From carrying a notebook to being real about your weaknesses, these tips might just make your next job interview.
Unfortunately, that fact makes a lot of people nervous. One study found that 92% of U.S. adults are anxious about job interviews—more than the percentage of people who feel anxious about going on a first date.
Fortunately, we have experts to share some best practices for nailing just any job interview, no matter the field. Steve Adcock, founder of millionairehabits.us and author of the upcoming book, "Millionaire Habits: How to Achieve Financial Independence, Retire Early, and Make a Difference by Focusing on Yourself First" offers nine simple tips for interviewing that can make a huge difference in how an employer sees you and help you stand out from the crowd in a positive way.
"I've hired hundreds in my career, and I typically knew in 2 minutes whether the candidate stood a chance," Adcock shared on X. "Here are 9 tips that will *instantly* separate you from everybody else that has nothing to do with your resume."
1. Carry a notebook
Adcock says that carrying a notebook makes you look professional—even if you don't end up using it—because it means you're prepared to write down anything that's important.
"It implies you're organized, and companies like organized workers," he writes.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised.
"I cannot count the number of candidates who looked like they wanted to kill themselves in the interview," Adock shares. "Smiling immediately gives you the upper hand in a sea of normal candidates."
3. Dress to impress
"It's stupid how often I've seen job candidates walk in with jeans or a T-shirt," Adcock writes. "Before the interview begins, I've moved on. If you can't dress up for ONE HOUR for an interview, you're not working with me."
Adcock says a full suit may not be necessary. It's more about showing you've made an effort.
4. Focus on requirements
Adcock says you should know the specific demands of the job and then speak to those.
"If the job requires particular skills, confidently talk about your experience with those things," he says. Use the specific words and names of what they're looking for—Microsoft Office, Agile Development Process, Cisco telephones, etc.
5. Do research
An employer wants to know that you have a good grasp of the company you're applying to work for, and knowing about the company also helps you answer interview questions more effectively.
"Know the company's leaders. Understand its business model. Memorize its mission statement," Adcock explains. "Even the slightest bit of research will help you answer questions the right way. Tailor your answers based on the company's mission. This works."
6: Ask a question at the end
Adcock points out that most interviews end with "Do you have any questions for us?"
"Have a question prepared. Never say 'Nope,' or, 'I think you already answered all my questions,'" he says. "Those are bullshit answers. Ask a good question."
7: Answer "Why us?"
"I asked this question a lot. The answer told me all I needed to know," says Adcock.
Be prepared to explain why you applied for the job and why you want to work there.
"Specific answers are best," Adcock says. "Generic answers mean you didn't prepare. Know your answer."
8. Talk about real weaknesses
People will often try to skirt the "What are your biggest weaknesses?" question, but Adcock says it's important to be real here.
"I've had candidates say, 'I'm equally strong in all areas.' Or, 'I care too much,' yada yada. Wrong answer," he says. "It's bullshit, and your interviewers know it. We all have weaknesses. I've hired people based on their answers to this question alone."
9: Conserve the cologne/perfume
This one may not be high on your list, but a strong scent can immediately ruin a first impression.
"I remember one candidate who bathed in clove oil before the interview. You could smell it down the hall," says Adcock. "Be conservative when it comes to smells, jewelry, or other distractions. Keep it simple."
As you can see, Adcock's tips are only partially about how to answer interview questions. Most of them are simple adjustments in behavior or preparation you should do ahead of time to give yourself the best chance at making an impression on an employer. Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, no doubt, but a little advance prep can go a long way and keeping these tips in your pocket might just help you land the job of your dreams.