A call for an interview often creates immense excitement and a few nerves.
Snagging a sought-after interview means our desired organization is interested in us and what we have to offer.
In this fast-paced professional marketplace, where time is money, we are not called for an interview unless we are a candidate of interest. An invitation to interview indicates we are on the right track.
Whether we move beyond round one of interviews or not, it is important to note that we are engaging audiences that matter to us and illuminating our professional narrative, skills, and contributions in a compelling way in our conversations, resume materials, and online profiles.
Hiring managers and recruiters like what they see so far and want to see more from us. If you just landed an interview, sincere congratulations! And if you're getting back into the swing of preparation, congratulations for being committed to your career growth to be here. Wherever you are in the process, let's take a moment to prepare well for your time together with your desired organization.
TYPES OF INTERVIEWS
IN-PERSON: The tried-and-true style. This approach means sitting down in person, either one-on-one or in a group setting. Sometimes this style happens at the first interview and sometimes not until later in the interview process. A perfect opportunity to evaluate the energy you bring to a room, how you engage audiences in real-time, and how you listen too.
PHONE: The classic first interview approach. A great way to vet a candidate conversationally without the extra fuss of bringing them onsite for the interview. Sometimes these interviews are deeply formal and others times, they are more informal in nature. Always take notice of the energy, pacing, and communication of the interviewer at the outset to understand the level of formality expected in the phone interview.
VIRTUAL: Virtual interview are rapidly increasing in today's market. A wonderful combination of being in-person while offering a virtual veil of distance too. Many organizations are leveraging virtual interviews to better evaluate how a candidate performs with technology, under virtual pressure, and their level of effectiveness in communication and audience engagement via a screen. Global workforces are on the rise, which means a client may manage, lead, and engage audiences of all sizes and cultures virtually; therefore, virtual interviewing skill speaks volumes.
AUTO: Ever had an interview that auto-dials you and asks you questions, giving you a few moments to respond before moving on to the next question? In high-volume recruitment, auto interviews are commonly used and inform recruiters of a candidate's preparation level, ability to think on their feet, and communicate clearly and effectively.
VIDEO: Think of it like an audition of sorts where you're not virtually live with a audience but you show up as if you are, offering clear and compelling communication and responses to questions in a way that engages the audience and pulls them further into your perspective and professional narrative. Video interviews are also used for high-volume organizations, staffing agencies, and creative companies where film and/or video plays an indelible role in the work.
TECHNICAL | CASE-STUDY: The style or format may vary but these interviews have a sole focus. They want to see you in the work. They are asking you to perform a core responsibility of the role for which you have applied. For example, the organization may ask you to train, deliver a team meeting, conduct a workshop, write a code, take a test, or write content. Sometimes this is live and on the spot. Sometimes there is allotted preparation time.
THE COMMON INTERVIEW MISTAKES
- Lacking warmth | Being too reserved
- Trying to be everything
- Leading the interview
- Over-explaining (and sometimes under-explaining)
- Winging It | No preparation
- Failing to stand out
Pause. Take a moment to identify which of these mistakes you want to prepare for within your coaching session(s). Jot them down, highlighting why it is a concern for you.
COURAGEOUS INTERVIEW PREPARATION
PROFESSIONAL ONLINE PRESENCE | ACCOMPLISHMENTS | STRENGTHS & SKILLS | COMPANY KNOWLEDGE | POSSIBLE OBJECTIONS | QUESTIONS YOU WANT TO ASK
1. Google yourself and audit and/or clean your social media presence to ensure it matches your professional presence. Adjust privacy settings on social profiles as needed.
2. Jot down key questions you wish to ask the interviewer(s). Always ask questions. Always.
3. Reflect upon why you want this position. How does it specifically align with you?
4. Reflect on your relevant strengths and skills you wish to highlight, including a clear example of HOW you've put those skills and strengths into practice in your career and leadership. Be sure to have an example for every skill and strength you wish to highlight.
5. Review your resume. Know it cold. What accomplishments do you most wish to highlight? What objections do you envision the interviewer(s) might have based on your experience and career history?
6. Research the organization. Examples: their vision, values, goals, and current pain points. Who is their competition? What contributions do they wish to make in the coming year in their industry? Research the interviewer(s) if possible too.
7. PRACTICE. Practice the tough questions, the wild card questions.
BONUS TIPS THAT MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE
1. Following the 7 steps above, jot down the key points and core values you want the interviewer(s) to know about you:
What do you really want them to know about you that aligns with this role and their organization?
2. As you practice, move. Bring your practice out of your mind and into your muscle memory.
3. Dress as you would for the interview. Seriously.
4. Practice not for memorization but more for greater ease and comfortability in your own skin.
5. Focus on communicating in a clear and compelling way who you are professionally and how you can advance their success and serve as an integral member of their team.
6. Practice with a trusted confidante, coach, or friend. Ask for authentic feedback.
PRACTICE THE TOUGH QUESTIONS
Tough questions vary by industry, discipline, and organization. What is tough for one interview may not be for another. And then there are the wild card questions that arrive out of left field.
- Remember to offer an example or story to back up every skill or accomplishment shared.
- Remember this isn't about memorization. This is simply about knowing two - three brief bullet points for each response so your conversation is natural, fluid, and relevant to the nuance of the question.
THE QUESTIONs & HOW TO FOCUS YOUR RESPONSE.
1. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST WEAKNESS?
- Share a learning moment and how a particular strength is supporting your growth.
2. TELL ME ABOUT A TIME WHEN YOU FAILED.
- Share a learning moment. Offer insight into what you learned from the experience.
3. HOW DO YOU HANDLE DIFFICULT COWORKERS | CLIENTS | PATIENTS | PEOPLE?
- Refrain from discussing personal judgments, negative situations, and personalities.
- Focus on aligning and agreeing upon a shared purpose.
4. WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE IN FIVE YEARS FROM NOW?
- Respond with a focus on the company and how it aligns with your desires.
5. WHY THIS ROLE? WHY DO YOU WANT TO WORK HERE?
- Focus on how you desire to serve them and how they will serve your growth as well.
- Researching the company and its own goals and ventures is key.
6. WHY SHOULD WE HIRE YOU?
- Respond with illuminating how your experience and abilities align with their needs.
- Your alignment of shared values, mission, and vision for industry.
7. WHAT IS YOUR DREAM JOB?
- Focus on your experience, desires for growth, and challenges you want to engage.
8. HOW MANY WAYS CAN YOU USE THAT PAPER CLIP IN FRONT OF YOU?
- A common question to assess your thought process, strategy, and innovation of thought.
9. WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE? WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS?
- Illuminate the strengths and talents that don't readily show up in your resume materials.
- Bring to the table something new and nuanced that aligns well with their purpose.
10. WHY ARE YOU LEAVING YOUR CURRENT JOB | LOCATION | INDUSTRY?
- Focus on highlighting your interest and engagement in new challenges.
- Bring in sincere appreciation and gratitude for your current situation.
- If you were laid off or fired, work directly with your coach to prepare a clear response.
11. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT | ACHIEVEMENT?
- Share a specific story or context to a situation or task in your care.
- Share how you handled it -- your approach, what challenges you faced.
- Share the fabulous results..and what you learned.
COURAGEOUS INTERVIEW PRACTICE
1. Practice the above-mentioned questions and any others that you know you may be asked within the interview based on your industry knowledge, previous interview experiences, and the like.
2. What are the five questions or scenarios that you'd like to improve?
3. What specific improvements do you want to make as you keep practicing?
4. Where do you feel most confident in your delivery?
FOR ADDITIONAL SAMPLE QUESTIONS AND/OR PRACTICE TIME, PLEASE REACH OUT TO YOUR COACH OR SCHEDULE AN INTERVIEW COACHING SESSION.
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