Interviews, why are we still talking and stressing about them? What is the secret of landing that dream job or indeed the job you may so badly need at any particular moment. I came into interviewing very late in life and I am grateful for that. Why be grateful of that late start? Because at 37 I already had fought a few wars and developed some kind of personality before I went out into the big bad world to bid for my daily bread in exchange for my talents.
I had freelanced, I had been at home parent and I had gone back to University, all of that without anything that resembled a formal interview.
That’s right I had my first formal interview at 37, and it was very bad, I wish I had it recorded because it would have given us all a good laugh. The truth was that to say that I was beyond unprepared would also be the understatement of the year.
I was very lucky then to have some one in my life who taught me EVERYTHING about interviews and I was appreciative of the direction and the advice , it was a crash course but I was a good student , I needed a job and I needed it yesterday and this much I have learned.
Rule Number 1.
Practice makes perfect, it’s inevitable so embrace it with Gusto. Draft out your plan and lay it out. Research the company you are hoping will hire you and do it well, Interviewers will dismiss generalised content obtained on the internet. Approach your investigation from various angles , Story of the company, current situation on the market ,its product and competitive edge , main competitors, culture and values to name a few .
Rule Number 2.
Go through that job description with a fine tooth comb and be honest about your capabilities and knowledge for each task and responsibility. Truth be told, none of us will go into an interview and say “No I don’t think I could do that!” However if you are interviewing for a position where you feel the gaps jumping out of that job spec, it is imperative that you know exactly how you plan to close them.
Rule Number 3
Write your interview questions out and try and have a mixture of complex and straightforward questions as you will get both.
Write your answers out and give 5 objections for each scenario answer , yes five , I learned early on that sometimes interviewers are satisfied with one good strong answer and move on and others will be spurred on to dig deeper and deeper to see what we are made of. I once told an interviewer “With the information that I have available to me, I believe I have covered all possible scenarios but this is what I found worked well in the past”. Make sure you only tell them the detail that transferable to the scenario you are discussing, if you can’t make it applicable it won’t work. ( Yes got that job)
Rule Number 4
Talk out loud! That’s right! Only practice will make this one right , it is by practice and by talking it out loud that you will become less scripted as you will begin to find your own style and individuality . The more you hear yourself and the more you like your answers and the sound of your own voice, the more will others will appreciate and respect you for being YOU.
I know what you are saying, that you hate the sound of your own voice and the way you hesitate , the way you keep repeating the same words or waffle on… all of the above sisters and brothers, we are not professional broadcasters or polished chat show hosts , so none of us sound polished withoutpractice. Record yourself and make it better, do it until you feel, yes this is to date my best performance!
Look forward to it, every opportunity is to be enjoyed don’t curb your enthusiasm if you feel it. When I was nervous before exams or interviews my mother used to tell me” think of it as an opportunity and not a trap, do you think the lecturers who taught you want to fail you?” Or “They called you for an interview so they are interested in hiring you.”
What is important is that you go into that room with solid honest prep on your back ready to tell them about the type of worker and thinker you are. Last but not least, no self-flagellation or emotional post mortem because if you gave it your all and they still did not hire you, that job was not for you and that much I definitely know.