These days, a job search is much like a sporting event: you practice and hone your skills for that all important match up in the big interview. But what skills do you focus on and how do you prepare for the interviewer’s style of questioning? Practice, bring your tools, and get your head in the game.
The question I am most often asked is “What advice do you have for an interview?” My answer is consistent: Develop three to five stories from your most recent positions. Put them in the format of the challenge you faced, the action you took and the result of that action. Remember, a company is looking for how you can help them, not the other way around.
Most interviewers use behavioral style questioning; in other words, the “Give me an example of when this situation occurred…” line of questioning. While you won’t know exactly what the interviewer is going to ask beforehand, you can prepare. The above exercise is the precise way to do just that.
These types of questioning are meant to keep you on your toes and see how you work and think under pressure. Do you freeze up when you are thrown off? Or do you easily adapt to the scenario and launch into an answer Even if the situation is not one that you have encountered, you can explain how you would have handled the situation. Prepare for this line of questioning by practicing. Also, always address the problem, the possible solutions, and the actions required for a favorable outcome.
Create A “30-Second Commercial”
Another great idea is to develop a “30-Second Commercial” to answer the always dreaded, “Tell me about yourself.” Rather than start with “I was born in 1963 and I spent my first few years at home. I then went on to preschool…” know that this is your time to shine by quickly and effectively pointing out your strengths and the assets that you will bring to the company. Remember, you are a product that you have spent years perfecting and you need this company to purchase the product.
Do Your Homework
Know the company that you are interviewing with, know the culture, the history, and any information you can find on the interviewer. Show interest in the job by taking the time to learn about the company, some great tools include LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. This not only shows initiative and depicts you as a self-starter, it’s also a sign of respect.
Know Your Online Presence
Google yourself and see what impression a recruiter will surmise. A great way to increase your professional online presence is through participation in conversations on Twitter and LinkedIn. Join groups that interest you and remain active. And make certain that you eliminate any “bad publicity” from social media channels, especially Facebook.
As you enter the interview, remember you are well prepared and ready to impress. It’s impossible to predict the exact moves and questions an interviewer will throw your way but as long as you use these tools, you will present yourself as the prepared professional that the company needs.
I hope this interview advice is helpful. Happy interviewing!
This post was originally published on an earlier date.
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