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Interviewing Techniques and Tips

Interviewing for a job can be nerve-wracking. You may feel uncomfortable

selling yourself or fielding unexpected questions. r t!e prospect of !aving to
meet and impress new people may be enoug! to trigger anxiety. "owever#
interviewing is a skill you can learn. $it! t!e rig!t tips and tec!niques# you can
become a master at s!aring your value wit! potential employers# presenting
yourself effectively at interviews# and getting t!e job you want.
Interviewing techniques tip 1: Interview for as many jobs as you can
%et&s assume you !ave focused your searc! on certain types of jobs and types of
employers. You !ave developed a preferred list of bot!. You !ave scanned t!e
!ori'on# conducted researc!# compiled your questions# and engaged your network
for assistance. Your resume is in order.
(!en job openings start to pop up t!roug! your web searc!es and referrals from
your network. )ome seem close but ot!ers don&t quite fit. You quickly skip over
t!ose jobs t!at are *beneat!* you# !ave titles t!at appear to be foreign# or are in
fields or industries you&re unfamiliar wit!. You !ave decided to be focused and
only apply for positions t!at exactly matc! your searc! criteria.
+ut limiting your job searc! limits t!e possibilities. nce you create too many
filters and requirements# you can easily overlook opportunities. In t!is type of
market you !ave to get out t!ere and actively uncover opportunities. ,on-t dismiss
opportunities to interview based upon superficial and narrow criteria. You never
know w!en an interview for a not-quite-rig!t job will result in a surprising
matc!# a referral to anot!er opening# or an entirely new position tailored to fit
your unique experience and abilities.
$!y you s!ould interview as muc! as possible.
You need the practice. )ome of you !ave not interviewed for a w!ile.
You need to refine your story and improve your communication skills# w!ic!
require practice. (!at means interviewing as muc! as you can.
Interviewing will refine your job search. +y getting out t!ere and
interviewing# you&ll learn about new trends# positions# and opportunities# your
perspective will s!ift# and you&ll see new pat!s t!at you were previously
unaware of.
Interviewing will make your network stronger. /s you engage your
network for interview referrals and recommendations# you will not only
strengt!en existing connections# but you&ll meet new people w!o are
connected to your network.
Interviewing may lead to unepected opportunities. If you !ave t!e skills
and impress in t!e interview# t!at carries weig!t in t!e organi'ation.
0mployers want to place good people and may even refer you to
opportunities outside of t!e firm.
Interviewing techniques tip !: "evelop a compelling story
$e tend to conclude t!at our lives are pretty muc! t!e same as ot!er people-s# t!at
t!ey&re average and boring. /s a result# many people don&t tell t!eir own story
well. +ut your story is so muc! better t!an you t!ink. (!e way your life !as
evolved1 t!e t!ings you&ve learned1 your ac!ievements# failings# and dreams2
t!ese t!ings are unique to you and muc! more interesting t!an you reali'e.
)!aring your well t!oug!t-out story is a powerful interviewing tec!nique.
Your story is w!at !elps people understand w!o you are and w!ere you are going.
)o learn to tell your story and tell it well# especially for interviewing and
networking purposes. 3utting toget!er your story takes a lot of work and practice.
"owever# t!e benefits to you and to your career are enormous. Your stories.
4ive you confidence
Increase your self-awareness
+ring !umanity to your resume
5ake you memorable and set you apart
,eveloping your story for job interviews
Take a comprehensive inventory of the chapters of your life. (!ink
about major events# memories# and turning points t!at s!aped w!o you are.
5ake notes about your feelings# expectations# and frustrations# or w!at you
learned# accomplis!ed# and experienced. rgani'e your c!apters by time
periods or jobs.
#ocus on memorable $aha% moments. (!ese stories need to !ave vivid
dimensions so people will experience t!at moment wit! you. It may !ave
been a moment wit! your mom on t!e porc!# or a trip you took to a
faraway place# or w!at a boss or mentor told you. (!e stories don&t !ave to
be dramatic# just meaningful to you.
&ncover the themes in your story. $!at emerges as your passion6
5entoring ot!ers# doing researc!# !elping a specific type of client#
advancing knowledge in your field6 $!at gives you joy6 /re you a
teac!er# a leader# an entrepreneur# a risk taker6
'eflect on your career path. "ow !ave you arrived w!ere you are today6
$!y did you make certain c!oices6 $!o !elped you along t!e way6 $!at
motivated you t!en and now6 "ave your career goals remained t!e same or
!ave t!ey c!anged6 /re you someone w!o likes new projects6 r executes
t!e details of someone else-s vision6
3ractice makes perfect
nce you&ve developed your story# t!e next step is to practice telling it2saying it
out loud# ideally to ot!ers. ,on&t wait until t!e interview to tell it for t!e first time.
(ry reciting it into a tape recorder or s!aring it wit! a confidante for feedback. 4et
over your feelings of story inadequacy or t!inking t!at a job well done speaks for
/s you become more comfortable in !ow to tell your story# you will see t!at your
life !as not just been a string of random events. Your story !as a past and it !as a
future and t!e road a!ead becomes clearer w!en you understand w!ere you !ave
been. (!e ultimate test will be t!e next time someone says# *(ell me about
Interviewing techniques tip (: Tailor your story to the job
/pplying your story to a specific employer or job is t!e next step. %ining up t!e
stories t!at apply to t!e opportunity at !and is critical. 3ut yourself in t!e
interviewer&s s!oes and pose t!e questions you would ask. $!ic! stories are
relevant to t!is job interview6 (!ink about personal stories t!at s!ow !ow you
!andled c!ange# made c!oices under pressure# or learned lessons from mistakes
and failures. You s!ould also t!ink about stories you can tell in t!e interview t!at
reveal your skill set.
%earning and appreciating your story is a prerequisite to any interview process.
,on&t rely on your ability to t!ink on your feet. /nticipate t!e questions and !ave
answers at t!e ready. In t!e end# t!is is about making a great and memorable
impression t!at demonstrates competency and ability.
You may want to start by developing your stories around t!ese areas.
)tate times w!ere you eit!er made money or saved money for your
current or previous company.
7ocus on a crisis or two in your life or job and !ow you responded or
recovered from it.
/ time w!ere you functioned as a part of a team and w!at t!at
contribution was.
/ time in your career or job w!ere you !ad to deal wit! stress.
/ time in your job w!ere you provided successful leaders!ip or a sense
of direction.
(!e failures you faced in your job and !ow you overcame t!em.
(!e seminal events t!at !appened during your career t!at caused you to
c!ange direction and !ow t!at worked out for you.
If you&re !aving trouble developing a good interviewing story# ask your friends or
family members for t!eir own success stories. 8otice t!e elements t!at make t!em
work# suc! as specific details and a smoot! flow. 8otice elements t!at don&t work#
suc! as vagueness or rambling. (!en t!ink about your own experience and try to
uncover t!e moments w!en you really excelled or w!en you rose to meet a
c!allenge. /fter you identify several# practice t!em until t!ey flow easy and work
on adapting t!em to different types of questions.
Interviewing techniques tip ): *anage stress
Interviewing for a job can make anyone stressed. In small doses# t!at stress can
actually be beneficial# !elping you perform under pressure. "owever# if stress
becomes constant and overw!elming# it can impair t!e way you communicate
during an interview by disrupting your capacity to t!ink clearly and creatively.
$!en you&re stressed# you&re more likely to misread an interviewer or send
confusing or off-putting nonverbal signals.
If you can&t quickly relieve stress in t!e moment and return to a calm state# you&ll
almost certainly be unable to take advantage of t!e ot!er interviewing tec!niques
and tips. /ll our best intentions go out of t!e window w!en we&re overw!elmed
by stress. It&s only w!en you&re in a calm# relaxed state t!at you can t!ink on your
feet# recall t!e stories you&ve practiced# and provide clear answers to an
interviewer&s questions. (!erefore# it&s vital t!at you learn quick stress relief
tec!niques a!ead of time.
9uick stress relief in an interview
$!en stress strikes before or during an interview# you obviously can-t diffuse it by
taking time out to meditate or go for a run. +y learning to quickly reduce stress in
t!e moment# t!oug!# you can maintain a relaxed# energi'ed state of awareness2
even w!en faced wit! c!allenging questions2and remain focused and engaged.
Interviewing techniques tip +: ,e prepared
Interviews range from conversations lasting a few minutes to several formal
meetings# sometimes wit! more t!an one interviewer. Interviews allow you to
demonstrate t!at you are t!e rig!t candidate for t!e job# but you are not alone if
interviews make you nervous. (!e better prepared you are# t!e more relaxed and
comfortable you will be w!en t!e questions start coming your way.
:ob interview preparation tips.
"o your research. 4at!er information about t!e company and t!e position
available. (ry to specifically relate your experience to t!e duties t!e job
opportunity entails.
-ractice interviewing. 0nlist a friend ;better yet# a group of friends and
colleagues< to ask you sample questions. 3ractice making eye contact.
'ecord your practice sessions.
'ecord your practice sessions. 3ay attention to body language and verbal
presentation. 0liminate verbal fillers# like u!# and um. 3ractice using
positive body language to signal confidence# even w!en you&re not feeling
it. Instead of tentatively entering an interview wit! your !ead down and
eyes averted# for example# try standing tall wit! your s!oulders back#
smiling and maintaining eye contact# and delivering a firm !ands!ake. It
will make you feel more self-confident and !elp to put t!e ot!er person at
.andle logistics early. "ave your clot!es# resume# and directions to t!e
interview site ready a!ead of time# to avoid any extra stress.
,on&t forget about your references
,on&t let your references be t!e last to know about your job searc!# or even
worse# get an unexpected call from a potential employer. 5any offers are
wit!drawn over bad references. $!y take t!at c!ance6 4et in touc! wit! your
references rig!t away to seek !elp and to avoid surprises on eit!er side.
/re your references relevant to your current job searc!6 $!o s!ould you
add or subtract6
/re t!ere any reference gaps6 4aps t!at an employer will question6 $!at
is your story about t!ose gaps6
=an a colleague# vendor# customer# or board member be added to replace or
en!ance t!e list6
$!at is t!e current status of your relations!ip wit! your references6
Interviewing techniques tip /: 0nticipate likely questions
(o get to t!e motivations and working style of a potential employee# employers
often turn to be!avioral interviewing# an interviewing style w!ic! consists of a
series of probing# incisive questions.
)ample be!avioral interview questions include.
,escribe a situation in w!ic! you didn&t meet your stated goal# !ow did
you !andle it6
(ell us about a situation in w!ic! you encountered resistance from key
people# !ow did you convince t!e person or people to do w!at you wanted6
,escribe a situation in w!ic! you took t!e initiative to c!ange a process or
system and make it better# !ow did you identify t!e problem6 "ow did you
go about instituting c!ange6
3reparing good interview answers
Interviewers will follow up your preliminary answers wit! furt!er questions about
your actions. (o prepare for t!ese types of interview questions# t!e following tips
mig!t !elp.
'eview your research about t!e company and t!e position.
*ake a list of key attributes for your desired job.
1rite sample interview questions t!at are likely to uncover t!e
attributes you identified as important.
2reate answers to t!e sample interview questions based on a template
suc! as )ituation > /ction > ?esult wit! specific details from your work
-ractice answering the interview questions and follow-up questions so
t!at you are very familiar wit! several detailed examples@stories. ?e!earse
key points.
Interviewing techniques tip 3: 0sk questions during the interview
+eing prepared and asking great questions about t!e position and t!e employer
s!ows your interest during t!e interview. You can-t just be an effective responder.
You need to assert yourself# too. +y t!e time you reac! t!e interviewing stage#
you s!ould be clear about w!at you want and w!at you offer to t!e company.
(ry to be t!oug!tful and self-reflective in bot! your interview questions and your
answers. )!ow t!e interviewee you know yourself2your strengt!s and your
weaknesses. +e prepared to talk about w!ic! areas would present c!allenges and
!ow you would address t!em. /dmitting true areas of weakness is muc! more
convincing t!an claiming. *I !ave w!at you need and I can do anyt!ing I put my
mind to.*
9uestions to ask potential employers in job interviews
(!e people w!o do well at your company. w!at skills and attributes do t!ey
usually !ave6
$!at do you like best about working at AAAAA6
$!at results are expected6
$!at specific problems are you !oping to solve during t!e first six mont!s6
$!o are t!e key internal customers6 /ny special issues wit! t!em6
$!at !appened to t!e person w!o !ad t!is job before6
$!at communication style do you prefer6
$!at is your p!ilosop!y regarding on-t!e-job growt! and development6
$!at are your goals for t!e department6
)ource. Circle of Experts
Interviewing techniques tip 4: ,oost your 56
/s we know# it&s not always t!e smartest person or t!e one wit! t!e most relevant
skills t!at gets t!e job. ?at!er# t!e successful candidate is often t!e one w!o !as
t!e best people skills# w!o can relate easily to ot!ers. In ot!er words# it&s t!e
person wit! a !ig! emotional intelligence ;09<. 0motional intelligence is t!e
ability to identify# use# understand# and manage emotions in positive ways to
communicate effectively and empat!i'e wit! ot!ers. If you !ave a !ig! emotional
intelligence you are able to.
?ecogni'e your own emotional state and t!e emotional states of ot!ers.
0ngage wit! people in a way t!at draws t!em to you.
3ick up on emotional cues# communicate effectively# and develop strong
/long wit! t!e ability to quickly manage stress# emotional awareness is a primary
skill of emotional intelligence t!at can be learned. +eing able to connect to your
emotions2!aving a moment-to-moment awareness of your emotions and !ow
t!ey influence your t!oug!ts and actions2is t!e key to understanding yourself
and ot!ers.
7ind commonalities
ne way to apply emotional awareness in an interview situation is to find
common !uman connections wit! t!e interviewer. If you set out wit! t!e intention
to discover !ow you and t!e person interviewing you are connected and w!at you
s!are# you will discover commonalities muc! faster. /nd t!e interviewing process
will be muc! less intimidating because of it.
(ips for discovering commonalities wit! your interviewer.
"o your research. 4oogle every person you know you are going to meet
or t!ink you mig!t meet in t!e interview# especially senior
executives. %earn w!at mig!t be common areas of interest in advance.
7isten and pay attention. If you listen during t!e interview and look for
commonalities# t!ey will seem omnipresent. $!en your interviewer
mentions !is or !er alma mater# weekend plans# kids# or favorite restaurant#
you !ave t!e c!ance to ask questions and find common ground. You can
also take a look around t!e office. ,o you see a book you&ve read# a
product you want or just boug!t# or a p!oto you like6 If so# you !ave a
means to discuss commonalities.
7ead with your interests and passions. "ow you introduce yourself
and talk about yourself in t!e interview matters. If you integrate facts and
interests into your spiel about yourself# t!en you create opportunities to
connect. /fter t!e *$!at do you do6* or *(ell me about yourself* query#
tell your story.
#ind common ground in the contet. $!ere you are meeting# your
surroundings# and t!e purpose of your connection are all reference points.
(!ere is a reason w!y bot! of you find yourself at t!is unique place and
time. $!y are you bot! in t!is business6 ,o you know t!e any of t!e same
$!ile searc!ing for commonalities# avoid pummeling your interviewer wit! a
series of set questions. %et t!e interview !appen naturally# but keep an eye out for
!ints of commonalities. nce you do# t!e world will feel like a smaller# friendlier
place and your anxiety over interviewing will s!rink.