It’s one thing to know that you have to prepare for a job interview. It’s a completely separate process, knowing what to do to prepare. Making your plan for what to research and what to practice is important, and it divides the standout candidates from the rest of them. The final step to ensuring that your interview has the best possible chance of success is to make sure that you are finding the activities that make your preparation process the most effective. After all, there are a lot of different ways to practice for an interview, and some of them are bound to be better than others. Here are some ideas to help you find the right activity for each stage of your preparation process.
Researching and Understanding the Company and the Job Interview
When you’re gathering information about a prospective employer or an interview format, it is important to have that information in your memory for ready recall. That means not only reviewing it, but also quizzing yourself or having others quiz you about what you’re learning, to make sure it sticks. You should also use a similar process for your practice interview questions, so that you have them firmly in mind. Chances are, the ones you hear in the interview will be a bit different, but having a feeling of familiarity with even slightly similar questions can help a lot.
To make sure that you are firmly remembering the important information as you study, there are a variety of books and publications that you can use as you go through the process. These books have sample quizzes, lists of job interview questions with both sample answers and discussions about them, and many other strategic activities that help you better break down what you’re learning. As you look for the resources that will be most helpful, keep these tips in mind:
Check out the author’s credentials, and make sure that they fit the field closely. Remember, professional affiliations with reputable organizations are a great sign.
It also helps to check the publisher. Every industry has its own trade publishers that do a large volume of the widely recognized publications, and checking out whether or not a prospective guide came through them can help you understand its relevance.
Job interview styles change with time, so make sure all your resources are up-to-date. It might be worth double-checking to see if there is anything more current if most of your research is more than five or ten years old.
Make sure your research covers a variety of tools, like quizzes, sample interview questions, discussions about answers, information about the company and its history, and so on. Don’t settle for a single approach, because you don’t know what will help you best until you try a few things out.
If you have a variety of materials at your disposal when planning and researching the interview process, it is also easier to vary up your approach to practicing the job interview.
Diversifying Your Interview Practice Sessions
Once you have broadened your range of research materials and available practice tools, the next step is to make sure that the various steps in your interview preparation process are as varied as possible, so that you can practice a variety of approaches and situations. There are a few things that you will want to keep consistent if you possibly can, but for most of the steps it is a great idea to find a way to look at multiple approaches. This can include:
Practice interviews conducted in a variety of possible outfits. Practicing your delivery in a few different interview-appropriate selections means that you have a chance to “road test” your clothing for both presentation and comfort. The more freely you can move and breathe, the easier it will be to keep your cool in a job interview!
Have practice interviewers use a variety of questions. Also have them use a variety of styles of question, so that you can’t predict the exact version of a common question you will get or the order. This will also make sure you have adequate practice with the variety of skills, experience, and behavioral research questions out there, as well as what approaches work best for you when answering each.
Take feedback and re-rehearse. You don’t actually learn from feedback until you try to put it into practice, so taking another runthrough after getting criticism is key.
If you follow through with these steps, you should develop a diverse and powerful approach to the job interview, no matter who you are interviewing with.