Looking for a job doesn’t appeal to many people, but it’s a common part of adulthood. At some point, you’re either going to be let go from a job or dislike a job enough that you’ll do anything to make a career change.
A job interview is always required for anything substantial. Most of us can benefit by working on our interview skills. It’s not something many of us do well without considerable practice.
1. Know your story. One of the first interview questions you’re guaranteed to face is something along the lines of, “Tell me a little about yourself.” They want to know your basic story. There’s no excuse not to be prepared for this question. Think of a way to present yourself in an interesting and positive light.
2. Research the interview format. There are a variety of interview formats. You might face one on one questioning from your prospective boss, or you might have three separate interviews with your boss, his boss, and someone from human resources. Some interviews take place in front of 10 or more people.
3. Brush up on your body language. The way you sit and move counts for a lot in a job interview. There are plenty of free resources available online. Spend some time on this important skill.
4. Get a list of likely interview questions. Consider the position you’re interviewing for and consider the questions you’re likely to be asked.
- Take a look at your resume. What questions would you have if you were interviewing someone with your past? Are there holes in your resume?
- Find lists of interview questions online or in the bookstore.
- Compile a list of questions that you consider to be possibilities.
5. Work on your answers. Go through the list and imagine how you would answer each one. Anticipate logical follow-up questions and have suitable answers prepared for them.
6. Get a friend to help. Get a friend to help you by giving you a practice interview. If you dig enough, you’re likely to find that you have a friend, or friend of a friend, with experience conducting job interviews. Use several people and get as much experience as possible.
7. Make the interview realistic. Avoid just sitting on the couch in a t-shirt during these mock interviews. Wear the clothes you would actually wear. Attempt to recreate a similar environment and mood. Make the experience as realistic as possible.
8. Consider video recording the interview. Watch your performance. Watch once with the sound off. How do you look? How is your body language? What message are you sending? Now, just listen. Close your eyes and avoid watching. How do you sound? Finally, watch and listen simultaneously.
- What do you need to work on? What did you do well?
- Figure out what improvements you’d like to make and go through the mock interview process again.
9. Visualize success. Imagine yourself in the interview presenting yourself perfectly. See yourself answering the questions calmly and charismatically. It’s challenging to be successful if you can’t see it in your mind first.
You’ve already impressed your potential employer with your resume. Now it’s time to stand out when you meet them in person.
A job interview isn’t something we deal with often, so it’s not something you’ll do well without practice. You can’t gain enough experience during actual interviews to become an expert. Fortunately, it can be easy for you to outperform the competition if you’re willing to put in the work.