3 Powerful Tips for Your Next Job Interview
3 Powerful Tips for Your Next Job Interview
Let’s be real, no one really enjoys interviewing for jobs. It can be nerve recking but it’s necessary and trust me, you can do well in the interview if you prepare. There are tons of articles and material available to help you and here are 4 tips that I’ve used and shared with clients for interview preparation.
Understand the Interview Format
Years ago, I remember being invited to a company for an interview and I was elated. I laid out my best navy-blue suit, had my resumes in hand, and a bright smile on my face. When I arrived, they had me waiting in a room with approximately 5 other people whom I realized were my competition. After approximately 10 minutes of waiting, the interviewers walked in and then I said to myself “oh my goodness, a group interview!”. The experience was awful! And I had no idea that this was the format for the interview.
I share this experience because it’s the exact reason why, before the interview, you should ask questions like “Who will I be meeting with during my interview?” or “How should I prepare for the interview?”. This is critical for you to mentally prepare and decide how you can be your best self in the situation despite what interview format the employer may use. It’s ok to ask! In my experience, I truly appreciated when candidates wanted to know who they’d meet with and what to expect during an interview.
1. Update Your Resume
Have you ever applied for a role, and did not receive a response until several months later? As those months have passed maybe you’ve graduated from school, learned a new skill, or now serve on the board for a professional organization. In my experience, I’ve sat in front of candidates and asked questions about their resume only to learn that it was outdated. This isn’t automatically a deal breaker, but it does benefit you to provide an interviewer with the most accurate information about your knowledge, skills, and ability.
Therefore, when you’ve been invited to participate in an interview, be sure to update your resume ahead of time. If you’re able, share the updated resume with the employer prior to your interview to give them time to review your updated information. Additionally, you should bring a few copies of your resume to the interview; ensure that you have one copy for yourself and everyone that you’ll meet with during the interview.
Also, most employers have a candidate portal and if you’ve created one, be sure to update this information as well. At times, an employer will refer to this profile or print the information you’ve provided for the interview. Yes, it takes time, but you’ll thank me later.
2. Use an Interview Technique
People laugh at me when I share with them that I do not enjoy being on the candidate side of the table during an interview. For me, it’s the unknown and as much as I’d prepare, I was nervous about the “curve ball” questions that I wasn’t prepared to answer. That’s when I was introduced to the STAR interview technique. Sure, there are many ways to prepare for an interview, but this method allows a candidate to share their experiences in a concise format with actual examples. You can share your problem-solving skills, teamwork, decision making abilities and so much more by utilizing this method when you’re faced with behavioral formatted questions which is used by most employers today (i.e. Tell me about a time when…, Describe how you…). STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action and Result. Below are brief descriptions of STAR:
· S is for Situation: this is the picture you paint for the interviewer of the circumstances
· T is for Task: this is where you’ll provide details of the responsibilities that you had in that situation
· A is the Action: this is when you should describe what you did in the situation in order to fulfill your responsibilities
· R is the Result: this is your time to summarize your outcome that was achieved due to the actions that you took in the situation.
When preparing to use this technique, spend time thinking about your past experiences and accomplishments. Jot down something to help you remember these experiences so when you’re in-front of the interviewer, you won’t need to take a lot of time to respond to questions. For more details or resources on this technique, you can visit sites such as thebalancecareers.com or Indeed.com.
3. Use a Mirror or a Friend
Many years ago, I interviewed a candidate and I will never forget my experience with her. As the candidate, there were many things that stood out during the interview that were major mistakes but the one mistake I’ll never forget was her body language. Whenever she’d respond to a question she leaned back in the chair and literally turned and faced the wall opposite of my colleague and me. Now I do understand that everyone doesn’t do well with eye-contact and there are tips and tricks you can research to help you overcome that, but she literally turned her chair to face the wall when she provided her response. At one point, heck I looked at the wall as well during her responses (I couldn’t help myself).
Our body language and facial expressions, at times, say a lot more than our words. To help correct this or recognize how your body is responding, get in front of a mirror and practice responding to interview questions. This will allow you to see for yourself what happens (many times subconsciously) with your face and body when you’re responding. Or you can do mock interviews with a friend (preferably one that will be very honest with you and someone who knows what to look for during an interview) or hire a professional.
Check out resource online that can educate you on body language interview mistakes such as Indeed.com or Forbes.com.
You Got This!
Interviewing can be tricky and stressful. But keep this in mind, just as they are interviewing you…you’re interviewing them. Prepare, practice, and present yourself as the highly skilled professional you are; with these 4 tips I’ve shared, it should make your preparation process a little easier. Be sure to research other tips that you can use for your interview preparation including interview attire, questions to ask, and how you should follow up after an interview.
Remember, they’re already interested in you because you got the interview. Prepare, practice and present your best self! You got this!
Dr. Toya Sherman, CareerCoach
Want to Connect? Email me firstname.lastname@example.org follow me on FaceBook at It’s Possible, LLC