Imagine someone told you in a week you’d be giving a presentation. How would you prepare?
Most would begin with researching their topic and their audience. They identify what message they wanted to share and how they would best connect that message to their audience. Finally, they would practice, practice, practice.
When it comes to your interview, the topic is the open position. Your audience is the hiring authority. The message you want to convey is how well you will fit in with the company and what you will bring to the position. Mock Interviews are how you practice, practice, practice.
Use the job description, your field research, and previous experiences to formulate a list of questions you may be asked in the interview. Employers enjoy using behavioral interview questions that require real, specific ways you have handled situations. Common lead-ins are “tell us about a time” or “give us an example of”. Give your answers an introduction, a quick explanation, and a resolution.
Use your Accountability Partner, a friend, or community resource to help you practice the answers and role-play any surprise questions. Encourage the mock interviewer to provide honest feedback. Did you use fillers, such as um, uh, like, and well? Did you make eye contact and answer the questions completely? Did any answers sound fake, did your ramble, or make a great impression? Dress for the interview, so you know comfortable the outfit is and the impression it will make. It’s better to make the mistakes in the practice run than in the actual interview.
Most importantly, practice your closing line.
In a graduate seminar, a successful Public Relations CEO once said the most memorable employee she ever hired ended the interview with the following question: “What else can I tell you to ensure I’m your first choice for this position?”.
An Assistant Director of Non-Profit once marveled at the number of people who didn’t ask for the job. He noted that most didn’t close with a strong statement about how motivated they were to work for the company.
As City Director of Engineering Services for a once said that the interview was almost over before it began when an applicant showed up in a jean skirt. However, her interviewing skills and competencies made such an impact that they over looked her unprofessional attire.