If you search for advice on how to ace an interview, you’ll find thousands of tips on how to prepare. People prepare for interviews in ways that work best for them. It all comes down to showing your best self—staying confident, professional, engaged, and responsive. For some, the hard part comes after the interview: waiting for a response and wondering if you made a good impression. Whether or not you got the position is partly beyond your control, but if you can check off every one of the ten items below, consider the interview a personal success!
1) DID I PUT MY BEST FOOT FORWARD?
“You only have one chance to make a good first impression.” What did you leave the interviewer with? Ask yourself, did I:
- Dress to impress? Professional attire says you’re serious, according to Forbes.
- Smile and speak clearly? A friendly demeanor and steady voice strengthens your words.
- Have positive body language? Good posture exudes confidence. Don’t fidget!
- Maintain eye contact? This also conveys confidence and interest.
- Behave courteously? Treat your interviewer with respect. Thank them for their time.
2) DID I PRESENT MYSELF HOW I WANT TO BE PRESENTED?
You want to show the interviewer everything they need to see to make their decision. You control how they see you. Did you:
- Highlight achievements? You can be proud of what you’ve done without bragging—this demonstrates talent and capabilities.
- Emphasize relevant skills? What makes you right for the position? Make sure they know!
- Avoid negative comments? Even if you left your last position under horrible circumstances, it shows a great level of professionalism if you have only positive things to say about your past experiences.
3) DID I EXUDE CONFIDENCE?
Consider your interview a success if you can say that you were:
- Believed in your abilities
- Showed the interviewer you’re worth believing in
Confidence is key to convincing your interviewer that you are the person they should choose.
4) DID I SEEM INTERESTED?
No matter the position you’re interviewing for, you can show you want it by:
- Doing your research
- Expressing clear interest
- Showing enthusiasm
- Following up with thoughtful questions (see number 6)
5) DID I ANSWER EVERY QUESTION?
You can’t really get away with not answering an interview question. Still, people sometimes beat around the bush or provide incomplete answers. This doesn’t effectively communicate why you are qualified for the position. To gauge how you answered each question, ask yourself:
- Were you as direct as possible?
- Did the interviewer seem satisfied?
- Did they ask relevant follow-up questions?
- Did you get your point across?
6) DID I ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?
One of the most important things is to ask the right questions. You need to know as much about the position as possible, and asking thoughtful questions reinforces your interest. These articles offer some interesting ideas for questions to ask:
- “The Best Interview Questions You Never Ask” (Forbes)
- “The 10 Best Interview Questions to Ask” (US News)
- “ 8 Questions You Should Ask Your Interviewer To Show How Smart You Are” (Business Insider)
7) DID I GET A GOOD SENSE OF THE POSITION?
If nothing else, you should leave an interview with a solid idea of what you just interviewed for. Ask yourself:
- Do I know what the position entails?
- Do I know what will be expected of me?
- How will I play into the larger scheme of things?
- What kind of team will I work with?
- Is there room for growth?
- Will the position fit into my schedule, especially with classes?
8) DID I LEAVE WITH REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS?
Leaving an interview should give you, not just a sense of the position, but a sense of what your next steps are. You know that you should follow up with your interviewer, but beyond that, did you leave with a good idea of:
- When a decision will be made
- Who, if anybody, will contact you
- Whether or not there is a follow up interview
- If they need anything else
- When you should hear back
9) DID I STAY TRUE TO MYSELF?
Your interviewer needs to know who they’re choosing, so be as true to yourself as possible.
- Never lie on an interview.
- Provide only the relevant information.
- Always be honest.
If you told the truth about everything and put your best foot forward, then you conducted your interview with integrity.
10) DID I DO MY BEST?
At the end of the day, your best is all you can do. Only you know your personal best, and if you can honestly say that you did your best, you should be proud of how you interviewed. You won’t know exactly how the interview went until you receive the decision. This is the part of the end result that falls beyond your control. But you can control how you conduct yourself during the interview, and a stellar performance is its own success. Consult this list before you interview so you know what you should check off after. Give it your all, and the rest will follow!