10 Tips to Ace Your Interview (Part 2)

Interview preparation is not what it used to be!

Lisa B. Marshall
4-minute read

This article is the continuation of our two-parter covering quick and dirty tips for acing your interview. You’ll want to be sure to read part one on Interviewing Job Tips before you read this one.

Interviewing Tip #6: Smile

Remaining upbeat and happy can be big hurdle for job seekers. This may sound strange, but research by social psychologist, Robert Zajonc, showed that smiling for at least 30 seconds brings about physiological changes that reliably lift your mood. It’s the opposite of what you’d think, the act of smiling makes you feel better, it’s not necessarily that you feel good and then smile.

So, find a photo that makes you smile. Put it on your desktop, put it on your phone, print it and put it in your wallet. Use your “happy photo” to smile for a few times a day. You’ll feel better. Really.

For a few years now, I have been using an adorable shot of my twins. Just thinking about the picture makes me feel good.

Use your “happy photo” during phone interviews and while you're waiting in the lobby for an in-person interview. Maybe even use it along with a mirror and re-record your voice message so that it’s upbeat too. You may be surprised at how much this can really help.

Interviewing Tip #7: Be Prepared for the Tough Questions

Most interviews start with “Tell me about yourself” or “Walk me through your resume.” This traditional question is meant to be an easy icebreaker, but many people struggle with it. Your response should be no longer than three minutes and should include your “ex” factors. That’s “e-x” for experience, expertise, and excellence. 

Review the job description for characteristics that would be desirable for that organization or position in general. Then from your experience, prepare example stories that could be adapted to several different characteristics.

First, you provide a high-level summary of your most relevant work history and education. Then give a summary of specific past achievements that are related to the needs of this organization. And finally, wrap up by describing skills or traits that make you who you are.

Here’s a brief example, “I’ve been a help desk manager for five years and I’m also a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. I have a strong track record of retaining top quality employees and in fact, I reduced turnover by 10% in my last two positions. I thrive in the fast pace of the help desk environment and enjoy the challenge of effectively communicating to both non-technical and technical people.”

Notice how the “ex” factors, (again that’s your experience, expertise, and excellence) together make up your unique selling proposition and that’s great way to start or end your interview. >


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.