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10 Essential Skills to Acing Your Job Interview

career Nov 11, 2018

Looking for a job doesn’t appeal to many people, but it’s a common part of adulthood. At some point, you’re either going to be let go from a job or dislike a job enough that you’ll do anything to make a career change.

A job interview is always required for anything substantial. Most of us can benefit by working on our interview skills. It’s not something many of us do well without considerable practice.

Master the interview process and get the job with these techniques:

  1. Know your story. One of the first interview questions you’re guaranteed to face is something along the lines of, “Tell me a little about yourself.” They want to know your basic story. There’s no excuse not to be prepared for this question. Think of a way to present yourself in an interesting and positive light. 
    Share how events in your life brought to this point, applying for this job.
  2. Research the interview format. There are a variety of interview formats. You might face one on one questioning from your prospective boss, or you might have three separate interviews with your boss, his boss, and someone from human resources. Some interviews take place in front of 10 or more people. You could also be interviewed virtually or through a system called one-way video interviews. Whichever the format, be prepared.
  3. Brush up on your body language. The way you sit and move counts for a lot in a job interview. How you shake hands and eye contact is important as well.  Spend some time assessing yourself and making improvements where needed. 
  4. Get a list of likely interview questions. Consider the position you’re interviewing for and consider the questions you’re likely to be asked. If you have a copy of the job description, this will be where you'll want to pull most of your questions.
    • Take a look at your resume. What questions would you have if you were interviewing someone with your past? Are there holes in your resume?
    • Compile a list of questions that you consider to be possibilities.
    • Then practice, practice, practice.
  5. Work on your answers. Go through the list and imagine how you would answer each one. Anticipate logical follow-up questions and have suitable answers prepared for them. The two keys are to be positive and brief.
  6. Get a friend to help. Get a friend to help you by giving you a practice interview. If you can find someone with experience like a career coach or someone in HR, even better. Use several people and get as much experience as possible.
  7. Make the interview realistic. Avoid just sitting on the couch in a t-shirt during these mock interviews. Wear the clothes you would actually wear. Attempt to recreate a similar environment and mood. Make the experience as realistic as possible.
  8. Consider video recording the interview. Watch your performance. Watch once with the sound off. How do you look? How is your body language? What message are you sending? Now, just listen. Close your eyes and avoid watching. How do you sound? Finally, watch and listen simultaneously.
    • What do you need to work on? What did you do well?
    • Figure out what improvements you’d like to make and go through the mock interview process again.
  9. Visualize success. Imagine yourself in the interview presenting yourself perfectly. See yourself answering the questions calmly and charismatically. It’s challenging to be successful if you can’t see it in your mind first.
  10. Dress for success. Think about the position you're stepping into and what someone in that role within the company would wear. Go for monochromatic colors with minimal patterns. But most importantly, wear something that makes you feel absolutely confident.

You’ve already impressed your potential employer with your resume. Now it’s time to stand out when you meet them in person. It takes a 1/10th of second to make an impression and you want to make a positive and lasting one.

Since we don't interview everyday, it's important to practice so you're as prepared as possible.  I suggest you write out what you're going to say and practice until your responses are second nature. Interviews are truly conversations, so you don't want to sound rehearsed or as if you're reading from a script.

Most importantly, relax and remember you're interviewing them too.

Need to prep for an interview? Let's work together to ensure you ace your next interview.

Live, laugh and unapologetically shine,

Carol

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