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How to Ace that Harrowing Interview Process

The interview process can be one of the most harrowing experiences for many job candidates. Of course, practicing for one helps, but for many it’s difficult to stay focused. I know because I’ve been on several throughout my career, and it’s the same feedback I receive when coaching clients through a mock interview. But there is way to get through the ordeal.

Some jitters are expected, especially when you really have your heart set on a particular job. Yet any serious symptoms, such as nausea, a panic attack, or any other health-related issues are a problem. That’s not to say I haven’t received last minute calls from clients on the way to an interview who call to notify me of some of these side effects, because I sure have. As always, preparation is key to making it through regardless of how you feel.

Not too many people may know this, but there is a strategy behind the interview process. See, hiring managers get nervous about the event as well. Since the hiring process is one of the biggest expenses a company incurs, it only makes sense that they want to get it right the first time. I mean, what if they hire the wrong person to handle heavy equipment, or manage their financial reporting? Get it?

So back to this strategy. You see, every question asked during an interview has a purpose. For example:

  • Tell me about yourself? Sorry, but no one is interested in your personal affairs here. This is an opportunity to demonstrate why you’re the right candidate for the job.
  • Tell me about a time you ran into a conflict with coworkers. Whatever you do, leave the details out. The recruiters are merely trying to determine what type of problem solver you are.
  • What are your weaknesses?  This is where you get to act like your favorite politician and pivot. Unfortunately, no one cares at this point in the game about challenges you’re facing. This is an opportunity to view your perception, so the best answer to this question is to give it a positive spin.

Another way to best prepare for an interview? Keep your answers short. I mean very short. You’re expected to speak in sentences of course, but once again, keep the details out of the ordeal. Chances are, if you start talking freely, you may give up information you’ll later regret thanks to those jitters. If the recruiters want to know more, they will ask follow-up questions. Again, keep those follow-up answers short as well. It shows that you are deliberate, serious, and self-aware.

Finally, the only way to really get over the nervousness? Practice, practice, practice. And for those of you who think this is a waste of time, it’s not. Best way to rehearse is to write the expected interview questions down, and using a mirror or a forward-facing laptop, answer the questions as you observe your reflection.

These tips will help you get through the worst interview session ever. After you determine what the purpose of the question is, practice keeping your answers short, you will definitely be on automatic when the time comes to pursue that job you want.

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