You earned an interview—your first one in years. Now what? Even if it’s been ages since your most recent interview, you can still own this chance to impress your next potential employer.
Practice. Refine. Repeat.
Enlist a friend or family member to conduct mock interviews so you start feeling comfortable with the back-and-forth format. If possible, recruit someone with experience interviewing job candidates.
Run through the entire process, from greeting the “interviewer” with a smile and handshake to wrapping up with a strong question: “Do you feel I would be successful in this position?” Throughout the practice interviews, focus on delivering conversational answers that showcase why you are the best fit for the job.
Pay attention to potential trouble spots in your work experience.
During prep, develop short, to-the-point answers that address potential red flags, such as being fired from your last job or apparent job hopping.
If you’re interviewing for the first time after a long period of unemployment, prepare to answer questions about your time out of the workforce. But don’t sweat those long gaps too much; as the economy has shifted over the last decade, recruiters and employers have become accustomed to meeting candidates with long periods of joblessness, so they may be more sympathetic than they might have been in years past.
Practice using Skype or other web conferencing/call platforms, if necessary.
It’s possible you’ve never had the opportunity to interview using web-based communication. If the interview is being conducted via a platform you’re not completely familiar with, do at least one run-through before the interview. This gives you the chance to work out any kinks, so when it’s go time, you can focus on impressing the interviewer instead of stressing about where you should look or which key you should press.
Visualize a winning interview.
Professional athletes have long used visualization to help them achieve success. Brain researchers have found that mental imagery, in essence, trains the mind for action, making it powerful enough to enhance motivation and boost confidence. In the days leading up to the interview, make time to visualize the factors within your control, such as answering questions with confidence or looking each interviewer in the eye.
Make the potential employer’s needs your priority.
Rattling off a litany of previous job titles doesn’t make you a suitable hire; instead, showing the interviewer that you are the best person to do the job is what will make you a stand-out. During the interview, focus on discovering specifically what the employer is looking for in a candidate, particularly the qualities that may not have been apparent in the job description. Then discuss why you’re best qualified to meet those needs. Use stories from your career or life experiences to demonstrate how your strengths will benefit the company directly.
Don’t beat yourself up for missteps.
You’re a human being, not a robot: interview mistakes happen. The key to overcoming them is to handle them with grace and confidence. If you have the opportunity to briefly restate a bungled answer during the interview, do so. However, if there’s no chance for a then-and-there fix, simply move forward and finish out the interview with confidence. Take note of the misstep, and resolve not to do that again during the next interview.
If you’re ready to take the next step toward employment nirvana, start by making a Shyft here.