We all know it doesn’t do us any good to worry about things we cannot control, yet we do it anyway. This is especially true when we’re waiting to hear back from an employer after a job interview. Though our anxiety cannot speed up the process, we spend days and days wondering about “what if’s” that we can not answer.
Well, not anymore! We have an alternative to your usual waiting routine.
Instead of worrying about your past performance that you can’t change, let’s turn that anxiety into something productive by focusing on how you can improve in your next interview! In this blog, we’re going to discuss three productive ways you can pass the time and curb your post-interview anxiety.
Ask Yourself “Did I Make a Connection?”
There are two primary things interviewers pay attention to when they are conducting an interview: the content of your answers and if they were able to make a connection with you.
Often times, we’re so concerned about answering questions “the right way”, that we forget that the interviewer on the other side of the table is a regular person. Interviewers want to know what you can do AND who you are. Creating an atmosphere that fosters seamless conversation and personal connection will give the interviewer an idea of how well you will fit in with the company culture. How do you do this?
Let Them Get to Know You
In our blog, 12 Steps to a Great Interview, we explore different things you can do to let your personality shine during an interview. Knowing what story you want to tell, the 3 takeaways you want the interviewer to know about you and understanding why you want to work at that particular organization are just some of the essential tips we touch on in this blog.
Get to Know The Interviewer
Even though the interview is centered around you, it’s also a great idea to get to know the interviewer on a personal level. If you can, before your next interview find out who is going to be interviewing you and what their position is at the company. Then, look them up. Scan the website for a company bio, Google them or look them up on Linkedin. Find aspects of their current and/or past jobs that align with yours and where you want to go. Use that information to develop personal questions that you can ask at the end of your interview. Asking questions that are more geared toward the interviewer can help lighten the mood, encourage the interviewer to see you as more than just another candidate and give you unique talking points when you follow up after everything is over.
Identify The Questions You Stammered Over
We can all remember the interviews where we struggled to answer specific questions. Our responses were choppy and nonsensical. By the time we reached the end of what we were saying, we successfully confused not only the interviewer, but ourselves! It’s okay, as long as we learn from our mistakes, right? If you had a hard time answering certain questions, here’s what you can do.
- Be sure to take a notepad with you to your next interview. Immediately after your interview is over, jot down every single question you can remember.
- When you have a moment to reflect, write down the answers to your questions and score them. How’d you do? Do you feel like you provided strong answers based on your knowledge and experience? If not, ask yourself how can you fill in those gaps so that the next time this question comes up, you can approach the question in a more poised, confident manner. If the questions you struggled with were industry, technical or role specific, look up more information on the topic to assess what was being asked and how you could have answered differently.
- For questions that are more abstract in nature – figure out how you want to answer similar questions next time. Most abstract questions are asked to evaluate your soft skills, your personality and passion, and to gain insight into how you think.
If your interviewer wanted to know more about your personality, you might have heard questions like:
- Who is your favorite superhero and why?
- What did you want to be when you grew up and why?
- If you had to pick one song that describes you, what would it be and why?
If the employer wanted to know more about how you see yourself functioning within a team, you might have been asked:
- If you were any object in this room, what would you be and why?
- Think of your favorite band. Which member would you be and why?
Or if they wanted to test your logic and problem solving skills, a question like this may have popped up:
- You are going to a deserted island and you can only bring 3 things. What would they be and why?
You don’t have to spend too much time remembering these questions. They are few and far between. However, do keep in mind how you want to come across and what things you want to highlight about your personality, character and work ethic that will leave a lasting impression with the employer.
Do a Mock Interview with Someone Who Has Talked the Talk AND Walked the Walk
Once you identify your “needs improvement” questions, write down your ideal answers and practice them. When you’re ready, verbally share the response with a trusted friend or mentor and listen to their feedback. Ensure your responses come across as well-thought-out, genuine responses and not canned. Practicing in advance will give you a solid reference point that you can confidently build upon when you encounter the question again.
Mock interviews are one of the most underutilized, yet highly beneficial, techniques that you can use to improve your interview skills. If you can find someone in the industry who currently holds your ideal position, or someone who has held the role in the past, you are in for an extra treat!
The person you’re meeting with doesn’t have to work for the same organization, but he or she should understand the intricacies of the role you are seeking. Conducting mock interviews with people who have interviewed for similar positions and have also performed in a similar role is a great way to gain insight into what you can do to really awe the next employer. Encourage your mock interviewer to ask you the hard questions. Discuss common problems within that specific industry or role and possible solutions an organization might seek. Brainstorm ways in which you have previously achieved similar goals and run it by your mock interviewer to see if it aligns with what a potential employer is looking for.
If you’re not sure of where to find people with which to do this, check your local listings of professional industry organizations or meetups in your city. Reach out to the individuals in charge of career development and tell them about your situation. You can also find a mentor on Linkedin that will be willing to help you refine your interview skills as well walk you through the necessary steps to be successful in your next role. Don’t forget to dig into your own network of friends, family and professionals. They can give you a more candid and intimate evaluation that you may not receive from anyone else.
That’s all that we have for now. Did you find these tips to be helpful? If yes, tell us about it! If not, send us your questions or comments to [email protected]. Or you can send us your questions via social media on our Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter pages.
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Until next time, stand out & do good!