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5 Job Interview Hacks HR Won't Tell You

Essential advice for anyone trying to get hired

By Jessica Fender

How do you guarantee that a job interview goes well? Of course, you research the company. You ask questions. You absolutely arrive on time. You dress appropriately. The only problem is that you’re competing against other candidates who also know to do each of these things. Not only that, since all of you made the cut, you can assume that everyone is reasonably qualified.

Job Interview
Credit: Adobe Stock

You need an edge.

There are some things you can do before the interview, such as update your resumé or join a job search support group. But what can you do during the interview itself?

Actually, there are five interview hacks that can help charm an interviewer:

1. Focus more on likeability. Your resumé proved you have the qualifications. During your interview, focus on demonstrating what your resumé didn’t show: you are a warm, likeable person.

Interviews boil down to two things. First, is the person competent? You should have that covered. Next, is the person someone others will want to be around on a daily basis? Try to focus on that. After all, you are the only one who can show that you have a great personality. A few things you can do to exude warmth and likeability:

  • Smile
  • Tell a story
  • Remember the interviewer’s name and use it
  • Speak positively about others

2. Ask questions that get interviewers talking. When you ask great questions, interviewers know you’ve done your research. That alone is impressive. You can also show that you’re insightful if you ask questions that go beyond the standard “Can you tell me what kind of projects I would be working on?” inquiries.

Ask questions encouraging the interviewer to share his or her opinions, to explain things, even tell stories.

Also, do deep research about the employer and its field before you meet, and then ask about industry news and what the interviewer thinks of the latest developments.

3. Get to know your interviewer. You can bet your interviewer will be researching you. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with your doing the same. Take some time to learn as much as you can about him or her. Here are some places to look:

  • LinkedIn and other professional social media accounts
  • The business’ social media pages
  • Team member and employee profile pages on the company website
  • Industry publications (such as articles your interviewer has written or is mentioned in)

From this, you should be able to put together a bit of a cheat sheet of the interviewer’s interests, accomplishments and experiences. During the interview, use this information to keep the conversation going. Give the interviewer openings to discuss himself or herself. Show a sincere interest about the person and his or her role at the company. Remember: people love talking about themselves.

4. Think of the interview like a movie plot. Most people can still enjoy a good movie even if the beginning isn’t great. This is because of the peak-end rule. And as humans, we don’t form opinions based on entire interactions. Instead, we tend to most remember both the high point of an interaction and the last moments of it.

If you can work the interview so each of those are positive, your interviewer is likely to walk away with an overall positive opinion of you. The part you control most is the end of the interview: smile, express interest, and thank the interviewer (by name!) for talking with you.

5. Be amazing to everyone you encounter. It’s not unheard of for interviewers to employ other people in their organizations to work as unofficial interview screeners. The receptionist or front desk person is frequently called on to play this role. HR does this to get information on your personality and demeanor when you are around people you aren’t necessarily trying to impress.

Remember that everyone you encounter at the employer, from the parking attendant to the receptionist, may have some input. It’s best to be in “interview mode” no matter who you’re talking to.

Use these hacks and you’ll help ensure that the interview goes in your favor.

Jessica Fender is a professional writer, independent blogger and chief content officer at She is passionate about wise team management and self-development as a leader. Featured on Freelancer and Addicted2Success. Read More
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