Much has been written about preparing for job interviews. However, one aspect of preparation that I can’t emphasize enough, and that hardly ever occurs is…
writing out answers to potential interview questions in advance!
When the vast majority of people prepare for job interviews, they vaguely think…
“If I’m asked about _________, I’ll talk about ______________.”
However, they never actually articulate an answer or put it into complete sentences until it comes up in the live interview. Then, since they’re essentially speaking off the cuff, they tend to ramble on with an answer that’s too long and disjointed.
Some people speak off the cuff pretty well, however, even they could be much more effective if they prepared properly.
Before your next interview, try this…
What questions should you prepare for?
In order to write out answers, you have to predict what will be asked?
Certainly a very high likelihood is the one question that begins most every interview… Tell me about yourself!
Many people come up with an answer to that question in the moment instead of being well prepared for it, and they miss a great opportunity to make a terrific opening impression.
In many interviews, some kind of behavioral questions are likely to be asked. Prepare your STAR stories. The more you have well prepared, the more you’re able to answer questions very effectively with examples from your past whether they ask it in the form of a behavioral question or not.
What are the primary requirements of the job? They will very likely want to explore the depth of your experience and knowledge in those areas and the better prepared you are to discuss them, the better impression you will make.
Think about previous interviews you’ve had, and what questions were most commonly asked. Be prepared for each one of them. Google “job interview questions” for a plethora of examples available online and select several that are likely to be asked for your field and industry.
Memorize the answers?
For many, or perhaps most of us, word for word memorization is very difficult. Furthermore, if you’ve memorized answers word for word they are not likely to sound natural when you recite them in an interview.
So, what good does the writing do?
It’s not necessary to memorize the answers word for word. However, writing them out forces you to put thoughts and ideas into complete sentences. You can see if the answer is too long or too scattered. You can hone it to the most important ideas you want to convey, and you can read the result several times, out loud, to yourself.
Once you’ve gone through that process, you will inevitably be able to articulate your answers much more concisely and directly in the interview, even if you’re using different words at the time. You’ve trained your mind what you want to convey and generally how to say it well, and it will be abundantly better than making it up as you go.
Handwrite or Type?
While I keep referring to “writing” your answer… it’s not necessary to handwrite it, it can be typed.
However… many people create more of a mental attachment to something they’ve written by hand vs. typed into their PC. Whatever works most effectively for you to be able to “connect” with what you’re writing is what you should do. It’s a personal preference and decision.
As you prepare for your next interview, determine that you will be the best prepared candidate that employer will see. Prepare a list of likely questions you will be asked, and Spell It Out!