11 Tips to Ace Your Next Job Interview

February 6, 2018, 7:36 PM UTC
Successful job interview. Boss and new employee handshaking
Successful job interview. HR interview the new employee. Boss and new employee handshaking.
ijeab—iStockphoto/Getty Images

Okay, you’ve wowed your potential employer with your résumé and cover letter. Now, they actually want to talk to you — over the phone, via Skype, or in person.

You can rest assured, you’re definitely qualified for this job. Now, it’s up to you to seal the deal and ace the dreaded job interview.

Some people are naturals at selling themselves to hiring managers. Others aren’t. Either way, you’ve already put in a ton of effort, so you might as well take steps to rock your interview.

Here are 11 tricks that might be hard to master, but will take your interviewing experience to the next level:

Establish the right mindset beforehand

Get yourself hyped for the interview.

This can be pretty difficult for some people, especially if you’ve got a lot on the line. Try taking some deep breaths. A good trick for maintaining a sense of calm is visualizing your success and accepting that rejection’s a possibility, but not an inevitability.

If you’re nervous, as Steve Errey of “The Daily Muse” writes, it’s important not to assume your interviewer is there to be judgmental and mean. The hiring manager is not your opponent — odds are, they’re hoping to feel wowed.

“You were asked to come in because someone at the company wants to get to know you,” says Errey. “The hiring manager wants to hear more about the experiences he read about on paper, and I promise you no one is looking to see how much shaking you can do in those boots of yours.”

Read more: 7 ways to make your job application stand out, from a hiring manager who sees over 400,000 resumes a year

Prepare some good questions

Job interviews are scary. By the end of the ordeal, you’re probably thinking that the last thing you want to do is drag on the experience with more questions.

However, asking good questions that demonstrate your knowledge and interest in the job is exactly what you have to do in order to demonstrate your interest and engagement.

Because it’s often impossible for some people to think up informed questions on the spot, write some down beforehand. Rehearse them a bit, if that makes you feel more comfortable.

Break the ice with some good conversation starters

First impressions are important, so you really want to get off on the right foot at your interview.

Still, job interviews are often present a somewhat intimidating conversational environment, so finding the right conversation starter can be pretty tricky. It can be hard to make a perfect first impression when you’re super nervous to begin with.

Rachel Gillett previously reported for Business Insider that the key is making the job interviewer feel like they have your undivided attention; good conversation starters include asking about the person’s weekend or referencing a post you liked from their organization’s blog or social media platforms.

Maintain good body language

Projecting confidence doesn’t come easy to everyone. Still, it’s a crucial part of selling yourself in an interview.

Slouching, fidgeting, and averting your eyes are all behaviors that might make you appear awkward — or, worse, deceptive.

It’s definitely hard to control, but if you’re prone to these habits, make a special effort to reign them in during your interview.

Do your homework when it comes to money

Money — it’s an awkward subject to begin with, which makes it especially easy to bungle in a job interview.

Doing your homework is key to avoiding salary-related awkwardness in your conversation with the hiring manager. Know your worth. Know the market. When wages come up, try to frame it so the interviewer throws out the first number — and remember to remain flexible and honest throughout the discussion.

Take it slow

Take your time and do it right when it comes to job interviews.

Shana Lebowitz reported for Business Insider that this strategy especially benefits shy people, allowing them to show the interviewer that they’re confident enough to handle the pauses and engaged enough to carefully consider each answer. If you rush through your conversation, you risk sounding incoherent and nervous.

Stick to your thesis

If you’re anxious or speaking with an inexperienced interviewer, it can be easy to swerve off-track in your interview. You might end up babbling about your career highlights reel, when you really should be demonstrating the value you can bring to the organization.

Make sure to always keep the focus on what you can do for the organization. Treat your interview a bit like an essay. Everything you discuss should pertain to one thesis — why you’re a great fit for the job.

Pretend as if you’re about to start work tomorrow

Want to nail the job interview? Pretend that you already have the job. Matt Kaness, the CEO of online vintage-style clothing retailer ModCloth, previously told Business Insider about one job candidate who wowed him in an interview.

The applicant arrived with a brief that sketched out detailed suggestions on improving ModCloth’s app. Kaness was impressed with the dedication, enthusiasm, and level of research that went into the mock-up.

It’s a bit of extra effort, but it can really put you far ahead of the competition.

“This person saw ModCloth as a platform for them to do their best work and bring their craft to the table in a way that was additive,” Kaness said. “I loved seeing that initiative.”

Read more: 11 things you say that will automatically ruin your chances in a job interview

Really know what you want

It can be difficult to adopt this sort of thinking, especially when you’re at the beginning of your career or simply desperate for any job. But it’s an important trick to add to your arsenal. You can rock an interview, but if the gig’s not right for you, you’ll be back in the job search process soon enough.

So, during your next job interview, come with questions, try to ascertain whether or not the company is a good fit for you, and really listen to your gut.

Ask about next steps

Especially for individuals who are particularly nervous or new to the hiring process, it can feel a bit daunting to ask about next steps.

Still, asking about the follow up process demonstrate to the hiring manager that you’re pragmatic and serious about the job.

Plus, Natalie Walters previously reported for Business Insider, if your interviewer is enthusiastic with their response, that’s a sign that your interview went very well.

Read more: The 10 most cringe-worthy lies and mistakes hiring managers have caught on a résumé

Send the perfect thank you email

Let’s say you rocked your interview. It’s easy to become so relieved that you forget one crucial step.

You don’t want to have the job interview-equivalent of a Simone Biles-esque vault, only to fall flat on your face during the landing.

This happens when you really click with the hiring manager and then forget to send a thank-you note. Something as simple as a thank you email shows that you care about the job — in some cases, this could make or break your prospects.

Send a thank you note that looks something like this within 24 hours of your job interview.

Jacquelyn Smith contributed to a previous version of this article.

This article originally appeared on BusinessInsider.com