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Tips and tricks for nailing your next job interview

After spending hours crafting the perfect resume, scrolling through job postings and filling out applications, you finally get the call that a company wants to schedule an interview with you. And while a lot of your hard work has seemingly paid off, you're not done yet. That job interview is the only thing standing between you and your new position. Now it's up to you to impress the interviewers and show your worth without making any mistakes. The pressure is on.

It's this pressure that often gets the best of people, however. Once they sit down in that chair opposite their interviewers, many people lose their cool and make serious slip-ups that end up costing them the job. For example, in a recent ProOpinion poll, 21 percent of business professionals admitted to speaking inappropriately or saying something they immediately regretted in a job interview. A further 18 percent forgot to bring their resumes with them to the interview, while 14 percent showed up late. To avoid common pitfalls like these, preparation is key. Consider these tips and tricks for nailing your next job interview.

industry  trendsUse these tips and tricks to avoid common pitfalls and ace your interview.

Study and practice
Think of a job interview like a presentation you have to give. You wouldn't walk into a room of people and start speaking without knowing your topic like the back of your hand and practicing your delivery beforehand, would you? Don't go into a job interview without doing your homework and practicing. Start by gathering all the details you'll need, like the name of the person you're meeting with, the style of interview you're doing (Phone? One-on-one? Panel?) and as much information about the company as you can find. It also helps to conduct some research into the latest industry trends so you have solid topics to discuss.

In addition, take some time to craft good answers to common interview questions. Be prepared to answer inquiries like "Tell me about yourself," "Why do you want to work at this company?" and "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" Don't just recite what's on your resume - the interviewer has likely already read that. Practice giving these answers and paying attention to the facial expressions and gestures you make.

Clean up your social media presence
If you haven't done so already, now is a good time to take a look at your social media profiles and clean them up in case your interviewers decide to do a little research. Get rid of anything that could paint you in a bad light and act as a red flag for potential employers. Forbes magazine recommended using the app Social Sweepster, which can detect pictures of "suspicious" objects like beer bottles and point out profanity in your previous posts. Getting rid of this type of content can help you make a good first impression online.

Scout out the area
If you've never been to the place where your interview is going to be, you'll want to check it out before the big day. BuzzFeed recommended looking up directions and making a practice run to get a feel for how long it's going to take you to get there. You'll be able to see how traffic is going to be around the time of your interview, and you'll decrease your chances of getting lost and showing up late!

Get ready
Choose your interview outfit carefully ahead of time. Pick clothing that is professional and appropriate for the industry you're in. If it's a more creative field, feel free to show a little personality in your accessories. Make sure everything is clean and ironed to avoid looking sloppy. You'll also want to bring a briefcase or portfolio with you that includes copies of your resume. Bring a pen and paper to take notes with as well.

"'On time' means 10 to 15 minutes early."

Arrive on time
In the case of an interview, "on time" means 10 to 15 minutes early, according to Monster. Give yourself enough time to account for setbacks that might take a few minutes out of your travel. Get to the vicinity of the office and spend some time composing yourself if you have to, then enter the building about 10 minutes before your scheduled appointment.

Put your best foot forward
Once you're in the actual interview, don't let your guard down. Now's your time to shine. When you're talking to the interviewers, remember the following:

  • Be honest: Don't bother lying in your interview or trying to skip over difficult questions that don't have a very good answer. Just be honest about your qualifications and do your best to make what you do have sound excellent.
  • Be concise: No matter how nervous you are, don't ramble. Take your time answering questions and ask for a minute or two to gather your thoughts, if you need to. Answer the questions in a straightforward manner.
  • Give examples: Show, don't tell. Have examples of your achievements ready instead of just rattling off your past duties and skills.
  • Ask questions: Don't hesitate to ask questions - it shows interviewers that you're interested and have done your research. Be prepared with a few good questions that will impress your interviewers.

Above all, just try your best to relax. Interviewers know you'll likely be a little nervous and will probably try to make you feel as comfortable as possible.

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