How to Practice Interviewing
By Elijah Thomas
Getting your résumé through the initial review phase is an accomplishment unto itself. But then you’ve got to nail the interview. As with so many other pursuits, practice makes perfect.
REFINE YOUR ANSWERS
Interviewing can be stressful, in particular if you’re worried about misspeaking. The good news is that there are often standard questions involved with these discussions, meaning you have an opportunity to refine your answers before going face-to-face with someone who will decide your employment fate. They’re likely to ask you about previous experience in the field, what brought you to this job opening, and things you’d like to accomplish were you to get the job. Determine what your answers will be in advance, and make sure you’re ready to put your best foot forward.
TRY A MOCK INTERVIEW
Your answers should be limited to a few sentences for each question so that the interview can proceed. Rehearsing alone is a good place to start, but nothing beats personal interaction. Ask a friend to sit in for a mock interview, with a provided list of talking points. This will help you further refine your answers, as they ask follow up questions. You can also work on eye contact.
FOCUS ON ATTITUDE
There’s an old saying: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Looking the part and meeting the job requirements won’t secure the job if you don’t have the right attitude. Job recruiters are looking for enthusiastic, collaborative candidates, in particular if you are going to be in a public-facing position or placed in a leadership role. Don’t disparage your last boss, or talk dismissively of previous tasks you’ve been charged with. Sometimes the difference between getting hired and getting overlooked is nothing more than having an upbeat point of view.
There is more than one interviewing style, so it’s important to be nimble. Some hiring managers are interested in thoughtful, more detailed conversations, while others may be cut and dry. They’ll only ask a few general questions, then move on to the next person. The most successful candidates can “read the room,” quickly ascertaining what’s required. You’ll need to craft your answers according to these expectations in real time. No matter the interviewing style, remember to make your responses short and to the point. You can chat more after you’re hired.