth is that HR goes through hundreds of applicants a day, and unless it’s a shiningly radiant potential employee, they might forget quite a few good applicants.

Sending that follow up ensures that you’re fresh in their mind for solid candidates, and even earns you brownie points by showing them that you’re determined to work with them, and that you’re a persevering person.


Now all that’s left for you is to wait for a reply, which can only go one of two ways


Congrats on your new career!

Send them a thank you email, follow the procedure HR has requested and you’re done!


Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world. Things like this happen. You might be rejected many times, but on the bright side, you only have to be accepted once.

Try again somewhere else, and maybe that’s where your pot of gold really lies. Consider brushing up on your skills with relevant courses or a new diploma to make yourself really stand out from the crowd. Request more information on programs available at Academy of Learning Career College!