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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.

Not preparing and over-preparing can both backfire.

Don’t be the person who overestimates their interview savvy.  Times have changed; employer’s expectations are higher and 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 to burn yourself out, or being too laid back.  Create a strategic 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 that you are the right fit for the role, align every answer you give at the interview with the employer’s buying motivators (core needs). Identify buying motivators to keep answers focused.  Prove to employers that you are the problem-solver they seek!

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 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. 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 gain access to custom interview coaching and modern resources to support your job search: www.careerimpressions.ca .

Learn more directly from employers about what they DO NOT appreciate during an interview:  The 5 P’s of Interview Perfection.

Overestimated Interview Savvy

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