How to Prepare for Your Next Interview
December 9, 2015
You: I need a new job. I need help updating my resume, writing cover letters, searching for jobs, and preparing for the interview.
Me: It’s your lucky day. Here you go. Use these resources for help with all that good stuff.
When I stumble upon good resources for professionals, it’s my obligation to share the good stuff. Students come to me with their resumes and cover letters here asking for advice, but we rarely encounter questions regarding the interview process.
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Coding Interview Tips (from Interviewcake) Apply to all Jobs
You can have your cake and eat it too with this Inteviewcake article. Excuse this deplorable cliche. I couldn’t resist. This article “Coding Interview Tips“, elucidates how to prep for an interview for a coding position. Look beyond the specifics, if you can, and see how this applies to all job interviews.
Parker Phinney’s focus on awareness of your role as an owner/leader, communication, metacognition of performing well (or better), and checklist with examples you should have ready, provides an excellent guideline for interview preparation. Bookmark this article when the time arrives for interviews. Switch out the coding stuff for your field of study.
How do you prepare for an interview?
We all conduct our own processes for interviews. To prepare for and learn from an interview, follow this outline:
- Research the organization, including:
- The Point-of-Contact
- Interviewers (if known)
- Department managers, potential colleagues
- Organization’s About Us, Core Values, and Mission
- Organization’s product line/services
- Create a list of potential questions and conduct a mock interview with a friend
- Answer the interview mock questions out loud (interviews are a performance. Treat the preparation process as if you’re readying for a role in a play)
- Keep a journal detailing:
- Your preparation efforts before
- Questions asked and your answers
- Feelings, concerns about answers, and actions during the experience
- Reflections upon the interview experiences
- Feedback given from the interviewers (if accessible)
Journals are essential for success in every aspect of life. They force us to examine our tiny interactions, actions, thoughts, everything in life. Without this attention we move on, forgot, and don’t learn a thing about what happened or where we went wrong.
This reflection called “What I Learned from Blowing An Interview” reiterates the importance of reflecting upon your interview experiences. Even a solid connection and internal recommendation combined with above average work experience doesn’t guarantee you the job.
Take your time answering questions during an interview. Formulate sentences inside your head first before speaking. We move so fast these days that we often blurt out our first thoughts, opinions, declarations of love and hate; we forget to slow down and think about what to say before speaking. The above example stresses the importance about listening fully to the questions before answering with utmost confidence. You should exude confidence, but answer questions correctly as well.
Practice pushes you past the awkwardness and anxiety experienced in these stressful situations. Mock interviews, research about the organization, and other methods of preparation, instill and add to confidence you already possess.