- I can’t prepare for an interview
Prior to going for an interview you not only CAN prepare for the interview – you can practice. Think of an interview like an exam. You can study ahead of time so that when the interview happens you will be prepared. Here’s some tips:
- Consider the type of questions you might be asked by the interviewer. These include general interview questions such as, “Why are you the best candidate for the job?” to industry-specific questions, “In your role as a Construction Safety Officer, what do you think is your main priority?”, to behavioural-type questions, “What would you do in the case of….” Or “Tell me a time when you disagreed with your boss – what did you do?”
- Now make a list of the common questions you may be asked. Job search sites can help out with this (e.g. Glassdoor, Workopolis, Indeed), or if it’s a prominent company then search on the internet for common interview questions such as “common interview questions asked at Amazon”. Consider hiring a career coach that specializing in job search skills.
- Once you have your list of questions, sit down and write out the answers to your questions. Write out by hand? Yes! The brain uses a different part when you write something by hand. Writing will help you retain the information and be more confident.
- Now practice. Recruit your family or friends and have them do mock interviews with you. This will help build your confidence level further. One client of mine, Carol* used to have her family quiz her at the dinner table every night, for the week leading up to her interview.
- Everyone else is more qualified than I am.
Ask yourself, how do you know this? Are these assumptions you are making? What makes you think this? If you go into an interview with this perspective, how far do you think you will get in the interview process? What would be a more helpful perspective to have? How about “I am qualified for this role because….” If you doubt yourself, ask yourself why you got the interview in the first place. Yes! Because you are qualified. Try some affirmative statements like: “I’m being interviewed because I am worthy of this job.” Or “Company “X” is lucky to have me.” What will work for you?
- I just need to talk generally about my experience – everything is on my resume.
As a career coach one of the most common mistakes I see is when people are too general or broad with their answers. Provide specific examples. For example how successful do you think you will be by answering the question, “Why should I hire you?” with “I have the experience and skills that you require to do this job well.” Sound familiar? At first glance it’s obvious you have the experience or you wouldn’t be in front of the interviewer BUT the interviewer wants to hear more. Generalizations like this won’t get you hired, and it is a very common mistake of jobseekers!
Avoid thinking your resume speaks for you and that the interviewer will read everything on your resume. In some cases the person conducting the interview may have had less than a minute to scan your resume. Other times they may never have seen your resume. Don’t laugh – I’ve been asked to join an interview and participate without seeing the candidate’s resume ahead of time, on several occasions. AND the interviewer (s) may not have the resume at the meeting. For these reasons I suggest you bring extra copies of your resume to the interview. Always ask ahead of time how many people will be interviewing you – and then bring that many resume copies + a few extras.
Review your resume and prepare answers that include results and specific facts and figures wherever possible.
- There is no need to do any research ahead of time – the interviewer will tell me everything I need to know.
I recently spoke with a manager Dawn*, who was hiring for a management level role. At the end of the interview Dawn asked the interviewee if they had any questions. Their answer? No. Dawn was not impressed. She felt that having no questions prepared, showed a lack of preparation and interest in the company. Even if you feel the interviewer answered all of your questions, come prepared with a few of your own to ask. And it’s ok to write them down and bring out your notes at the end of the interview. Do your research so you can ask intelligent questions that are not addressed on the company website.
- They know I’m interested in the job because I’m here.
Although you got the interview, the interviewer still wants to hear you say how interested you are in the job – unless of course you realize when you learn more about the role/company – you aren’t interested! Employers hire people that want to work for them. They LOVE to hear that you are really interested in the company. Prepare by thinking about why you are drawn to this role, and the company/organization, and then talk about it at the beginning of the interview and just before you leave the interview. You want one of the last things you will be remembered by to be a genuine, “I’m really interested in this role and would love the opportunity to work for you!”
- If I follow-up after an interview I will just look needy or desperate.
Actually just the opposite is true. Following up with the decision makers demonstrates you are interested in the role and excited about joining the company. It helps you control the job search process more. And if you mention you will follow up at the end of the interview – you are demonstrating you are good to your word – a skill employers like to see. Drop off or mail a thank you card. This will differentiate you from the other interviewees as they most likely won’t follow up or will email a follow-up thank you.
Differentiating yourself from the average jobseeker is what successful interviewing is all about. Try a few of these steps and see the results. Your next job is just around the corner.
*Names changed to protect confidentiality
(Originally posted on Noomii Career Blog)