Practice Makes Perfect: Interview Tips and Techniques
Do you have an important job interview coming up? Whether you do or don’t, it is a good idea to practice your interview skills. The more you practice, the better your technique and skills will be. This ensures you are always ready when the time comes for a real job interview. Make sure you research and practice potential interview questions, create a role-play interview situation and research the company. Doing all of these things will make sure you are prepared for the interview, and help reduce any stress or anxiety you may be feeling.
There are several different ways you can practice before the interview. These include:
- A Do-It-Yourself Approach
Create flash cards with potential interview questions. Record yourself answering the questions in a random order. Watch the video and provide positive feedback to yourself on areas you did well, and where there was room for improvement.
- A Mock Interview
Recruit a friend or family member to help you in a role-playing situation. Find a quiet room and set it up with a desk and chairs. Dress professionally and appropriately as if this were the real interview (it might be a good idea to ask your friend or family member to also dress professionally). Provide them with a few questions to ask you, but also let them create a few of their own. Ask for constructive feedback and suggestions after your mock interview.
- Watch Interviews
With modern technology, there is a wealth of information available at your fingertips. Watch professional interview situations on the internet to gain a better grasp on successful interview habits.
- Online Practice Interviews:
Various online programs seek to help interviewees prepare for the big day. Take a practice interview test online to receive potential interview questions that allow you to think through a response and deliver it professionally.
Prepare for a Variety of Interview Questions
Before a job interview, it is a good idea to prepare for the most common interview questions, while also preparing for a variety that might potentially be asked. It isn’t necessary to memorize a response, but it is a good idea to know how you will respond to the questions. Remember, practice makes perfect, so verbalize your responses out loud to perfect them.
It might be smart to look up answers online to some of the most common interview questions. They may give you some good tips on how you want to respond to a similar question. Here are a few of the most common questions asked in job interviews:
- Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
- How do you handle stress and pressure?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- How does this job fit in with your career plan?
- Are you self-motivated?
- What are you passionate about?
Get to Know Yourself
One of the things that will help set you apart from the competition in your job interview is the self-assuredness and confidence you have in yourself. Hiring managers are more drawn to people who seem in control and assured they will do a great job. This may not come natural to you, especially in an uncomfortable interview setting, but you can definitely fake it.
Start by perfecting the practice of introducing yourself. Do it to everyone you meet over the course of a few weeks. This means the grocery store cashier, the librarian, the mailman, the Starbucks barista and every other person you come into contact with. Once you have perfected the handshake, the eye contact and the introduction of yourself, you can move on to the next step: the cool, calm and confident job seeker.
To become cool, calm and confident, you’ll need the help of your mirror. Practice reciting interview questions into your mirror repeatedly. Look at yourself in the eye while you speak and try to minimize words like “um” or “uh” while you respond. Hold your head up high, smile as you talk and put a positive spin on your answers. This lets the interviewer know you are cool as a cucumber and the best applicant for the position.