I have an interview coming up against some tough competition and I am very nervous. Does anyone have any tips to better prepare myself for the interview?
Interviews are a lot of work and require serious preparation. Review your
recent performance and have examples of how you 1) solved a complex issue,
2) displayed leadership, 3) exhibited team spirit. Focus on accomplishments.
Review in detail the requirements of this new post.
Wear a nice suit and be clean-shaved.
Anticipate possible questions and have some well prepared responses. Be
ready to ASK GOOD QUESTIONS.
Being nervous is natural, especially for an important experience you are about to go through. Some suggestions:
– Review the company, the division and the people you are going to work for. Learn as much about them, their products, their vision, their mission, etc… Study online resources for this information, but also get on the phone, even seek meetings (informal ones) with others in the company, or with those who know the company. This is considered a normal/natural part of your job seeking homework, by the way. Learn all you can, as its in your best interest.
– Have one, or more, people who you know/trust to give you a series of mock interviews. What worked for me in this area (your mileage may vary!) was for my mock interviewer to set up a series of 3-5 interviews, each was to be a new/unique session and to put me through a variety of typical scenario’s. I was fortunate that this was a person who does this for a living. I was blunt and candid in what I wanted, and expected to be shown what a nice/good/effective interview SHOULD be like, but to also pointedly put me on the spot with how things can go wrong. Each session was treated like a full and FORMAL job interview, to include suit, demeanor and complete interview set of questions, answers and discussion. Afterward there was a blunt and candid review of what the objectives for that session were (from HIS perspective), what areas I did well on, where I did poorly/badly, identification of areas of opportunity where I missed out on something good (or bad) to capitalize on, and objective suggestions for improving my body language, demeanor, language, and attitude. In my mind, I wanted these mock interviews to take their best shots at ripping me to shreds, and see where my strong/weak points were. The reviews afterward were essential to improving my understanding of MYSELF and what I MUST improve in order to get through the interview. For me, this proved to be a winning move.
– Go into the interview eager and ready to experience it. Relish and enjoy every moment of it. You will get to do it so infrequently, that this is a golden opportunity to experience to the fullest. You may think I’m kidding —I’m not. By adjusting yourself so that this IS your mindset and approach, you’ll find it not only enjoyable, but very rewarding as well.
– I’m hoping someone more knowledgeable than me can address the interview questions ‘issue’. I know there are lots of resources on the internet to research the plethora of interview questions and types, etc… My suggestion, at this point in your life/career, to not worry so much about the questions, as to what you can give and offer this company. On the other hand, you certainly should have your own list of questions, written down is fine, of what you want to know about them. Especially about your work environment, expectations of you and your time, etc… Start off general (“what can you tell me about the company”) and work to being more specific (“what can you tell me about the division”, what can you tell me about the position you are hiring me for”, etc….”).
– Try this approach on being calm—think about, and continuously remind yourself in productive, enriching and positive ways that you will calmly and rationally be successful in this interview. Mentally focus on what you WANT, vice what you don’t want. Its fine to honestly self-evaluate how you are today. What is really important is HOW will you improve? What can you do better, and what are you doing about it now? Another approach is that being nervous is your minds way of telling you to be careful. You are in control of yourself. You decide what is important or worrisome. So, tell your mind what to think and how to act. Such an improvement can occur over time when you are persistent. Think about it. Side note: I’ve found in life, people who focus on what they don’t want, or like, as the case may be, don’t see how negative that is. They really believe that by telling themselves NOT to do something that somehow, magically, the RIGHT thing they are supposed to be doing will magically occur. It doesn’t work that way. I’ve found when you positively and actively WANT something to occur, then make that accomplishment the focus of your attention — it happens. I believe that occurs because you’ve DONE something, as opposed to the alternative of attempting to NOT do something. I believe the former is a positive builder in our lives. Be optimistic.
– You gave the impression that you’d have some stiff competition for this job. Competition is a good thing. Go in with your best foot forward. Be honest, show them that you are more than interested in doing your best every day. Convey, throughout the interview-using every question as an opportunity, to explain to them HOW dedicated you are, HOW energetic your day-to-day
performance is now (and will continue to be for them), that you are the best candidate even with your ‘limited’ experience (because you can work harder, smarter, faster, with stellar results), that you are a quick learner, that you are able to efficiently and effectively apply new rules to existing paradigm’s, etc…. In accomplishing this, I don’t mean for you to embelish who and what you are, simply have this (the above) as your mindset, and as a way to EXPLAIN/justify and demonstrate that YOU are confident you are the best candidate. Note: In this context, I mean no offense with the reference to your being ‘limited’, simply saying that your skills are what they are, and that it is normal to recognize others (your competition?) have more time, and possibly even more talent/skill than you do. In fact, consider the amount of your skills, and that you are positively approaching this job opportunity as an ‘asset’. You are bringing knowledge and experience to the table. You’ll accept direction on what they want, and how they want it, but will also tap into your own talents, skills, abilities and creativity to do the job even better. Review your resume, the one THEY have, the night before. Study it closely, as they will ask you questions based on what they see, and don’t see. I’ve seen a good interview go VERY bad, simply because the interviewee wasn’t cognizant of the content of their own resume. Focus on your talents and skills. Don’t BS the interviewer with smoke and mirrors. More than likely they’ll catch on rather quickly that you are smart, patient and honest (desired qualities!!!) or that you aren’t (bad).
– Be honest regarding what you can do, and only volunteer what you are bad at, or cannot do when questioned about something specific that you can’t do. Its reasonable to know your limitations, and that you can candidly explain the breadth of your abilities (and limits). If you find they focus on ‘stuff’ you don’t know, its ok. Expect such questions and take them in stride. Follow up with your speed/willingness to learn AND apply it correctly.
– Finally, as quickly as possible after the interview, sit down (in your car even) and take notes on what occurred. What could you have done better? What things did you mention or explain, that your resume SHOULD have addressed? What did you do right, and can capitalize on in the future? What questions were asked, and how you answered them. Its normal that you won’t remember everything, yet by documenting the gist of it when it is fresh in your mind, will be productive and helpful when you go through, and prepare for, the next interview. You think you were going to stay in this new job for forever, did you?
Do NOT take it personally, if you don’t get this job. Instead, reflect on this interview, work on areas you can improve on, and move on to seeking out the next one. More than likely, the company hired the best candidate, and that honestly will not always be you. That is ok and should be acceptable in your mind. Such things happen, and companies make job-hiring decisions in light of what is best for the company. It greatly helps to realize that these are business decisions and not an adverse indicator of you (which it isn’t!).
As an advice on interviews, the best way is to be honest in your answers. If you have never worked on the task that is asked on the interview, the best answer is to say I can learn anything quickly even though I have never worked with what they ask I have a proven track record on learning new tasks quickly. It is important to bring the positive first and not the negative. Example, I never have worked with the software but I can learn quickly. See, in the example, the interviewer will only hear the negative and not the ending part of the sentence.
Another word of advice, be yourself. It is not advisable to rehearse answers on a face to face interview. The reason is that the interviewer will pick up on it and try to trip you up or not believe your answers.
You should also be relaxed. Remember the person who is interviewing you must want to talk to you and like what you have to offer or they would have never agreed to an interview. You should also remember that the person interviewing you has been in your position before and will understand some anxiety.
*Questions excerpted from ITToolBox.com*
Disclaimer: Contents are not reviewed for correctness and are not endorsed or recommended by PeopleSoft-Planet.com.