Getting a job is a lot like climbing a ladder, each step is imperative to take you to the top. The first rung on the ladder is a great resume. The second rung is networking, and the third is references. One of the next rungs on the ladder is practice interviewing. This essential step will help determine whether or not you get the job. Many job applicants show great ease while climbing the first several steps towards a job, but fall apart during the interview phase. That’s why interview practice is crucial for success.
The more you research and practice for a potential interview, the better off you will be. Ask an adult who has experience with interviewing to help you. Provide them with a list of questions to ask you, but also allow them the opportunity to create a few additional questions you aren’t expecting. You won’t know exactly what the interviewer is going to ask, so it is a good idea to prep a large variety of questions and be prepared for anything.
Make your practice interview as realistic as possible. That means role-play the entire situation. Dress yourself as if you were at the actual interview, and ask your pretend interviewer to dress appropriately as well. Set up a space in your home or office with a desk and two chairs and try to envision the area as if it were the real offices of your interview. Stay in character from the moment you enter the room to the minute you leave, this will allow you to also configure a greeting and a relevant good-bye to the manager.
In your practice interviewing, you should almost always consider that the hiring manager is going to ask you to tell them about yourself. It will probably be one of the first questions asked. Instead of focusing on aspects of your life that tend to be average and regular, try to think of topics that make you unique and interesting. In an interview, it is important to sell yourself and one of the best ways to do this is to stand out from the pool of other applicants. Consider these points when thinking about your life and what makes you uncommon:
Once you have designed an adequate response to the “tell me more about yourself” question, you need to practice, practice, and practice some more. Say it out loud, especially to others. Get feedback and suggestions on what you need to improve. Ensure your response time is only about 2-3 minutes long. This leaves room for the interviewer to ask further questions based on the things you say.
If you do not have someone available to listen to your response, try tape recording it and listening to it repeatedly. You want to sound confidant and assured while delivering your answer. It’s important that your story have a beginning, middle and end. Don’t jump around with dates and events, try to keep things chronological and mention how your future at this company will help fulfill a specific goal in your life.
Remain Calm and Be Prepared
An important job interview can make anyone stressed and anxious. Try to relax and remain calm. Remember, the more prepared you are, the better you will feel. Envision yourself in the interview, and imagine that you are acing it. Predict the questions the interviewer will ask and pretend you have answered all of them perfectly. Then imagine yourself in the job, successful and confident. This will help you as you prepare for the interview.
Some job interviews may only last for a few minutes, while some may require meeting with several different people in the company. An interview allows you the opportunity to prove that you are the right person for the job. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare:
- Practice interviewing.
- Record yourself in a practice interview setting.
The better prepared you are for an interview, the better off you will be. Remember to bring a list of references with you and to ask informed, thoughtful questions during and after the interview. This will help start a meaningful conversation with your interviewer and help you leave a lasting impression.