As an instructor of Communication, I always find it humorous when students brag about winging an interview. My initial thought is always the same, why would you brag about being lazy? Interviewing is no different than playing an instrument, the more you practice the better you become.
Your resume and cover letter brought you to the interview, now what?
I have sat in on more interviews than I care to remember, where the interviewee recites their entire resume and cover letter. The interview is designed for you to add to the information you’ve provided on paper. The resume and cover letter are the cake; your interview is the icing. Before you begin interviewing you need to reflect on past experiences that relate to the job you are applying. Use personal narratives of projects and accomplishments to demonstrate why and how you are uniquely qualified for the job.
Acing the Interview, means you are over prepared.
Before you even sit in the ‘hot seat’ there many things you should have done. For example, you should have researched the company. How much research? I would argue 5 to 10 hours. While researching the company you need to know more than just their mission and values. Most companies are proud of their inception—know historical aspects of the company; you never know when the interviewer might reference it.
While researching, pay attention to the language that the company uses on its website, meaning look for keywords within their values and mission. In the interview you should use those words when providing an attribute about yourself. Doing this shows the interviewer that you have looked into the company practices and that you share similar values.
Practice and Practice again.
First do a Google search ‘Most common questions asked in an interview.’ You will find hundreds of sites illustrating the same basic questions. Select 10-15 questions you think you may be asked and develop your response to each question. Your response could be anywhere between 2-3 minutes. Think of it like this, each question asked in the interview is really a mini informative speech for you to deliver.
After you have developed the responses to those questions, rehearse the answer about 10 times. Additionally, take out your smart phone and record yourself. Doing that will elevate your performance in the actual interview as it will allow you to hear your answers and to evaluate your nonverbal communication.
Write out your questions BEFORE the interview.
Asking questions after the interview is critical. When I’m interviewing I have at least five questions I can pull from at any given time. Asking questions does a few things for you and the interviewer. First, the interviewer will see you as credible, and that you have done your research. Second, listening to how the interviewer answers your questions gives you the opportunity to establish a common ground with them. This is great because these are the people you will be working with.
Please note, you should not ask about pay, benefits or time off in the first interview; it will not be well received by the interviewer. There is a time and place for that and it is after you’ve been offered the position.
I know this piece did not go into depth about the delivery. If you are interest in learning more about your nonverbal communication, send me an email and let’s connect.