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For working professionals, if there is one skill that everyone has to cultivate it would have to be the art of interviewing. Here’s how to attend an interview – like a boss!
If we were to look upon our own experiences, for many of us, it took a number of interviews to develop the fluency to be able to rattle off one’s history and expertise, while maintaining diplomacy, over a conversation. Our ability to recall, represent, and recant information on the fly is one that can be done with relative ease, thus presenting ourselves as confident candidates, and makes it a little easier to navigate an interview.
But what happens when you’ve never interviewed before, or have been on a career break and have forgotten what you’ve accomplished, and now have to face an interview? The thought of it can be quite daunting and enough to convince you that one’s current predicament is better than owning up to the fear of failing in an interview. Fear and low self-esteem are often the barriers that prevent people, women particularly, from making professional changes in their lives.
Here are some tips that can help novices as well as those who’ve been on a break to get back in the game while preparing for an interview.
Whether you’re a newbie or a professional with years of experience, you should be able to tell your personal story as creatively and succinctly as possible. When it comes to talking about oneself, you’d be surprised by how often people mumble and stumble around the subject. Nobody can tell your personal story better except you and this is the first opportunity you get to impress your interviewer.
Document your story and determine the facets that make you unique as well as stand out. Highlight features of your story that have high recall value thus creating a positive impression. As Indians, we have a tendency to talk at length; instead, focus on brevity because your interviewer will have more questions to pose across the duration of your interview.
When you’ve been on a break, you will soon realize that a lot of information that once lay on the tip of your tongue now seems dormant and hidden in the recesses of your mind. You will find yourself struggling to remember this information purely because of an ageing brain. To combat this, it’s important to document all the incidents, projects, success stories, failures, observations and learning, as well as where you see your career shaping up to be in the future, to be able to jog your memory. Reach out to former colleagues and bosses to remember the work that you’ve partnered on; you can go a step further and ask how your contributions made a difference or if you could have done more. All of this information will come in handy during the interview process.
During an interview, it’s important that there be a natural flow of conversation, devoid of any fillers. It’s important to practice how you orally present information, ensure fluency, and eye contact. Try this by standing in front of the mirror and looking directly at oneself as one speaks. This simple activity provides immense confidence and the mere act of hearing one’s own words aloud makes it seem all the more ‘real’. You should even get a friend or spouse to hear you out and offer advice if any changes are to be made to your personal style of oral communication.
Practice makes perfect. I cannot stress this enough. Prepare for all the possible scenarios and interview questions that may be posed to you and with time, you’ll soon have a set of readily available answers, that are politically, diplomatically, and tactfully appropriate to win over your interviewer. This will reduce your anxiety and stress considerably with having to deal with questions at the spur of the moment during your interview.
Reach out and connect with former bosses, mentors, professors, and colleague for their advice on what is the status quo in the industry, what’s hot and trending, and what they recommend you know. Take their recommendations, act upon it, and don’t forget to acknowledge their contributions. This particularly is helpful when you’ve been selected for a position and need to provide references. Additionally, as one progresses further in one’s career, a lot of job opportunities are made known and fulfilled through references.
It’s important to be social in the real world and online, you never know from where you’ll get your next job. Utilize your networks – be it from school, your alma mater, former companies where you’ve worked, people whom you meet in religious institutions, even the gym – and make it public that you’re keen to get back to work. Use social media like Linkedin to create a profile, update your skills and promote that you’re available as a good candidate to be hired.
With these simple steps, anybody can present their best foot forward, feel confident, and be reassured that they’ve done their part in succeeding in an interview.
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Marsha Lewis loves to watch shows with drama, bake bread, and attempts to maintain a
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