Interviewing is so much more than showing up and answering questions. I personally believe that successful interviewers land jobs. Simply put, when you interview well; you can receive a job offer; obtain employment and generate income. There is a connection between interviewing well and making money, which means none of us can afford to not interview well. I am still taken aback when clients inform me that they do not capture examples and prepare them prior to the interview. In other words, there’s no practice before the championship game. When I think about the world’s greatest entertainers, artists and athletes, they all have one thing in common: PRACTICE! This isn’t to say that discipline, sacrifice, hard work, dedication, coaching and collaboration isn’t involved. I’m merely saying that practice prior to an interview is a significant component of preparation and you can’t afford to miss practice!
When asking clients to walk me through the steps they take to prepare for interviews, I typically hear the following:
- · Review the job description to ensure understanding
- · Research the organization
- · Prepare appropriate attire and questions to ask
- · Think about examples and scenarios to use during the interview
- · Know exactly where the appointment is located; obtain directions
While these responses are correct, there is so much more to consider if your goal is to set yourself apart from the competition and ultimately receive a job offer. Before you can begin to prepare responses, review the job description and identify the skills necessary for the role. Once you’re aware of the skills needed to excel in the position, you simply prepare responses that will demonstrate your proficient use of the skill. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, not exactly. Simple and easy are two different things; interview preparation takes time. In other words, if you’ve decided to prepare for an interview after receiving a call from a recruiter or hiring manager, you may not have enough time to prepare effectively.
Regardless of how much time you have prior to the interview, please don’t make these common mistakes as you prepare:
- 1. Neglecting to use “I”. The objective isn’t arrogance; it’s confidence in your ability to demonstrate your fit for the role and organization. When you show up for an interview; show up to sell your skills, bring your authentic self and please don’t use a collection of examples that demonstrate what he, she and they did. The appointment is about whether or not YOU can do the job, so be comfortable with sharing your experiences and how they have positively impacted the organization.
- 2. Using vague examples. You have to find a delicate balance between sharing enough detail in a concise manner and not rambling on. If you’re not familiar with the STAR format used during interviews, please research this topic. The examples you share should tell a brief story; there should be a beginning (1-2 sentences), a middle (where you share the details), and an ending (the result). Please understand that whoever is conducting the interview must have enough detail from the examples you provide to determine whether or not you have the skills/experience needed to perform in the role.
- 3. Kill the ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts)! You have to feed your mind positive thoughts and images. One of the worst things you can do prior to an interview is remind yourself how terrible you are at interviewing, how much confidence you lack and how you hate to interview. You will probably achieve what you believe, so remain positive. Encourage yourself, practice and above all else, give your best!