Have you ever felt as if you’d sent off a brilliant resume and outstanding cover letter, only to stumble in the interview…and miss the job offer as a result?
If so, you’re not alone. Many job seekers view the interview as the single most stressful part of the search process. By preparing and practicing your interview skills, however, you can build your confidence, give a better performance, and improve your chances of moving to the top of a potential employer’s “must hire!” list. Here’s how:
Plan and prepare.
The person who interviews you for a new job has only one concern in mind: “What can this person do for our company?”
To prepare for each interview, keep this perspective in mind as you gather information about the company, talk to professional colleagues, review the job description, and think about which of your many accomplishments you want to mention in the interview. Remember that your goal is to show the interviewer you can deliver for this company, in this job, with these co-workers and supervisors – and plan your approach accordingly.
Know what types of questions to expect.
Just as no two companies are the same, no two interviews are identical, either. By talking to colleagues who have interviewed for similar positions, working with your recruiter, or gathering information from other sources, you can learn more about the types of questions to expect during the interview. For instance, many companies skip traditional questions like “Tell us about yourself” in favor of “behavioral” interview questions that ask about specific experiences, such as “tell us about a time you faced a conflict between two co-workers.”
Practice answering interview questions.
Practicing in a mock interview setting can help you calm your nerves, troubleshoot your approach, and prepare you for the interview itself. Work with a trusted friend or colleague who will agree to play the “interviewer” and choose the questions. In your answers, focus on describing specific accomplishments and projects you have completed and keeping your answers concise, clear, and ordered.
Work with a recruiter.
Your recruiter can help you prepare for interviews with specific companies by providing information about the organization and tips on how to navigate its specific interview processes.