Just got shortlisted for a big interview? Cracking interviews at the biggest firms isn't easy and straightforward - it involves preparing oneself thoroughly, addressing even the minutest areas that can have an impact on the outcome. Many a time, even experienced candidates with impressive resumes fail to make the cut.
A lot of the time, besides possessing the required experience and skill-set, it comes down to making a great impression at the interview. Interviewers look for specific attributes in candidates, and hiring decisions are made based on a wide array of parameters.
If you’ve set your sights on bagging offers from the biggest companies in the USA, this article is for you.
Let’s jump right to it and look at these 21 job interview tips to make a great impression and get hired.
21 Job Interview Tips to Make a Great Impression and Get Hired
- Do your research about the company
First up, make sure to do your research about the company you’re interviewing at. Research here can imply a bunch of things - keeping yourself abreast of recent product or service launches, a recent round of funding, or prominent reasons why the company made the news recently, can help you make a great impression. This not only helps you answer questions pertaining to the company but also puts you in good stead to make the right impression by displaying your keen interest in the company’s affairs.
- Research the position you’re applying to
The position you’re applying to - whether it’s a software developer role or a software architect role, entails specific questions that need preparation. By extensively researching the position you’re applying to, you can know what sort of questions to expect and accordingly prepare yourself.
Ignoring this aspect can catch you off guard while interviewing. Knowing what exactly the role entails can help you ask the right questions, thereby allowing you to make a great impression.
- Prepare for remote interviews
A lot of companies are traversing the remote route currently, and have adjusted their systems to satisfy the demands of remote environments. This is true for interviews as well - several big firms are regularly conducting remote on-sites to hire for different roles. This remote interview survival guide will help you navigate remote interviews effectively, make a great first impression, and get hired!
Make sure to address the seemingly insignificant aspects associated with remote interviews, including a stable power resource for your desktop/computer, a good internet connection, shelving distractions, and adopting a professional tone while communicating.
- Don’t ignore behavioral interviews - practice answers to commonly asked behavioral questions
Behavioral interviews have become an integral component in the interview processes of companies. The biggest firms looking to hire for predominantly tech roles have laid considerable emphasis on behavioral interviews. Oftentimes, not taking the behavioral interviews seriously can yield a negative outcome.
Companies conduct behavioral interviews to understand how candidates would react in workplace-related situations. By practicing behavioral questions and understanding the subtle nuances of navigating behavioral interviews, you can unfailingly make a great impression.
- Adopt a structured prep approach
Depending on what sort of interview you’re prepping for, make sure to structure your preparation to touch upon fundamentals as well as advanced topics. For instance, technical interview preparation involves various concepts that need to be addressed. Pace your preparation accordingly - start your prep early, spend adequate time understanding fundamentals, and make sure to cover all topics ranging from simple to advanced.
To crack tough technical interviews, it is super-important to develop your problem-solving skills, as you’ll often encounter questions you’ve never answered before. By adopting a structured and guided prep approach, you can delineate and classify problems based on underlying patterns, putting you in much better stead to effectively answer questions at the interview.
- Practice Mock Interviews
Mock interviews are a brilliant way to prepare yourself for tough technical interviews. The important thing is to practice with expert professionals who can identify areas where you’re lacking and help you set course on the right path. The right professionals refrain from giving you handwavy feedback which is quite common in mock interviews these days.
Choosing the right professionals to help you with mock interviews is key, and can have a definitive impact in the outcome of your interview.
- Give yourself enough time to prepare - don’t rush it
It is essential that you give yourself enough time to prepare, especially if you’re appearing for technical interviews. Your prep journey should cover every topic that can potentially appear, ranging from data structures and algorithms to systems design and behavioral questions. As a rule of thumb, giving yourself at least 2-3 months to prepare for a big interview.
- Get professional help if you need it
Are you specifically preparing for a technical interview? If you are, you must be aware of the difficulty involved in nailing these interviews, especially at FAANG and other Tier-1 companies.
Preparing for these interviews is a journey that has its fair share of roadblocks. These companies generally ask questions around algorithms, data structures and systems design - areas that aren’t easy to master within a month or two.
A lot of successful candidates have advocated roping in professional help to crack these interviews, and they cannot be more right. Signing up for a good technical prep course is a brilliant way to rediscover your programming skills and get good enough to crack interviews at your favorite companies.
- Address interview anxiety
It isn’t uncommon that oftentimes, even experienced engineers fail to give their best because of interview anxiety. For all you know, you could end up becoming anxious at an interview when you least expect it. The best way to combat or stay clear of interview anxiety is to prepare yourself extensively - at least to a level where you’re confident that you’ve put your best foot forward in preparing.
Additionally, practicing mock interviews with experts to mimic the interview environment is an effective and proven way to deal with interview anxiety. If you’ve been overcome by interview anxiety in the past, there’s more reason to devote adequate effort and resources to prevent it from happening in the future. Getting expert help in this regard or practicing ways to overcome interview anxiety can do you a great deal of good.
- Get a friend to help you with your prep
Got a friend who recently aced a technical interview at a FAANG company(s)? Well, don’t hesitate to approach them for guidance or help. Identifying that you need help is one thing, and taking action in that vein is another. List out things that you need help with, and go about getting it - for your own benefit.
- Don’t fear rejection, it’s part of the game
The greater part of a battle is lost because of harboring fear. Yes, cracking tough technical interviews is tough, but if you’re fearful that your efforts are going to get washed away, you’re not in the right place.
Rejection isn’t an uncommon phenomenon - learn from it and give your prep an overhaul. The idea is to assimilate the right learnings from rejection and make appropriate corrections, and not be overcome by fear. By doing so, you give yourself a brilliant chance to succeed the next time around.
- Revisit past projects to answer questions about them
A good part of the interview process is going to involve recruiters asking about successful past projects that you’ve executed. Hiring managers at top companies are always looking for interesting candidates who’ve displayed tangible proof of working on challenging projects in the past.
Spend some time revisiting past projects and prepare yourself to answer questions about them. Taking a closer look at them will give you an idea of how you approached them at the start, what changed in due course, what the key challenges were, and how you overcame them.
- Drive the interview to induce questions on your strengths/achievements
Driving the interview along a line that will favor you is quite a skill to have, innit? Imagine if you could influence interviewers to ask you the right questions - questions that you have brilliantly crafted answers to.
The idea is to not stray from what you’ve spent time preparing for - meaning, don’t mention projects or points that you’re not prepared to answer questions about. Being Mindful at every step is crucial in this regard, and can work wondrously to your benefit.
- Prepare interesting questions for the interviewers
Asking the right questions can be the thin line between getting shortlisted or rejected. To ask the right questions lies in the depth of your preparation, and recruiters often look for candidates who exhibit keen interest in roles and responsibilities attached to their position.
Take some time to list out questions entailing the role you’re applying to, the company’s activities and services, and other related areas. Displaying
- Highlight your accomplishments confidently
Be bold in highlighting your achievements, even if you feel they’re minor. No achievement is minor as long as it spikes learnings for bigger achievements. Don’t answer from a position of “I lack what it takes”, rather, do so from “I got what it takes”.
- Adopt a formal and respectable tone
The tone that you adopt is crucial in influencing the interview’s outcome. Make sure to employ a formal and respectable tone - this creates a superb first impression as well. And first impressions often go a long way, don’t they?
Again, mock interviews help with this - if you’re involuntarily coming off as rude or arrogant, take the feedback to heart and work on it. There are always cases where good engineers plainly because they don’t adopt the right conversational skills in their interviews.
- Be mindful of your body language
Body language conveys a lot about what’s going through your mind. It speaks your thoughts to a large extent, often discernibly. To present effective body language, you must be mindful of what you’re doing while answering the interviewer. Being prepared helps a great deal to display the right body language.
As such, don’t sit in an awkward position or make jerky movements. A lot of the time, candidates ignore this crucial aspect and inadvertently display negative body language.
- Prepare your list of references in advance
Decide and prepare a list of references - of coworkers/past-colleagues/previous reporting managers, in advance. Asking for references is an important part of the hiring process, and recruiters lay significant weightage on what your references have to say about you. While deciding your references, make sure to inform them so they’re prepared to answer questions as well.
- Prepare adequately for the Phone Screen Interview
Many candidates face elimination in the Technical Phone Screen Round for many reasons. Although phone screens don’t seem nearly as important as onsite rounds, give yourself time to prepare for phone screens as well.
Phone Screen interviewers typically involve writing code in a language you’re proficient at, on a shared screen with a hiring manager. Brushing up on your programming language skills is essential to get past this hurdle.
These Phone Interview Tips will tell you exactly what to do to crack your next technical phone screen interview with your favorite company.
- Decide on what you want to wear the night before
Don’t go around wasting precious time in deciding what to wear an hour or so before the interview - that’s cutting it too close. Preparation is the key here - plan in advance what you want to wear the previous night so you don’t subconsciously devote undue mental energy and time in deciding what to wear.
- Keep your answers crisp and concise
Keeping answers crisp and to the point is an important tip that will help you make a great impression and get hired. While communicating don’t beat around the bush and give half-baked answers. Preparing yourself extensively can help put out your thoughts in a crisp and concise manner.