- Public Speaking
It is no wonder that preparing for a job interview causes so much grief—it combines two of the three No, you are not going to die in your interview (although you may feel like it), but speaking in front of others and failure can be powerful fears.
Throw into the mix the fact that the people you are speaking to in an interview are actively judging you, and the stress levels skyrocket!
That is what makes preparation so valuable; without it, fear can get hold and damage your confidence, your presentation and the chances you get the job.
There are hundreds of details to attend to pre-interview, but these four steps will help you be ready—and increase your chances of making the right impression, and land that job:
While not in the top three, the fear of uncertainty can be overwhelming. How to write doubt out of the equation? Do your homework! Since more companies have a presence online, there is no excuse not to explore the job and learn about the business.
Knowing the job you apply for may be a no-brainer, but it wouldn’t hurt to print out the job description and bring it with you. Consider it a “cheat sheet.”
Talk to anyone who speaks publicly for a living; their top three suggestions will be “practice, practice and practice some more.” Yes, practice makes perfect, especially when so much is at stake.
What to practice? Start with the response to the most popular question—“tell me about yourself.” It’s not necessarily about your life history, but what you can do for the company. Talk about your past responsibilities and accomplishments, and how they adapt to the job in question. Don’t worry about spending time on something you will not be asked; you can be assured it will come up.
Sit down with a friend to conduct mock interviews; connect through a webcam to be ready for video conferences; stand in front of a mirror and get you elevator pitch down cold. All these things will give you critical feedback before you walk into a meeting since by then, it will be too late to think of something brilliant to say.
- Learn to speak the language.
Interviews are not only assessments of your skills and abilities, but increasingly the process incorporates behavioral techniques. Knowing and responding well to those spoken cues can be essential to preparation for the interview.
Often, a candidate will be asked how they would react in a certain situation, or to provide an occasion when they were able to solve a problem. These are questions designed to probe into your learning ability, and how your experiences gave you the tools to do the job. Always remember that it is for a deeper understanding of who you are as a person, something more than found by reading a resume.
- Sell the most influential product—yourself.
If you do not think the job interview is a sales pitch, you are missing the point. There is a product to sell (you) and only you are the best salesperson for the task. Still, there is a place in the interview where candidates trip up frequently. It is when they have to answer:
“Why should I hire you?”
Your answer is where all your preparation pays off.
With preparation, you can determine why the position is open, and the characteristics of the ideal candidate. With practice, you can put yourself as someone confident they will solve the employer’s problem. And with understanding the spoken cues of behavioral analysis, you can be poised to show that you will not only hit the ground running, but be an employee with the potential to develop into something better.
Use those as your sales pitch, and an employer will have no choice but to hire you!