Phase three of a job search – Write down and practice responses to questions
Interviewing is a nerve-wracking situation for many people. Unfortunately it is highly unlikely that you will get a job offer without going on at least one interview. And companies today are asking job candidates to interview with numerous employees on the phone, via Skype, on panels, and in other settings.
So, the best strategy for anyone looking for a job is to prepare responses to questions and objections you predict that you will receive during the interview. What is most important to a future employer is how a candidate can solve their problems, meet their needs, and fit into the specific company culture.
How do you do this?
• Research the company as much as you can so that you can drop a random comment about the company a few times during the interview. This will also help you to ask thoughtful questions.
• Also research the people who will be interviewing you on LinkedIn so you know a bit about their background and experience.
• Prepare stock answers to standard and tough questions. Some commonly asked questions are: Tell me about yourself. What are your strengths and areas that need improvement? What kind of manager/leader are you? Describe a project you were involved with that failed. Describe a time at work when your integrity was tested, etc.
• Bring the job description with you to the interview and practice a story in advance that relates to each point in the job description.
• Tell stories and use examples about proven results and achievements – but keep them brief and meaningful. Use this formula – Situation – Obstacle – Action – Result and What about you made this a success?
• Ask smart, thoughtful questions, not cliched ones- which means you will need to prepare them.
• Anticipate any objections you may receive about your experience, gaps on your resume, or a skill or competency that you may be lacking or isn’t as developed. Write down a succinct response, practice it and internalize it.
Remember that most employers want to hire people who take accountability, have integrity, and are positive, flexible, and effective communicators. A sense of humor is a plus! Be prepared to give examples of how you possess and demonstrate these characteristics.
As the adage goes, “practice makes perfect.” If you are invited to interview for a job that you aren’t sure you are interested in, go anyway, especially if you haven’t been on any interviews recently. And remember, you won’t have chemistry with everyone and this is okay. There will be people and companies who love you and your greatest dilemma will be choosing one!