Practice Makes Perfect sarah December 28, 2022

Practice Makes Perfect

MY LIFE MAGAZINE - Winter 2022-2023
10 Ways to Improve Your Job Interview Skills

By Anna Leah Swafford and James Harley

You applied for a job and now you have an interview with the hiring manager. How can you make a great impression? Two employment experts offer tips to help you prepare and nail your job interview.

Know Your Own Skills
  • Think about your strengths and weaknesses when being interviewed. “I like to gauge how you personally feel about your own interview skills,” said Kris Stewart, an employment specialist at Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries. “Maybe you feel like you over talk or don’t talk enough. We can focus on those points.” For people who haven’t had a job before, Stewart works on basic interview and conversation skills.
  • You should also think about if you want support during the job interview. “Job coaches can play a pivotal role during the interview process,” said Nathan Beck, transition and employment navigation supervisor for Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services. “It’s a personal decision and one you should discuss with your support team.”
  • A job coach can help you understand the questions in an interview. Stewart has supported many people in job interviews and helps, if needed. “Sometimes I rephrase the question, so you can understand what’s being asked,” he said. “Maybe you’re struggling with the question or start answering it the wrong way. I can help navigate you in the right direction.”
Prepare & Practice
  • Mock interviews with someone you trust can provide immediate feedback on how to improve, Stewart said.
  • Beck suggests learning about the company’s culture and values before the interview. Most of the time, you can find this information online.
Dress To Impress
  • “First impression is key to interview success,” Beck said. “Stay positive. Go into the interview confident and prepared.”
  • Stewart said business casual is always a good choice. For men, this can be khakis and a nice button-down shirt. For women, this can be dress slacks or a skirt, and a blouse. Take your lead from the company dress code.
Set Yourself Up For Success
  • Make sure you arrive at least 10 minutes early and know how to get to the job interview location. You should bring a copy of your résumé, a list of references, and a pen and paper to take notes, Beck said. It’s also a good idea to have questions for the hiring team.
  • In the interview, provide the information that’s asked. “If they ask, ‘do you have reliable transportation?’, that’s a simple question that needs a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer,” Stewart said.
  • Stewart suggests having the employer’s phone number easily available. That way you can call if you have an issue on the way to the interview that might make you late. You could also bring your ID in case they offer you the job on-the-spot.
Young woman wearing a yellow short-sleeved top under her blue Kroger apron, standing at a register, smiling into the camera.
(Photo Provided) This past summer, Natalie Gibson applied for a job at her neighborhood Kroger. She went to the store with her employment support team to follow up on her application. The hiring manager was impressed with her friendly personality and initiative, and Natalie, 16, was interviewed on-the-spot. She did well and was immediately offered a part-time job as a front-end courtesy clerk.
Cropped photo showing a printed resume in someone's hands on the left side of the screen. Across a table is a woman interviewing for a job wearing a black blazer over a white blouse.
Common Interview Questions
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What attracted you to our company?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • Tell me about your strengths.
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Tell me about how you solved a problem at work.
  • Do you have reliable transportation?
  • What does customer service mean to you?
  • How would you deal with an upset customer?
  • Why should we hire you?

You can search for common interview questions from the company where you applied for a job, especially if it’s a large employer like Kroger.

You can also practice answering questions in the mirror.