The Ultimate Interview Guide: 9 No-Fluff Tips To Get That Job

On average, one corporate job opening attracts 250 applicants. Of those candidates, only 1 person will get the job. When you’re in that pool, you’ll want to stand out. This post contains the ultimate interview guide, where I’ve compiled a list of no-fluff tips for you (and a free printable!).

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I went through a number of interviews before accepting an offer from a Fortune 100 company–and without any prior internship experience. If you want to read more, here’s how I did it. I’ve made mistakes, learned, and put together this ultimate interview guide with detailed tips to help you get that job.

Here is the no-fluff, ultimate interview guide.

This interview guide is concise, meaning that I’ve removed the fluff. You’ll still need to iron your clothes, get some sleep, and eat a healthy meal before the interview. The 9 tips are methods I personally used, tried and true!

1. Consider Company Culture in How You Dress

This is possibly one of the easiest things to do. It doesn’t take any practice, but it does take a little research.

Business formal is great if you’re interviewing with IBM or McKinsey. If you’re interviewing with Vogue or a small tech start-up, it might come off as a little stuffy. Double check the expected attire with your recruiter!

I had one blazer, blouse, and pair of slacks that I wore to almost every single interview. Add on a comfortable pair of black work pumps, and it was a solid outfit. My makeup was simple and my hair was left down, which is how I feel my most confident.

I’ve had interviews with a casual dress code. In those cases, I wore a black, long-sleeved shirt (it was cold), and a nice pair of jeans (meaning no acid-wash, and definitely no rips!).

In today’s COVID digital world, a nice blazer will do wonders for interviews over Webex or Zoom!

Here is an option below that you can purchase on Amazon. There are a variety of colors to choose from!

Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link, meaning that I’ll get a small commission from Amazon if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you.

2. Make a Good First Impression

First impressions last a long time, and it takes between 5 to 15 seconds to form one. You’ll want to get it right!

Smile and exude confidence. Be genuine. Hopefully, you’ve followed my first tip and dressed well. Ask the interviewer how their day was. If you know your interviewer’s name coming into the interview, address them by it.

If you’re meeting in person, give a firm handshake. If this is a phone interview, answer with, “Hi, this is (your name) speaking” instead of, “Hello?”

Sound excited (you should be!) and really let your personality shine through the screen/phone.

3. Bring Copies of Your Resume

Often, your employer will already have a copy of your resume with them. In the case that they don’t, you should be prepared with one.

This is also great if you’ve updated your resume since your initial application. Simply let your interviewer know that there have been some changes, and you have an updated version.

You shouldn’t walk in with loose copies, though! It’s good to keep your resume copies, a notebook, and a pen on you. For this, a professional-looking portfolio will do wonders. You’ll look professional, and you’ll have everything you need, already organized.

You can even write down the questions you wanted to ask, and refer to them during your interview.

I have this portfolio below. I love the gold details on the corners!

Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link, meaning that I’ll get a small commission from Amazon if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you.

Check out my other post if you want to learn how to polish your resume.

4. Research Company Missions, Values, and Current Events

Do your research before you head in. You’ll likely be asked why you applied to the company in the first place. If, like me, you’re making a huge switch in careers (I went from medical to technology/business), you need to show that you’re interested in the company/industry.

I dedicated a few pages in my “job notebook” to each company I interviewed with, and made sure I was updated on recent events.

Here’s what I recommend you do your research on:

  • Company mission and values
    • You can adjust your interview answers to reflect the company’s values. But again, be genuine.
    • This is huge when it comes to the question, “Why us? Why this company?”
  • Current Company Events
    • Make sure you’re aware of any recent acquisitions, changes in executives, big projects, etc.
  • Current Industry Events
    • You might be asked about this, but if you’re not, it’s a great way to show that you’ve done your research when you reference industry trends in your answers/questions for your interviewer
  • Company Culture
    • “Why our company?”
    • You should use this chance to figure out if this company is right for you
  • Company Products & Services
    • If you’re going to be working for this company, you should know what it is that they offer
    • You might be asked, “What is your favorite product or service of ours?” or “Which of our products or services do you believe would have been useful in solving this issue you talked about earlier?”

I’ve put together a free printable Job Interview Cheat Sheet for you. It’s a downloadable PDF that you can get by clicking on the image or here!

5. Read Up on the Company’s Interview Process

It’s always best to walk into an interview as prepared as possible. Glassdoor is a great resource.

Previous interviewees leave reviews and comments detailing their interview experience, and you might even find some questions that were asked in their interviews. You can even see average salaries, company culture reviews, and general employee satisfaction ratings.

6. Use the STAR Method

When it comes to behavioral interview questions, you’ll often be asked to share anecdotes. To prevent yourself from falling into the pit of endless rambling, use the STAR method.

Questions that call for STAR answering might start off with, “Tell me about a time when…” or “Give me an example in which you….” You can check out the link above for a more detailed breakdown of STAR, but here’s what it stands for:

  • Situation
    • Give a little background to set the scene
  • Task
    • In the situation, what was your role/responsibility? What were the expectations of you?
  • Action
    • What did you do?
  • Result
    • What happened as a result? What did you learn?

Keep in mind that it’s okay if you didn’t necessarily have a good ‘Result’ at first–as long as you learned from the situation, and changed your actions. Were there better results from your changes?

If you have a tendency to ramble, the STAR method will help you keep your answers concise.

7. Write Your Answers Down Before Your Actual Interview

In my “job notebook,” I wrote down a brief list of common interview questions and my answers to each one. You can’t bring a notebook with all your answers into your actual interview, but by writing everything out, you’ll be able to organize your thoughts.

Things don’t always sound as good as they do in your head!

You won’t know everything you’ll be asked, but you can know your examples, scenarios, and STAR answers. I prepared a few select scenarios based off my resume that would be suitable for multiple behavioral questions.

In one of my interviews, I was asked, “How many baby diapers are sold in your city each year?”

The actual number isn’t important here–the process of solving it is. Luckily, I had rehearsed a general calculation for these types of questions enough to comfortably walk my interviewer through how I arrived at my answer.

Rehearse!

PRACTICE. Ideally, the first time you use the STAR method or run through a scenario shouldn’t be during your interview. It’s true that there’s only so much that you can prepare, but it will never hurt to prepare as much as you can.

8. Ask Questions

This is your chance to interview the company! You need to figure out if the company is a good fit for you, just as they are figuring out if you are a good fit for them. Always, always have questions prepared. It will show that you’re serious about the job, and that you’ve done your research.

Here is a list of few questions you can ask:

  • How is success measured at your company?
  • What do you enjoy most about working at this company?
  • What has your experience with this company’s culture been like?
  • What is the typical career trajectory, if there is one, for someone in this role?
  • I’ve read about ____ happening recently in the industry. How has your company been affected by it?
  • If you’re in sales, you can end the interview with, “Would you hire me?” (I did this and yes, I got the job!)
  • For more, check out this blogpost on Glassdoor.

9. Send a Thank You Note

Send a thank-you note to your interviewer as soon as you can. I recommend doing it within a day of your interview. Then you’re less likely to forget, and it will be easier for your interviewer to recall your conversation. Be sure to bring up something interesting you guys discussed, and always thank them for their time!

Good luck on your interview! Be sure to check out my post on how I got a got a job in Big Tech with no internship experience.

Related: 7 Ways To Polish Your LinkedIn Profile

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It's so lovely to meet you! I'm Sunny, a boba connoisseur hailing from Southern California. I graduated from college over a year ago, and currently work full-time for a Big Tech, Fortune 100 company. This website is an outlet for my creative passions, where I hope to share my experiences in post-grad life, college, career, and identity with young women everywhere.

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