Preparing for a Successful Interview

July 5, 2013

Job Search

Aubrie De Clerck, CPC

Aubrie is a Career and Leadership Coach, working both in her own private practice and for Lee Hecht Harrison (an industry-leading talent development organization). Her career history spans corporate, non-profit and self employment, giving her wide perspective on the world of work. Aubrie is known for being highly inspirational and deeply practical, and loves bringing these qualities to sessions with groups and individuals. Most of all, she is passionate about helping people of all ages and phases of life get the most out of their work life.

Preparing for a Successful Interview

When I follow up with clients to see how an interview went, I often hear  – “I think it went well, but I’m not really sure!  I will know when I hear back from them.”

Waiting to hear back from employers can cause a lot of anxiety, and while I’m a proponent of getting feedback from an employer on interview performance, why wait when you can do some immediate debrief for yourself?

The key to doing your own interview debrief is to set an intention before the interview.  Craft an intention focused on something you want to improve upon, or something you already do well that you’d like to really knock out of the park.  Choose a soft skill or a technical skill. It really doesn’t matter what it is.  Set a goal that is:

  1. something only you can control
  2. measurable

Let’s run this through.

Intention A:  “I will consider the interview successful if the panel responds positively to me.”

  1. Not in our control.  Interviewers’ responses may have nothing to do with us.  If they seem distracted, they could be frustrated with something at work or at home, not feeling well or just not expressive people.  If they are friendly, they could be just being nice for the sake of formality.  We simply don’t know if they don’t tell us.
  2. This intention is hard to measure. Is a positive reaction smiling?  A compliment?  Even if these are positive, they don’t mean anything in regards to attaining the position, which is what most people are aiming for in a positive response.

Intention B:  “I will consider the interview successful if I talk slowly and clearly when answering questions.”

  1. Definitely within one’s own control.  A great intention if someone tends to talk fast or mumble.
  2. While we can’t measure this by exact tempo without recording interview, we can have a good idea of how we are coming across.  Was I out of breath?  Did I pay attention to my rate of speech? Did I take small breaks for water or breathing?

Other intentions clients have used successfully:

  • little reliance on notes
  • smiling and showing enthusiasm
  • preparing thoroughly in advance
  • following up in a timely manner
  • showing confidence
  • giving a clear description of expertise

Your intention can change with each interview, in fact it most likely will.  It might be influenced by how the last interview went or what you have learned from your research about the organization and people interviewing you.  Check in with yourself before each interview to  see what changes you want to make to your intention.

Setting your own intention gives focus to your interview before it happens, gives you a sense of ownership of how it went, and allows you to relax just a little bit more when waiting for the employer’s response.

Ideas on interview intentions?  Please comment below, I’d love to hear them.

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