Practicing For Your Interview: A Simple Guide

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A little bit of practice can help you control your nervous jitters during the interview process and give each of your most relevant credentials a chance to reach the ears of your potential employer. But just running through a list of standard questions (what are your greatest strengths, etc) in a quiet room by yourself won’t be quite as a valuable as a structured session, or series of sessions, with a helpful coach. Here are a few ways the two of you can work together to iron out potential problems before the hour of your interview arrives.

1. First, make sure your coach or partner understands at least a little bit about what you do and the kinds of qualifications your interviewers will probably be looking for. Give him or her a chance to think about this job and put herself in the position of your potential future manager.

2. Assemble a list of standard questions as well as industry specific issues that your interviewer will probably address. Get ready to explain 1.) why you want this job, 2.) why you want to work for this company, and 3.) what you can bring to the table that no other candidate can.

3. Prepare to answer a simple but surprisingly disorienting question that often trips up candidates and catches them off guard: “Tell me a little about yourself.” Know beforehand how you’d like to distill your complex personality and long life history into a short, interesting sound bite that your interviewer will find relevant to the job at hand.

4. Video tape yourself. After a few run-throughs and warm-up questions with your partner, set up a camera and film yourself answering a few more. Then stop and watch the film before you move on. Examine your posture and gestures, the speed of your delivery, your inflections, and your filler words (um, so, ah, hm, and the other typically unconscious sounds we make as we talk).  Listen closely to your answers to determine if there are important details you’re overlooking or failing to fully explain.

5. Don’t give yourself any breaks. Look carefully over your resume and application and have your partner do the same. Find any aspect of your past that you would be skeptical about if you were standing in your interviewer’s position. These may include gaps in your job history or questionable details about you that surface during an online search of your name.

Generate articulate ways to address your job history, your qualifications, your knowledge of this subject area, and your future goals and plans. If you need help developing statements for each of these points, reach out to the Little Rock job search and interview experts at CSS.

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