The Great Audition
How to prepare for a job interview
How do you prepare for a job interview? Do you research the company? Review your resume? Come up with answers to questions that you think they will ask?
These are all good. But if you only focus on the content of your interview, you’re missing out on an essential aspect—your performance.
Interviewers are interested in what you say, how you say it, and how you behave. They are looking for competence, confidence, and whether you will fit in.
But when you’re being interviewed, you will likely be nervous and may not come across the way you would like to. That’s why you have to rehearse—just like you would if you were auditioning for a part in a movie—or that dreaded high-school play.
4 Things to Rehearse
1. What character are you trying to get across, both in terms of your skill set and your attitude?
2. Make a list of the qualities you think the company is looking for and that you can show that you have.
3. Pay attention to your body language: keep your arms uncrossed, make appropriate eye contact, and have a firm handshake.
4. Interview yourself, or have a friend interview you, to help you practice.
The more you practice your persona and your actions, the more confident you will be in the interview.
Remember, rehearsing is about developing and showing the best parts of your personality—not about misleading the interviewer about your skill set.
Finally, even with all these tips you may still get nervous. That’s why Cathy Salit, a leadership coach, offers this last tip: “Instead of performing as a person who is trying really hard to get the job, perform as someone who wants to have a great conversation with the human being across from you.”
3 Ways to Have a Great Interview Conversation
1. Ask open-ended questions to connect with the interviewer.
2. Be conversational. Don’t just stick to your talking points, but be willing to improvise and engage in conversation while remaining professional.
3. Tell stories. Choose and rehearse some stories before the interview that you can use to answer questions. If they ask about a certain skill you have, illustrate your answer with a real-life story about how you used your skill.
Forbes.com, “How to Ace the 50 Most Common Interview Questions”
Monster.ca, “How to Prepare for a Job Interview:10 Tips to Boost Your Skills”
Harvard Business Review, "To Ace Your Job Interview, Get into Character and Rehearse"