Interviewing is a practicable skill. The more you practice answering behavioral interview questions (or questions appropriate to the interview type – more on that in future post) – the more comfortable and confident you’ll be. I’ve attached a link to a best interview preparation tool I’ve found from careerealism.com (no affiliation – I think this list is great and have chosen not to reinvent the wheel). When preparing for an interview, you don’t have to script yourself and memorize a pat answer. Most of us are poor actors and if you sound too “rehearsed” – you risk sounding a little boring. Prepare to the point of being comfortable in answering these questions, but still actively thinking as you speak. Tips for your practice:
- Learn and use the STAR method. This method will help you answer questions in an organized, succinct fashion. (google it). http://lmgtfy.com/?q=STAR+method
- There’s no perfect answer. These questions determine fit, motivation, and aim to predict future behaviors. Give the interviewer the best information you have to help them clarify these points about you (fit, motivation, your patterns of behavior).
- Research the organization beforehand. Review their website, printed materials, and try to speak with an employee of the company before your interview (reach out to your network to see if you can get introduced to a person who works there). This information will help you understand the employers needs, the culture, and the daily operations of the organization – which will prepare you to answer questions in a more targeted way.
- Think about what is in it for your employer. This is a marketing assignment – always keep in mind what the value is for them and let that be your guide.
End of the interview – Must do, Must remember:
- Thank them.
- Get their card.
- Promptly send a thank you note.
Side note – In the prep quide I’ve linked to, I have a preference regarding the first question in the “Ask for feedback” section (underscoring this is a point of preference, and I am not saying that the article is wrong). I prefer not to ask an employer to pick out my negative points right before the end of my interview. Your time may be better spent asking who they ARE looking for – so you can refer that information in your follow-up thank you letter or future interview rounds. It’s handy to have the employer’s own watchwords to use to underscore that you are the right fit. However, if there is an elephant in the room (for example if there is a person on the hiring committee that you’ve had a bad work experience with, or a member of the comittee seems to have a strong objection to you as a candidate) – you may choose to ask for that feedback so that you can get it in the open and address it.