If it has been a while since you’ve interviewed for a job expect some changes. For one, the number of interview rounds has increased. Last week, one of my clients told me that he had persevered through 16 interviews to get to the offer he wanted to discuss with me. That is a lot of interviews! Here are five tips for honing your skills.
Identify the questions you are most likely to be asked and practice responding aloud to them in front of a mirror or record them on your phone for playback. This is especially necessary for the questions you most dread answering. Simply thinking about your responses is not enough to get the cotton out of your mouth when you have to respond during an interview. Forcing yourself to verbalize your responses during practice actively engages your senses so that during the interview your brain and mouth work in tandem.
Know what you are selling and believe in it. If you can’t articulate what you are selling you can’t expect the hiring manager to figure it out. And, if you are not convinced that what you offer is valuable, the interviewer won’t buy it either. Before the interview review the job requirements, research the organization’s challenges and determine which of your skills best fit their needs. During the interview demonstrate exactly how you will add value, resolve their problem or meet the challenge they face.
Practice a concise statement about your reason for leaving. It should be short, sweet and to the point but not abrupt. Get comfortable enough with it so that you can smile and maintain eye contact when it comes up in the conversation. Practice pivoting from your reason for leaving to your interest in the position and your intention to make a positive impact.
Stop talking when you answer the question. One of the biggest mistakes a candidate makes during an interview is filling the silence with excess chatter.
This is especially true when asked about a weakness, the reason for leaving a previous job or other uncomfortable questions. Continuing to blather on will reveal far more information than necessary. Remember, the longer you talk the deeper the hole.
In other situations, candidates continue to sell well past the point when the employer is ready to buy. This often results in talking themselves out of a job. Pay attention to the employer’s verbal and nonverbal buy signs and shift gears when the conversation changes.
Don’t share information the employer cannot legally ask you about. Do not tell the employer about your impending divorce. Do not share the fact that you are a single parent, or that you are going through therapy or rehab. It is not the employer’s business. While it may feel “right” to bring up these issues, doing so is likely to negatively impact your chances for a job offer. If you have made mistakes in the past and are asked about them, take responsibility for your actions. Share what you have learned and what you are doing differently as a result. What the employer wants to know is, can she count on you not to make the same mistakes again.
©2021 Mary Jeanne Vincent. All rights reserved.