How to prepare for a job interview: techniques that actually work
The one thing I dislike about getting a new job is the cumbersome “job interview“. The job interview process for me has always been very nerve-racking. Now granted, at this point in my life I don’t feel that much intimidated about it anymore and that is simply due to the way I now tend to prepare.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
― Abraham Lincoln
Job Interview Preparation Step 1: Your psychological state of mind
When you prepare yourself mentally and go in with confident state of mind the job interview can actually be fun. So how do we prepare psychologically for a job interview?
One thing we can do is an exercise that has been proven to work for many job seekers.
Think of a time when we felt the most powerful
(A moment that you felt in total control of the situation)
With that picture in your mind, notice how your posture has changed. Your shoulders are up higher, your head is elevated and smiling comes naturally. Whenever you start getting a bit nervous try to simply smile. One thing we know is that no person on this planet can have two thoughts at the same time, thus whenever you start feeling nervous or negative simply think of that moment and smile.
Watch this video on how a simple body posture can change our life.
- I really want this job, what else can I do to improve my chances during the job interview?
The recruiters do genuinely want to get to know you. It’s not the 1950’s anymore where you are being quizzed to death and asked about your religious affiliation. If you are coming in very nervous and timid however, a normal conversation cannot take place and a first impression is crucial for setting the stage for us.
It helps to drink an energy drink as that will make you a bit more upbeat
The best advice I can give you is to visualize a good outcome but go a bit further and assume that it already happened. Pretend that you are being brought in from a different city as an internal transfer. That state of mind alone can alter much of your body language and also impact your behavior.
Your questions shift from “what would I be doing” to questions that matter “what are your expectations in the first 3 months”
Job Interview Preparation Step 2: Tell your story
Let’s not fool around, a positive state of mind alone is not good enough. One key ingredient for any job interview preparation is a set of “ready job interview answers” to some of the most common questions a recruiter will ask.
No I don’t mean you need to know what your biggest strength and weakness is. Having gone to many interviews in the past it’s safe to say that most recruiters tend to focus more on your resume.
Focus your time on preparing short little stories about your previously held positions.
Your stories need to have 3 basic ingredients:
- A problem
- What you did to solve the problem
- End result of your actions
Don’t think of it as a mechanical process that only fits to certain type of customer service situations. It can be about you not doing well in the beginning and then showing how you improved and how that made you one of the top performers. That type of story shows initiative, creativity, willingness to learn, etc. It is much stronger than stating “I’m always willing to learn new things”. I hope you understand the difference
In a way stories are remembered and they also allow us to brag without appearing arrogant. Make sure to tell the stories to your friends and family, if there isn’t anybody around record yourself. That way they your stories will sound natural during the job interview and you will know exactly what questions they are appropriate for.
Here is what happens when you don’t think about the answers to possible questions that a hiring manager would ask
All joking aside here is another crucial job interview tip
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”― John C. Maxwell
Those who seem positive, interested and engaged in the conversation have been proven to be highly rated. What this means is show that you are interested and that you care. It is not all about how much you know, as John C. Maxwell said “ People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. Be engaged in the conversation, really listen. Sometimes, if you just listen, letting the interviewer speak, will make your interview flow much easier.
Job Interview Preparation Step 3: What to bring to the interview
While of course the most important thing to bring to the interview is yourself all groomed and dressed appropriately and ready, there are certain things that you should bring with you to the interview as well. These are very common sense, nevertheless it doesn’t hurt to go over a checklist so that you don’t forget them.
- Resume: Bring several copies of your resume just in case you get ask to meet other interviewers on the spot.
- Copies of reference list: Have these ready in case they ask you for references. Same amount as copies of resume
- Picture Identification: Bring picture ID’s. This can be in the form of your driver license, passport as they both require having a photograph of
- Social Security Number: Have your social security card or social security number memorized and ready as you will be required to provide this to human resources for initial paperwork (background check, application, NDA)
- Fact Sheet: This will be for yourself as to a reminder of your previous jobs addresses, phone numbers and contact name. You will need this information to fill out paper work. Just because you have it listed on your resume you will still need to fill out their job application in with more details.
- Portfolio: If you are interviewing for job that requires to showcase your previous creative work have a portfolio ready to share. This is sort of like a resume too and it helps you to stand out from the crowd, showing you are different and unique.
- Pen and Paper: Last but not least always carry your own pen and notepad. Be always preparing as you never know when you will need to take notes. Even though most of us have smartphones that we can take notes on; Sometimes, it is quicker to just write it down the old fashion way.
- Prepare yourself enough that you feel confident in yourself
- Remember that the interviewer is just a person like you
- You show your awesome personality and you care about he/she has to say
Recruiters and business don’t like to waste time, they don’t just call anybody in for an interview in hopes of catching that “right one”. These are calculated decisions and if you are called in then it must mean that they have every intention to hire you. It’s time to move onto our job interview – step by step guide
If you don’t get the job when you felt you did your best, don’t worry, it was their loss. Remember that every “no” you hear only brings you closer to a “yes”. Put your head up high and continue going and soon you will have plenty of doors opening for you.
“When one door closes another one opens”
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COVER PHOTO BY JOHN JANSSEN