25 Job Interview Tips and Hacks That Are Genius!

By Jeff Gillis

UPDATED: 5/26/2022

EVERYONE who has a job interview coming up is anxious to get the real job interview tips that will put them over the top and allow them to be the best candidate in the eyes of the hiring manager. But where are you supposed to look? How do you get the best interview tips?

You can easily find the people who will tell you to “dress nicely” and suggest that you “tell them you’re a perfectionist,” but run-of-the-mill tips for interviews are not going to cut it anymore. Luckily, you’re here, and run-of-the-mill isn’t what we do.

So, without further ado, here are our 25 best tips for job interviews.

Before the Interview – Interview Tips for Your Preparation

1. Use Google Alerts

The best way to guarantee that you are tailoring and targeting your interview information for a specific company is to make sure you’re keeping up on all their news and information. Using a service like Google Alerts can save you precious time by doing the digging for you! With just a few clicks of your mouse, news stories and current events related to the companies are automatically delivered to your email box.

2. Bring A Cheat Sheet with You

This interview tip is a bit controversial. Some people think that bringing in a “crib sheet” shows that you are not prepared. The way we see it, it’s okay to bring a cheat sheet with you to your interview, and even better to share it!

As part of your interview prep, write up two accomplishments for each of your past few jobs. Try to include one individual accomplishment and one team accomplishment. 

It’s a fast and easy way to present a potential employer with a summary of your job highlights and successes that wouldn’t otherwise be on your resume and might not get covered in the interview.

3. Get Pumped Up!

It’s perfectly natural to have some anxiety about an interview. Take the time before your interview to help expend that nervous energy by knocking out a quick 10-15 minute cardio session. 

Not only will it help clear out some of those butterflies, but it’ll get your blood moving and help clarify your mind. Just make sure you grab a shower before you go to your interview!

4. Beat the Clock to Beat Your Nerves!

Waiting all day for an interview is a quick way to build up a major case of the butterflies. Rather than spend the whole day worrying, try to schedule your interviews for early in the day.

Not only will you have more confidence, but you’ll appear fresher and more alert. Plus, first candidates might get the benefit of primacy bias, which could work in your favor.

5. Give Your Body the Right Fuel

Need a quick pick-me-up before your interview? Skip the coffee and reach for an apple and some gum instead!

It’s been scientifically proven that munching on an apple is just as effective at waking you up as a cup of coffee. Once you’re done with your snack, follow it up with a glass of water and a stick of gum. Chewing gum before an interview can help you focus and recall information you might have studied earlier. Added bonus: Minty fresh breath! Just make sure you get rid of it before you start your interview.

6. Strike a Pose!

Give yourself an extra boost just before your interview by striking a pose. Power poses can boost your self-confidence before you enter into a stressful situation.

Just before you go in to meet with your interviewer, duck into a bathroom or stairwell. Stand with your feet to be shoulder-width apart. Put your hands on your hips and keep your spine straight.

By doing this for just two minutes before your interview, you’re conditioning your body posture to take up more space and open you up physically, two characteristics of a confident person. Plus, it gives you a mental boost.

7. Search Social Media for an Inside Scoop

While heading to a company’s social media profiles should be part of your plan, don’t stop there. Do searches on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube to find other content that discusses the company. You may trip across intriguing pieces of news, honest employee reviews, and much more, giving you insights you wouldn’t have had otherwise.

8. Know How to Nail the Handshake

If you want to make a stellar first impression, know how to nail the handshake. Ideally, you want to extend your hand first, as that portrays confidence. As you do, make eye contact and smile.

As you extend your hand, keep your fingers pointed down. Then, use a slight scooping motion to initiate the handshake. Keep your wrist relatively straight and use around the same amount of hand pressure as you would to hold a coffee cup. Give it a couple of pumps, then break.

9. Identify a Problem and Fix It

In many cases, a company hires to solve a problem or remedy an issue they’re facing. By studying the job description, you can learn more about the situation.

Then, prepare a one-page proposal that outlines how you would solve the problem. Even if they aren’t looking for that during the interview, they will be impressed that you took the initiative.

10. Give Your Interview Outfit a Test Run

Your interview attire should align with the company’s dress code, making it clear that you could easily mesh with the environment. However, instead of tossing on an interview outfit the morning of and hoping for the best, make sure you take it for a test run.

By throwing your interview outfit on a few days before the meeting, you can check to ensure it fits, is in good repair, and is comfortable to wear. Make sure you spend time standing and sitting in it and do common moves like reaching out for a handshake to really put it through its paces

11. Set Up a Mock Interview

While practicing interview questions on your own is smart, setting up a full-experience mock interview adds something extra. You can dress in your interview attire, go through the entire process from handshake to exit, and get feedback from someone you trust. Plus, it can make you more comfortable with what’s to come, reducing any stress you may be feeling.

12. Have Good Things to Say About Past Employers

During your interview, you’re going to get asked about your last job; it’s inevitable. Even if it was your worst professional experience ever, make sure you have a few positive things to share.

Hiring managers find negative comments about past employers concerning, so it’s better to have something else to offer. Even if the positives are generic, being able to share them ensures you can navigate those questions with greater ease.

13. Get Your Reference List Squared Away

It isn’t uncommon for hiring managers to ask for your reference list at the end of an in-person interview. Since that’s the case, it’s best to have yours ready to go beforehand. That way, you can just hand it over once it’s requested.

14. Print Resumes on Upgraded Paper

While your traditional white printer paper technically works, going with a thicker, higher-quality paper can make a better impression. It improves the tactile experience. Plus, by choosing an off-white shade, it’s more comfortable to read.

During the Interview – Tips for Interviewing

15. Don’t Just Arrive Early; Time Your Entry Right

Ideally, you want to get to the interview location 10 to 15 minutes early. While that isn’t problematic if traffic isn’t typically an issue, if you need to give yourself extra time to navigate the unexpected, you might arrive earlier than that.

If that happens, don’t head into the interview right away. Instead, wait until you’re at the 15-minute mark, as coming in earlier than that isn’t usually viewed well by hiring managers.

You could spend that time sitting in your car reviewing interview questions. Weather permitting, taking a relaxed stroll around the building to burn off excess energy could also be on the table.

16. Be Nice!

Did you know your interview starts the minute you walk through the front door of the company you are interviewing with? How you treat everyone around you, from potential future co-workers to the receptionist at the front desk, can help determine if you get a job or not. 

Assume your job interview has started the moment you arrive on-site. By being open, friendly, and professional with everyone you encounter, you’re helping to pave the way for positive feedback.

Jeff's Tip: Quite often, the hiring manager will use the receptionist/secretary as a "secret screener". What does this mean? It means that they often give the receptionist a list of questions to ask you and have them take notes on your responses. Then, after the interviews are done, they have a quick debrief to discuss what you said. We've actually heard of people who had immaculate job interviews that failed to get the job because they showed a different (and not positive) side of their personality during the "secret screener," so keep this in mind the moment you walk through the door!

17. Connect Before Diving In

The best way to start an interview is to not start the interview. When you first meet whoever is interviewing you, get them to talk about anything except the interview. Use those first moments to build a rapport.

Remember, they’re potentially interviewing hundreds of people, and the ones they’ll remember are the ones that stand out for the right reasons. People want to work with people they connect with, and by taking just a moment to talk about something other than your potential job, you’re helping show that you’re a nice, friendly, and interesting person. 

18. Be a Copycat

It’s been psychologically proven time and time again that people respond better to individuals they feel they are in “sync” with. Often, the best way to help drive that home is to subtly mirror your interviewer’s nonverbal gestures and body language. 

Keep your movements similar without copying everything they do. That’ll build a sense of cohesion and understanding between you two. 

19. Turn the Tables

A good interview is more than just you sitting in a room rattling off prepared answers to questions. It’s also an opportunity for you to learn about the job, the company, and your potential role within that world.

Make sure to have a few questions prepared before you interview and find the time during the interview to ask them. Ensure they are thoughtful questions that help reinforce the idea that you’re the ideal candidate. 

Jeff's Tip: When you get the chance to ask your own questions, take the opportunity to "tailor" the questions as we have taught in other articles (see top 14 questions to ask in an interview). You want to show that you have the qualities that the company puts a lot of value in, so utilize this opportunity to do so.

After the Interview

20. Follow Up! (Before You Leave the Interview)

At the end of your interview, make sure to reinforce the idea that you’re interested in the job. Wrap up with a phrase like, “I’m really looking forward to an opportunity to be a part of such a dynamic company, and I really hope you select me.”  

Follow up that statement with a few questions about the next steps you should expect. Now is also the time to get a clear idea of the timetable they have. Not only are you gathering what could be valuable prep information, it’s showing them that you’re eager to continue on and do whatever it takes to get to the subsequent round. 

21. Send a Thank-You Note

For every interview you go on, expect to send a thank you note. Try to send it within the first 24 hours of your interview and no later than 48. 

A good rule of thumb is to keep it to just three paragraphs. Your first paragraph should be a brief thank you for their time and a reiteration of your interest in the job. Your second paragraph should be used to discuss your strengths and how you would benefit the company if hired. Your third paragraph is your wind-up. 

Include answers to any questions you might have gotten in the interview that you weren’t able to answer or wanted to expand on. Also, make sure to sign it clearly (so they know who it’s from!).

22. Leave Them Alone

The fastest way to lose a potential job is to become annoying or appear overeager, manic, or desperate. Since that’s the case, once you’ve sent your thank you note, consider your contact with the company done for the time being. 

If you’ve wrapped up your interview with the appropriate questions, you should have the company’s hiring timeline in your knowledge bank and will know when they should be reaching back out to you. Only contact the employer once that date has passed. If you contact the company prior to that date, you can come off as a pest, entitled, or a bother.

23. Work Your Networking Magic

It’s easy to get inside if you already have someone on the inside helping you out!

Although we said don’t contact the company once your interview is over and your thank you note was delivered, that doesn’t mean your networking should stop. If you have anyone in your network who might be able to positively influence the process, ask them to put in a good word for you with the hiring manager.

24. Know When the Battle Is Lost

You’re not going to get every job you apply for, and that means learning to accept defeat gracefully. If you aren’t hired, don’t take it personally and certainly don’t burn any bridges. 

Keep your emotions in check and maintain your professionalism. You never know what the future might hold, and just because one job with a company doesn’t work out, that doesn’t mean there might not be future opportunities there. 

25. Follow Up Rejection with a Thank You Note

While it might seem odd to thank a hiring manager for a job rejection, it’s actually a smart move. Not only will this distinguish you from other rejected candidates, but it will ensure that they see you on a positive note…and will hopefully keep you in mind for future possibilities.

Putting It All Together

So, there you have it, a list of fantastic and functional job interview tips and hacks that can help you get ahead. Next time you have an interview scheduled, grab this quick list and run through them from top to bottom. Better yet, take some time and really go over each interview tip because each one will really help take your interview to the next level.

When added together, these tips for job interviews will increase your odds of walking out of the interview room with a job offer in your back pocket. Take advantage of them all.

FREE: Job Interview Questions & Answers PDF Cheat Sheet!

Download our "Job Interview Questions & Answers PDF Cheat Sheet" that gives you word-for-word sample answers to some of the most common interview questions including:

  • What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
  • What Is Your Greatest Strength?
  • Tell Me About Yourself
  • Why Should We Hire You?
  • And more!

Click Here To Get The Job Interview Questions & Answers Cheat Sheet

About The Author

Jeff Gillis

Co-founder and CTO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Jeff is a featured contributor delivering advice on job search, job interviews and career advancement, having published more than 50 pieces of unique content on the site, with his work being featured in top publications such as INC, ZDnet, MSN and more. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.