Want an Edge for Your Job Interview? | Do the Work

The art of interviewing well—it’s a thing of beauty! The candidate walks out the door and the interviewer basks in the after-glow. Unfortunately, these moments are few and far between. 

Why is that? Because interviewing well isn’t easy. It’s a skill that needs to be perfected so that you make it look easy, the way golf and tennis pros make their sports look easy. 

Your “sport” is the interview. Have you worked hard to become a pro? Or are you willing to be one of many who fall flat? 

It is pathetic that so many candidates don’t take advantage of mock interviews when they have the chance. 

Okay, that sounds harsh, but I mean it. 

Job opportunities are so thin and the need so great, how can you not prepare yourself before you’re sitting across the desk from an interviewer? It’s either arrogance or ignorance. 

College career offices routinely offer mock sessions with either faculty or outside business people; some even video-tape you. Community career centers and local community colleges also provide interview training for folks who are out of work. 

The expectations of hiring managers are different today. They expect more. So to think you can just wing an interview without knowing how the game is played is self-defeating. 

Get over yourself! 

Here’s the issue: People don’t learn and practice interviewing skills because they feel embarrassed, self-conscious, uncertain, and awkward. 

They often aren’t confident in their credentials or their ability to explain their capabilities, the gaps in their resumes, and the skills that will be expected. 

If that’s the case with you, that’s precisely why you need to learn how to interview well and then practice, practice, practice! 

When you need a job, you have to suck up your insecurities, set your ego aside, and do what has to be done to be the winning candidate. 

 Here’s what you need to do: 

Assemble basic information for a strong interview: 

  • A resume focused on what you’ve accomplished. (That’s your marketing brochure.)
  • A list of 5 or 6 “stories” that illustrate the results you’ve achieved and how (That’s what you’ll drawn on to answer any question.)
  • An understanding of how a behavioral interview is conducted
  • Knowledge of the business and the position
  • Questions you will ask about the business and the job at the end (not about salary, benefits, time off, or promotional opportunities) 

Listen to the sound of your own voice. 

  • Google “behavioral interviewing” and go to sites that give you sample questions.
  • Select about 8 questions that address the desired characteristics listed in the posting.
  • Play act by yourself or with another person as the interviewer, by answering those questions. If alone, talk to yourself in the mirror.
  • Hear yourself answering those questions, get used to breathing, pausing, and taking time to gather your thoughts because that’s what will happen in the interview. 

Go on a practice interview…a real one!

If you have a chance to be interviewed for an opening that you think you don’t want or don’t think you’ll get, do it anyway. There’s nothing better than taking all your preparation live. 

Here’s the upside: If you aren’t all worked up about getting the job, you will likely be more relaxed and focused on putting your interview skills into practice. When you go to an interview thinking that “this is the job I’ve always wanted,” you will be more focused on winning than playing. That rarely ends well. 

If you want to succeed, you have to prepare. 

Job interviewing is a competitive activity. It’s a business fitness game that requires mental toughness, dedication, and willingness to put yourself out there. Only a fool goes into the fray without strategies, knowledge, and practiced skills. Don’t let that be you. 

What is it that most unnerves you about getting ready for the interview? If I can help, I will.