Job Interview Tips: 5 Things Most Job Seekers Don’t Know

Two professionals meet, one with a pocketful of job interview tips sure to land him the job

Two professionals meet, one with a pocketful of job interview tips sure to land him the job | Chris Hondros/Getty Images

The internet is brimming with interview tips — those for the seasoned job market vet, and those for the young men and women entering the workforce for the first time. By now, everyone knows the basics. You need to show up on time, for example, and run a comb through your hair. Practice keeping your body language in check, and have your resume and cover letter in tip-top shape.

Everybody knows that stuff. Interviewers expect it. Show up late or look like a slob? You might not even get through the door for your scheduled meeting.

But what about some of the lesser-known tips and tricks? Are there some still scant talked-about job interview tips that you can use to gain an advantage over the toughest interviewer? There are, and you can see them on the following pages. Whether you’re in a powerful position with many employers swooning after you, or trying to gain the mental edge by figuring out when you should schedule an interview, these five tips should help you get that job.

1. Everything is negotiable (sometimes)

A young man feigning weakness to improve his position

A young man feigning weakness to improve his position | iStock.com

If you’re a top-caliber candidate, employers are going to want you — and that means that they may be willing to bend and twist to get you on the payroll. Remember that everything is negotiable, given you’re in a position of power. Typically, you will go back and forth over salary, and leave it at that. But you can start making all kinds of demands — additional vacation days, ability to work remotely, free bus pass, etc. — and see what you can get. Of course, if your skill set is a dime a dozen, you could be laughed out of the office.

But it never hurts to ask!

2. Opposition research goes both ways

Snake from 'Metal Gear Solid' scouts his enemy

Snake from ‘Metal Gear Solid’ scouts his enemy | Konami

You can bet that your interviewer is digging up the dirt on you, so you better be damn sure you’re researching them, as well. With so many resources available to you these days (Glassdoor, PayScale, etc.), there’s no reason you shouldn’t have some valuable intel going into an interview. You can look up the person you’re meeting with on LinkedIn, for starters. And check out the company’s background and common gripes from past employees. Take the time, and go in with a mental dossier prepared.

3. Craft and use a narrative

The NeverEnding Story

The NeverEnding Story | Warner Bros.

“Tell me about yourself” is an invitation to take your interviewer on a journey. A journey they won’t forget, and that they’ll remember when it comes time to trim the list of candidates. Don’t just list off the things on your resume when an interviewer asks about your past. Use the chance to weave a narrative, or build yourself a story — a story about a guy or gal who is hungry, can pick up new skills, and who has many accomplishments under their belt. You don’t need to be Tolkien, but this is a method that will help you appear more confident and accomplished.

4. Take your nonverbal weaknesses seriously

A woman nervously wrings her hands

A woman nervously wrings her hands | Chaloner Woods/Getty Images

You know that you need to dress to impress when you go in for an interview, but your nonverbal communication goes much deeper than what you’re wearing. Hiring managers are turned off by anxious, nervous candidates. Though you’re not going to be able to rid yourself completely of those feelings, the ability to manage and control yourself will get you a long way. Watch your body language, of course, and you can even take measures to help keep excess sweat at bay with certain articles of clothing.

5. Timing is everything

Man checking his watch | Source: iStock

Man checking his watch | iStock.com

There actually is a perfect time to schedule an interview, and though you’re going to be subject to the whims and schedule of your interviewer, try and aim for a specific day and time: Tuesday, around 10:30. Seriously, there’s scientific evidence to back this up. If you can’t make that work, then try for a time that you know you’ll be the most alert and ready to go. If you’re a morning person, try for an earlier appointment, for example.

There are numerous ways to turn the table on a hiring manager, and using some of these tactics to the best of your ability can and will help you land the job.

Follow Sam on Facebook and Twitter @SliceOfGinger

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