It has happened…you got called to interview for a job you have your heart set on. Awesome!
Yet you haven’t been on an interview for quite some time, and perhaps you are feeling a little rusty. Do you:
A: brush nervousness aside and assume that what worked in the past will work again? You are confident that if you just go-with-the-flow and not sweat things too much you’ll come across as honest and genuine.
B: practice canned responses to typical behavioral or situation interview questions? I mean, how many different ways can you answer a question that starts with: “tell me about a time when….”…..right?!
C: spend hours anxiously analyzing everything you can find about interviews? You are determined to cram in every detail and arm yourself with every possible strategy, even it it fries your nerves and confuses your strategy.
The answer is none of the above.
Don’t be the person who overestimates their interview savvy. It will likely backfire and leave you flummoxed as to why you never get an offer. Times have changed; employer’s expectations are higher and your job competitors could be much more advanced in their interview skills. You can not risk taking the interview process lightly.
To best prepare, you should:
• Get organized! This includes researching the company, re-reading the job description in detail, finding the right outfit, and knowing your skill sets inside and out. It does not mean speed cramming or being too laid back. Create a step-by-step action plan and stick to it to avoid getting overwhelmed or off track.
• Decipher buying motivators. Employers don’t want canned responses; they want you to relay your skills in a way that interests them and shows value. To demonstrate you are the right fit for the role you want to align every answer you give with the employer’s buying motivators (core skills and requirements needed to succeed in the job). Identify buying motivators to keep your answers focused.
• Practice…practice…practice. Be ready to answer questions with a variety of well thought-out answers that align your offering with the employer’s needs (buying motivators). You also want to avoid sounding mechanical or wooden and the right amount of practice can help information flow more naturally. Leaving your responses to chance escalates the probability that information will be off track or void of value, so practice speaking in front of a mirror until details are delivered with ease.
• Dress to impress. If you don’t own a suit, get one. It is not ok to show up in anything but the best for each interview – especially at the senior-level, even if the organization dresses casually. Remember that first impressions count for a lot and if you want to earn a lot of money (or more money) you need to look expensive!
• Compile good questions to ask during or after the interview. Yes, for YOU to ask. You haven’t forgotten that an interview is a two-way assessment, right? Ensure you put thoughtful consideration into what types of details you need to know about the role to make an informed decision (should an offer be presented), and to show interest and enthusiasm for the job.
• Finally, minimize stress. Allow yourself lots of rest the night prior, set aside time to get ready prior to the interview, know how to get to the location in advance, leave lots of time to travel, and ensure you arrive 10-15 minutes early. Proactive preparation will ease anxiety.
These simple steps will help boost your confidence and better prepare you for one of the toughest job search processes. Never overestimate your skill (especially if you haven’t interviewed for awhile or you are not getting offers) and never underestimate the importance of the employment interview!
Visit me online to learn more about my interview coaching services: www.careerimpressions.ca .