Undeniably the most terrifying step in landing a new job, the interview process can make or break your journey to the career of your dreams. Being a good interviewee is a skill that most don't realize the importance of. Regardless of your experience or qualifications for a specific job, the interview is your first real opportunity to sell yourself and set yourself apart from other candidates. To ensure a top notch first impression, follow these simple preparation techniques to rock your interview.
4 Simple Preparation Techniques to Tock Your Interview
Understanding Interview Question Scoring
The most common form of scoring interview questions is the three point per answer method. This will be explained to you at the beginning of the interview most of the time, but it is good to have a firm understanding of it in order to prepare how questions should be answered.
Each question given in the interview is looking for an answer with three main points; example, explanation, and outcome. Say the interviewer asks "Name a time when you had a conflict with a co-worker and how did you deal with it?". To achieve all three points with your answer you must first give an example of a time when you dealt with conflict with a co-worker. You then must explain the steps you took in dealing with this conflict. Did you follow protocol? Did you attempt to talk to the co-worker? Did a supervisor need to get involved? You finish your answer by providing the outcome of the situation. Did you resolve the conflict? What did you learn from this?
Answering questions following the three point method ensure that you are providing the information that employers are looking for.
Brainstorming Examples and Answers
A good starting point when preparing for an interview, and to help build confidence, is brainstorming answers and examples to common interview questions. You can find examples of common interview questions online, or just simply brainstorm examples of things you've done or situations you've been in and what categories they might relate to (co-worker relations, multi-tasking, work ethic, motivation, productivity, etc).
Grab a blank piece of paper and jot down any examples that come to mind, the more examples the better. Use the three point answer method and jot down point form notes for each example to easily visualize the break down of the three answer sections. The more examples you write down, the better the likelihood some, or all, will come to mind when put on the spot in the actual interview.
Having answers and actually being able to use them are two different things. Depending on your comfort speaking confidently in front of other, practice is key.
Have a friend or family member conduct a mock interview with you based on the question examples you are using. Make sure the person helping out understands the three point scoring, and get them to mix up the wordings of the questions. This is a good way to get your mind in interview mode and practice remembering your examples, and appropriately apply them to different types of questions.
The Three P's: Personal Appearance, Punctuality, and Professionalism
Not as important as the content of the interview, but definitely important nonetheless. The three P's should be an interview standard.
Personal Appearance: Always ensure you are looking your best for the interview. Proper hygiene, and an appropriate outfit are crucial to ensure a good first impression. Think of where you are applying to and what would be expected of an employee there. A good rule of thumb is to assume business attire is expected. It is better to be overdressed than show up and realize you do not meet the assigned dress code.
Punctuality: Always, always, always be on time for your interview. A suggestion would be to make sure you arrive at least ten minutes prior to your scheduled interview time. This not only ensures you are on time for the interview, it also shows the employer that being on time is important to you, because surely it is to them.
Professionalism: You need to always be aware of your behavior and mannerisms from the minute you walk into the location for the interview - you never know who is watching. Be polite and courteous. Smile. Present yourself as a professional, even if this is out of character for you. Remember you are selling yourself.