According to the infographic What You Wish You’d known Before Your Job Interview, 33 percent of employers claim that they know in the first 90 seconds of an interview whether or not they will hire someone. Ouch. Talk about making not only a good, but immediate first impression.

Your main goal during an interview is to convince the hiring manager that you are the ideal candidate for the available position. But how can you accomplish such a task without allowing the inevitable nervousness to seep in? I mean, less than two minutes to effectively demonstrate that out of the possibly hundreds of other applicants, you should be selected for the job is no easy task.

The following tips can help you prepare for any job interview, allowing you to navigate through the process confidently:

1. Describe the ideal candidate
Before the interview, sit down and spend some time writing out a detailed description of what you think the ideal candidate would be for the job. Don’t describe yourself or why you think you would be perfect, instead honestly describe the position and what characteristics would create the best person for that position. Try to put yourself in the mindset of the hiring manager and think of what you would look for in the perfect candidate.

2. Structure your characteristics
Now that you have an idea of what the ideal candidate for the position would be, you can re-frame your experiences and characteristics to fit in with these needs. Using the job description that the company has provided, along with your detailed description, consider all of your characteristics and skills and reword them to better fit these descriptions. For example, if the company description called for the worker to have the “ability to motivate others” as a key attribute, you can emphasize your leadership skills, ensuring to offer examples of how your past leadership experiences motivated others. When structuring your characteristics, think of how your experiences can be worded to appeal to the company.

3. Develop a “proof” list
You want to convince the hiring manager that you can handle the job at hand. Print out the list of required skills that accompanies the job description and review it carefully. Beside each item, identify an experience that you have had that illustrates your ability to handle such a skill. You don’t have to make a perfect match, but be able to explain the connection during your interview. This will show the employer that you thoroughly understand the requirements of the role and possess the necessary skills to fulfill them.

4. Create “sound bites”
Sound bites are very short phrases meant to highlight your best attributes. Like talking or bullet points on a note card, the sound bites will act as key points to remember so that you can elaborate on them with a compelling story during the interview. You may not remember every instance during your working career (especially if it’s a long one), so sound bites will help pinpoint the few events and achievements necessary to support your credentials. Make these sound bites attention catching and informational.

5. Develop your online reputation
An online name search is a common aspect of virtually every interview today. Your hiring manager is probably going to run your name through the search engine a couple of times even before the interview; so, it is important that you develop and maintain a positive online reputation. This doesn’t mean that you need to flood the internet with reviews and blogs about yourself, but you do need to make sure that what shows up when your name is searched is positive and flattering. It is crucial to keep social media platforms in mind when searching for a job. Know that your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook accounts are fair game for those considering hiring you. Even if they are set to private, there are ways for companies to get past this and see everything. Make sure you are comfortable with having everything you have posted being read.


– Shala Marks