Attacking Interviews

Interviews aren’t fun. You are nervous, excited, worried about saying something wrong, analyzing everything that comes out of your mouth and constantly making assumptions about what the interviewers think about you.

So what do I mean when I say to “attack” the interview. Live in the moment.

If you leave an interview and can remember more than half the questions and all of your answers, you attacked it. If you were able to address everything you wanted to tell them about you and what impact you could make for them, you attacked it. If you can remember everyone’s names and what they do at the company, you attacked it. Live in the moment. Some keys to think about:

  1. PREPARE YOUR LITTLE HEART OUT. You are ready for your interview when you are so sick of talking about your experiences that you cannot stomach talking about it anymore. You are ready when you have a scribbled, scratched out, erased, re-written, re-written again piece of paper with every possible question and answer on it. You are ready when you can recite or reflect on the company’s mission and why it’s important to you. You are ready when your interview outfit is laid out nicely the day before. Nobody can wing an interview. They might tell you they can—but they cannot.
  2. ACTIVELY LISTEN TO EVERYBODY ALL DAY NO MATTER WHAT. This starts with the greeter/front desk/receptionist. Have a conversation. Hear what they say, thank them on the way out. During the interview, make eye contact. Restate things you didn’t  understand, summarize points so they know you are paying attention – TAKE NOTES. If it’s a panel or committee interview, get yourself involved in the small talk discussion they have before the interview starts.
  3. ASK SPECIFIC AND TOUGH QUESTIONS.  Questions at the end of the interviews are easy. Have some prepared. It’s a but off-putting for a candidate to say “No, I have everything I need”. Think about whether you do have all the information you could possibly need to make a decision to work here? Especially if it’s a panel interview, ask direct questions to specific panelists. This shows you were paying attention to what they do and what they are responsible for. Try to ask questions that are directly related to what came up throughout the interview – that’s tough but impressive.
  4. BE INTERESTED IN THE INTERVIEWER. Engage in conversation throughout and be interested in what they are saying, asking and answering. If the interviewer gets the idea that you are truly interested in what they do, they are going to realize you are also that enthusiastic about the role and company.
  5. BREATHE. It takes effort to mute nerves. Physical effort. Slow down your speech, suppress the nerves and breathe. You’ll be able to concentrate better on the coversation if you are physically more relaxed.

Having good answers will produce a good interview for you. Attacking the interview prep and actively participating in the process will set you apart, and allow you to shine through and maybe even enjoy it.

Are you ready?


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