A little while back, I conducted an interviewing workshop where I polled the group on how many times had they interviewed and how many times had they practiced interviewing. Out of 16 people, only two had interviewed at all in the previous year – and none of them had practiced.
How can you expect to be any good at something if you don’t practice? How can you be any good at something you only do once or twice a year?
Quick answer: You can’t be any good at interviewing if you don’t prepare and don’t practice. It’s like expecting a toddler to walk well the first time – it’s just not going to happen.
This is like getting in shape for an athletic event; there are things you need to do and continue doing now and throughout your job search to be at the top of your game.
Here are a few quick interview preparation techniques to try:
Create A List Of Interview Questions
Obtain a list of most-asked interview questions. You can find them all over the Internet. Or, at the next networking event you attend, ask people what questions they’ve been asked during interviews.
Write Your Response
Sit down, think through your approach to the response, and write down your response to each question. Walk away from what you’ve done and come back later to reread what you’ve written. You may discover that you were brilliant, or that you need to refine your thoughts.
Read Your Responses Out Loud
When we go through the process of writing and then reading what we’ve written out loud, it helps solidify the message in our brain. It also helps us really hear whether or not what we’ve written sounds good. Don’t memorize your responses or they will sound memorized when you do the interview. Your brain will remember the main points of what you want to convey if you make the list of questions, write your response, and read your response out loud.
Refresh yourself on a regular basis, like weekly or minimally bi-monthly. You want to read your answers out loud over and over again.
Before your interview, it’s important to practice what you’re planning to say. Here are a few tips:
Conduct Mock Interviews
Find other job seekers and friends who would be willing to spend a half hour interviewing you. They can cook up their own questions or you can give them your list of questions. Make sure to give them a copy of your resume so they have a basis for their questions.
Ask For Feedback
Find out if your answers sounded good and if you conveyed energy and interest. Ask if you had any nervous habits that you need to eliminate or body language that doesn’t work well. This will be one of the few times you might get some useful feedback throughout your entire job search process; so ask for it and do something with it to improve.
If you haven’t done these steps, you aren’t ready for an interview. You might think well “on your feet,” but think of how much better you will be if you have prepared and practiced. If you don’t think well on your feet, this is a critical activity you need to be scheduling right now.
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