Looking to build confidence, life-long communication skills, and stress coping strategies? These valuable skills are not born overnight. They take time and effort to hone.
One of the best opportunities to build your inner strength, interpersonal skills, and stress management techniques is a job interview. Whether it’s your first job interview as a dishwasher in a restaurant or an interview for the position of CEO of a company, interview practice and experience lead to the development of critical thinking skills, negotiation skills, diplomacy skills, and more. Today, we will go through three easy steps that will help you develop a new, fail-proof interview prep routine and help mitigate stress before your interview!
Step 1: Research the Interview Format
While most of us are familiar with the traditional one-on-one interview format, you should know that there is a variety of interview formats currently popular with employers and educational institutions. The interview format will not only affect your interview prep strategies but will also determine how long you should prepare for an interview. Traditional interview formats such as one-on-one or panel interviews might be less time-consuming than getting used to situation judgment tests like the MMI.
When you are invited to an interview, make sure to research the format your employer or school uses. This information might be included in the invite, but if it is not, it will be worth your time to research the interview format and setting on the internet. Use online platforms to read reviews and accounts written by past interviewees. They may reveal what the interview entailed and what kind of questions they faced. Just keep in mind that these platforms do not always contain the most current and honest information, so check the date the review was written.
Step 2: Practice with Sample Questions
The interviews are designed to assess your professional skills, critical thinking skills, and ethical acumen. It is not easy to evaluate these qualities with traditional questions like “tell me about yourself” or “what’s your greatest weakness?” ; they cannot reveal who you are at your core. This is why interviewers can choose to ask weird and intimidating questions about your past experiences, such as “describe the worst day of your life”, or unexpected hypothetical questions such as “if you can create another planet, what would it look like?”. The interviewers may also ask you ethical questions or present you with scenarios that will assess your decision-making process and ability to think on your feet. Modern interview formats also incorporate unusual question types, such as written assignments and practical tests of your skills.
You must develop answer strategies that will help you tackle all these question types. To accomplish this, practice with sample questions. Going through dozens of questions will help you become comfortable with structuring your answers on the go. Spontaneity is a huge element of a successful answer. While you cannot know what questions you will face in the real interview, if you practice answering different question types and prepare an answer strategy for each type, you will be comfortable structuring your answers on the spot.
Step 3: Choose Appropriate Settings
Video interviews are very popular, so it’s important to test your technology before the interview and prepare your interview setting.
We advise using a laptop or a desktop for the interview. While you may be used to your mobile phone, it is far more professional and practical to use a computer. You are not required to attend the interview using any particular device, but if you use a cell phone, you may be interrupted with a call while you interview, which may negatively impact your performance and distract the interviewers.
Before the interview, make sure that your camera and microphone work flawlessly. You do not want technical difficulties to ruin the first impression you make. While it’s not the end of the world if your camera does not start up right away when the interview begins, you want to eliminate anything that may negatively affect your standing with the interviewer(s).
Next, set up your computer in a quiet location where you will not be interrupted for the duration of the interview. Make sure the space has good lighting and that your voice is heard clearly. Wear professional clothing, such as a collared blouse or dress shirt, dress pants, or a skirt. Wear minimal jewelry and make-up. While the interviewers may only see your shirt collar, a professional get-up will instill confidence in you.
Once you have completed all the three steps outlined above, rehearse for the interview using sample questions. Try to recreate the interview setting as much as possible. If you’re preparing for a virtual interview, record yourself answering practice questions to see how you come across the screen. If possible, practice with someone who can give you objective feedback on your performance. While it’s indisputable that interviews are intimidating and stressful, you can develop quality interview skills to ace any interview format you may encounter throughout your professional life. Confidence cannot be taught, but it can be developed. Proper interview prep is one of the methods you can refine that confidence within yourself.