The ability to interview well is a skill that will take you far in your job search. Even when you are lacking some of the requirements, if you perform well at the interview, the employer may still view you as the best fit for the job. The key to your success lies in preparation. If you, like most job seekers, just go the interview hoping for the best, you will probably be disappointed. You need to have a plan of attack:
Understand the employer. Do your research and try to put yourself in the employer’s shoes. What type of person are they seeking for this role? Which technical skills and soft skills would be important to them? From their perspective, what type of candidate would be attractive?
Stay focused. There is nothing more annoying to an interviewer than a candidate that talks on and on without actually answering the question. Keep the question at the top of mind and make sure that you address it completely. Don’t waste the interviewer’s time by going off on a tangent.
Provide examples. The worst thing you can do at an interview is provide vague and general statements, such as ‘I have excellent leadership skills’ or ‘I am strong in customer service.’ These statements are lame because every candidate makes them and really it is just your opinion. Instead, use detailed examples to demonstrate the points that you are making. For example, you could show that your customer service skills are strong by providing the results of a survey that indicates that 95% of your customers were ‘very satisfied’ with your service.
Practice. Find some common interview questions and practice them with a trusted colleague or friend. Ask for feedback and make notes on how you can improve. Identify the key soft skills for the position and practice providing examples that indicate that you are strong in those areas.
When you are heading out to a job interview, people will often wish you, ‘good luck!”, but the reality is that luck has nothing to do with it. If you are well prepared and you remain focused, that is all the ‘luck’ you need!
(Written by: Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)