How to Ace Your Next Job Interview

Land the gig of your dreams with the 10 interview tips you can't afford to not know.

Land the gig of your dreams (or at least one that'll pay the bills!) with the 10 job interview tips you can't afford not to know.

So unless you've been living in a hole...under a rock...on Mars, you know that the job market is ultra-competitive thanks to the worst financial crisis in 80 years and a 9.5-percent unemployment rate (yikes!). The result: There's more competition than ever for fewer openings. Avoid a rejection pile by interviewing like a pro with job interview tips from EASTCOASTBRIDE, a corporate trainer, and DR.LORETTA, a medical director, who've got a combined 20+ years in the hiring biz! Here are their top 10 job interview tips:

1. Pack like a pro
Extra copies of your resume? Check. Examples of your work? Check. Pen, paper, and printed directions on how to get there? Check, check, check. Even if you submitted your resume online (and they obviously got it, hence the interview), having hard copies is crucial -- especially if you're interviewing with more than one person.

2. Know the dress code
Unless you're applying somewhere very casual (think: Something artsy, in a loft), wear a suit (yes, a skirt suit or a dress with a blazer works too). You can always dress it down with a colorful top or a funky piece of jewelry for a more business-casual setting. Just be sure to stay away from anything low-cut or too formfitting.

3. Be on time
Walk in late, and you might as well not walk in at all. Nothing screams "irresponsible" more than a tardy arrival, and employers won't take lightly to you wasting their time. Eliminate any risk of being late by printing directions the night before (you might even want to do a test drive), plugging the route into your GPS and leaving with plenty of spare time for wrong turns or gridlock.

4. Kill 'em with confidence
You don't want to act like you own the place (hello, you haven't even gotten the job yet!), but smiling and making eye contact with your interviewer will show her you believe in yourself and that you've got poise. Put out vibes that say, "I'm the perfect person for this job."

5. Give straight answers
Almost every interviewer will ask you to tell them one of your weaknesses. Don't make the mistake of saying, "Sometimes I work way too hard." The BS detector will go right off. Instead, be self-aware enough to notice a fault, and follow with how you've worked to overcome it.

6. Do your research
At the end of the convo, chances are the interviewer is going to ask if you have any questions -- so have questions! Check out the company's website, recent news coverage and the background of the person interviewing you. Be prepared with big-picture and job-specific questions, and don't be afraid to ask the interviewer about their experience at the company.

7. Know the next step
You'll save yourself a lot of time (and stress) checking your voicemails and inbox by asking the interviewer what the next steps are and when they might occur. It will also help you plan when to follow up.

8. Snag biz cards
After each interview, request a business card from whomever you meet with. Write a thank-you note (or email if the position is being filled quickly) reiterating your interest in the job, and be sure to send it off right away.

9. Avoid stalker tendencies
Sure, you haven't thought about much else besides the interview since it happened, but remember that not everything revolves around you. Call to follow up, but if they say they're making a decision by Friday, resist the urge to pick up the phone at 3 p.m. that day. Stuff happens -- people get sick or busy or have to deal with a sudden hold in the hiring process. So chill out.

10. Don't burn bridges
If by some crazy chance you don't get the gig, avoid slamming down the phone. Instead, express your appreciation that they considered you and ask that they keep you in mind for openings down the road.