Would You Attempt Competing in the Giant Slalom if You Have Never Been on Skis?
In recognition of the 2014 Olympics I thought I would use an Olympics analogy that applies to a lot of things in life. For our purposes, consider the interview. Why would anyone no matter where they are in the job search process, consider going on an important interview if they have never prepared. Interviewing is a skill that is built over time and requires practice.
My first recommendation would be to visit the Career Center and spend a session reviewing the interview. What are direct, indirect, stress and behavioral interview techniques? What is the simple “trick” you use in a behavioral interview? Have the counselor review some of the most commonly asked interview questions. If you are unsure about how one might go about researching a company your counselor can guide you on that in addition to offering pointers on dressing appropriately for the interview. Then, as you are leaving that meeting, schedule a time to come back for a mock interview. What a concept!
A mock interview is an opportunity for you to simulate a real interview without the added pressure of knowing a job is actually on the line. A company and position is selected that you will research (ideally within an industry you are interested in pursuing) and prepare as if it were the real deal. Typically they will run about 20-30 minutes and the interviewer can provide valuable feedback on how you handled yourself. Could you have provided stronger responses? Was it clear that you knew the organization and you did your research? Did you say like/um/uh too much? How about that annoying habit you have of staring at the ceiling when answering the question? You see where I am going with this? This experience will help better understand the interview itself and where you might need some work. Consider doing several of these interviews until you feel confident.
A wonderful resource the Fairfield Career Planning Center has made available to students is InterviewStream. In the privacy of your own room you can go through a mock interview while filming yourself. How do you think YOU will do? I dare you. Go to www.fairfield.interviewstream.com
Want to practice with friends who are all going through the process also? You all have to be honest with each other (but in a nice way), and each have the list of 100 most commonly asked questions. Take turns asking each other questions and critique the response. After a while it becomes second nature.
Remember, you never want to go into an interview sounding as if you have memorized all of your answers and nothing is spontaneous; but to go into the interview knowing how you might respond to almost anything thrown your way is where you want to be.
Finally, when the time comes and you get that interview…and you know you will…take the time to prep. Don’t be that person that thinks their great personality and ability to hold a conversation will get you through. Chances are you will be left wondering what happened.
To boil it down, Olympic athletes don’t go into their event unprepared… so you shouldn’t either.
Director, Career Planning Center