Just thinking about attending an interview for their dream job is enough to cause unrest, panic and fear in even the most talented of professionals.
“What should I expect?” “What questions do you think they’ll ask me?” “How do I know if my answer is what they are looking for?” “What should I do/not do to ensure I build rapport with the interviewer?” “How should I respond if they ask me a difficult question?” are but a few of the numerous questions I’m often asked by panicked clients.
For some people, however, the thought of attending an interview can literally be debilitating. In fact, one person we have recently spoken to, claims that when walking into the interviewer’s office, she ‘leaves her brain at the door’ rendering her incapable of answering any questions in a professional and articulate way. Quite the opposite to how she conducts herself during the normal course of her working day.
Does this sound like you? Are you worried your fear and anxiety are impacting negatively on your ability to communicate effectively during the interview?
If so, here are four simple (yet powerful) steps that will enable you to go from fearful to fearless, so that you can enhance your communication skills to deliver relevant and memorable responses the next time you attend an interview.
Step One: Probe
The first and most important step, and which is unfortunately something that is often overlooked by many job seekers. Miss this step and you could potentially jeopardise your candidacy.
This step involves thorough research of the position and the company to pinpoint exactly what they are looking for in an ideal candidate in terms of skills, qualifications, experience and strengths etc.
This information can be found by reviewing the job advertisement, position description, and/or corporate website.
Step Two: Preparation
Once you have identified the organisation’s requirements it’s important to confirm that you have the experience, skills and strengths they seek by identifying relevant examples of situations that demonstrate these strengths in action.
You can discuss situations from either your previous and/or your current experience as long as they are relevant and follow the C.A.R. principle when delivering your response.
C.A.R. stands for:
C = challenge
Providing brief information about the challenge (situation or project) will allow the interviewer to understand the context in which you were working.
A = action
Pinpointing your actions and involvements to overcome the challenge (or contributions within the situation or project) will confirm your strengths and expertise.
R = result
Confirming the outcome and impact your actions (strengths) had on the challenge (situation or project) confirms the value and professionalism you offer the organisation. Identifying the quantified result follows the WIIFM principle (what’s in it for me) confirming the successes your previous employer gained through your direct involvement.
This is your promise of value that you offer the new organisation should you be invited to join their team.
Step Three: Practice
As the saying goes ‘practice makes perfect’ and this is also a very important step to follow when preparing for upcoming interviews. Rehearse and refine your responses by practicing your (previously developed) examples out loud, in front of a mirror or a friend/family member, or your career coach.
You need to ensure you’re comfortable with what you are saying and practicing your responses will allow you to iron out any stutters, so that on the day of the interview, you’ll able to communicate articulately and professionally.
Step Four: Picture
Top athletes use visualisation in their fitness regime to enhance their performance levels and so can you, in preparation for your upcoming interviews.
Find a quiet setting (free from interruptions) and begin picturing yourself progressing well through the entire interview.
Imagine yourself building rapport with the interviewer easily and effortlessly. Visualise yourself being calm and in control. See yourself answering the questions professionally; being able to provide relevant examples to each of the questions the interviewer asks you. Hear the interviewer congratulating you on your successes and confirming you are exactly what they are looking for in a potential candidate.
Remember, what you concentrate on, expands. So make sure you are concentrating on positive, helpful and uplifting things to continue building and enhancing your interviewing skills.
Annemarie Cross is a Career Coach, Personal Branding Strategist, a triple certified multi award-winning Professional Resume Writer and Author of ’10 key steps to Ace that Interview’.
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