Interviewing: The Key Equation is Research + Practice = Preparation

 If you want to stand out in a positive way during an interview then preparation is the key.  Don’t prepare and you will stand out, but not in a positive way.  It really is that simple.

Job searching is not fun, it is not something people wake up one day and decide to do just for the heck of it – it is a necessity, it is hard work and it can be all encompassing.  Given that – why would you run the risk of not doing it well?  You really cannot afford to fail.

Especially at interviewing, you cannot afford to fail.  To have made it to the next round is a big step considering all the candidates that had to be pre-screened.  This is a major accomplishment and requires your full attention before, during and after the interview.

I read a great article geared toward interviewers on today, click here to read the full article: 3 Interview Questions That Reveal Everything.

It suggests after skimming the resume to ask the candidates three things: how did you find the job, what did you like about it before you started and why did you leave.

Oh yes, the dreaded “why did you leave?”  This is part of your preparation – you must be prepared to answer all the questions that make you uncomfortable.  Fine tune your answer and practice until you can deliver the right answer in the right way.  The right way is combing truth, confidence, opportunity and ownership all in a positive manner.

This article also serves as a great example of research.  Beyond researching the industry, the company, the job, the major players and interviewing techniques for candidates you should also research interviewing techniques for interviewers.  This helps you understand the process from the other side of the table.

Practice, practice, practice – I cannot stress this enough.  In your research phase you should be able to come up with a variety of examples to support your strengths, skills and accomplishments.  You need more than one in order that you can adopt to the environment of the interview.

If the interviewer is really stressing a team-oriented environment then you want to be able to deliver an example which demonstrates your strength within the context which is important to them.  If they focus on individuality then you should have examples of this, too.  Having several examples helps you be prepared.

Practice delivering these examples until you feel confident and calm.  Do not, however, memorize each example word for word.  When you get into the interview if you deliver it word for word as practiced you will come across as giving a speech rather than being engaged.

When practicing your answers, and if you have a telephone interview, the best place to be is in a bathroom with the door shut.  The acoustics are terrific, there is a mirror for you to watch your body language and you have the least opportunity to be interrupted by ringing phones, children, pets and outside distractions.

If you perform comprehensive research and practice extensively you will be prepared for not only the questions you could be asked but also the environment the interviewer establishes and this will make for a successful interview.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

Don’t Overlook The Little Things.

Sicky dog Luke
My youngest dog, Luke, has been sick all weekend. It started with what I call the popcorn cough. You know when you eat popcorn and you get a small piece of shell stuck in the back of your throat and try to cough it out – that is what he sounded like all weekend.

Prior to calling the Vet’s I was talking to my best friend who suggested kennel cough and asked if I got my dogs shots for that, which I don’t because they are all contained in our fenced-in yard and I never kennel my dogs. She asked about my step-doggie, Bud, and yes, he gets this shot. Oh, step-doggie: it is my ex-husband’s dog but thinks I own it too so he’s my step-doggie. Anyway, Bud lives in a community where there are lots of dogs, and geese. I think geese are nasty creatures who carry every conceivable disease possible – why else would they have green poop? Any way – back to my point, and I do have one….

But, I’m not there yet….I never thought to get my dogs kennel cough shot because, like I said, they are self-contained, why would they need it? Because I have “sucker” on my forehead. A couple of weeks ago we puppy sat another dog for the weekend. Guess who was the only dog that played with him – Luke. So I am assuming this is where he got it. Given that I seem to take in every stray perhaps I should not overlook the obvious things like getting my dogs shots for things that may not seem possible. Because the probably-not-possible can happen. Tada – my point.

Just because you do not think something is likely does not mean you should not prepare for it, especially when you take actions that make it more likely. I brought another dog in the house – it led to the kennel cough. If you are job searching and have submitted your resume to a company, be prepared in case they call.

Oftentimes I hear people who will say they know they will not get a call yet still send in their resume. If you are so sure you won’t get the call why send it in? And if you do send it in you better be prepared for the call because you would hate to ruin it from one bad phone call. I have even heard people say something like, “Oh, wow, I didn’t think you would call!” Guess what, if you don’t think you should get the job why would I want to hire you? While you ponder that one I’m going to go give my dog a cough suppressant.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Polish, Inc.