Rehearsed job interviews result in better actual interviews. Practice cannot make perfect, but it is guaranteed to make better. The more interviews you do, the more adept you are at doing them. Go to your first interview with the poise that comes with having done five or six interviews by engaging a friend to becoming an interviewer to your applicant and stage a rehearsal.
This rehearsal is designed to simulate the process of an interview, from time you get off the elevator until you get back in the elevator to leave the interview. You should practice answering anticipated questions before you do this full-scale dress-rehearsal.
A dining room or home office can be an office. The interviewer can be a trusted friend, a former co-worker, or an acquaintance who has conducted job interviews. You and your “interviewer” need to decide together what the script of the interview “play” is going to be and what your lines are. Arrange for housemates, children, and others not involved in the rehearsal to be out of the house, or find another location where there will be no interruptions.
The day of the dress-rehearsal, do everything you will do the day you head for your first real interview. Dress in your interview costume and do a complete pre-interview grooming for the rehearsal. Yes, put on the suit! Ask your “interviewer” to do the same. Put your papers in your briefcase or portfolio. Walk out your front door and stand on the stoop until your cue to knock and enter the “office.”
To make your rehearsal as realistic as possible, have your interviewer ask you the kinds of questions you anticipate you will be asked in a real interview. These ought to be questions you have already researched and prepared answers for. During the first rehearsal, it is fine to use index cards to help jog your memory about your answer; by the third or fourth rehearsal, you ought to give the answers without help.
Ask your “interviewer” to surprise you with some unexpected events, like incoming phone calls or staff bursting into the room. These are real world events and you can prepare a graceful response if you have practiced.
Stage the rehearsal so that you have time at the end to ask questions of your own. Again, prepare these in advance.
Some possible questions to ask are:
- “What characteristics does a successful person have at your company?”
- “Describe the typical first year assignment.”
- “What have been some of the major contributions made by individuals who have held this job previously?”
- “What are the problems I will be expected to solve?”
- “What is the career path for this position?”
- “Could you tell me about the people with whom I will be working directly?”
- “How is an employee evaluated?”
- “When may I expect to hear from you regarding my candidacy?”
When you end the staged interview, do everything you will do at an actual interview. Shake hands, give the interviewer another copy of your calling card, and thank them for their time.
Such elaborate preparations may seem excessive, but believe me, they make all the difference in how well you carry off the real thing.
Traditional Style Job Interview Questions
What the recruiter will ask you:
- Educational background
- Past work experience
- Extra-curricular activities
- Outside interests and activities
The employer or recruiter is trying to determine:
- Can you do the job?
- Will you do the job?
- Will you fit in my organization?
Traditional Questions Asked
- What qualifications do you have that will make you successful in the job?
- How has your education prepared you for a career?
- Why should I hire you?
- Describe your most rewarding educational experience.
- What are your long-range plans?
- What motivates you to put out effort?
- What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why?
- What do you expect to be earning in 5 years?
- Which is more important to you: money or the type of job?
- If you were hiring someone for this position, what qualities would you be looking for?
- How would you describe yourself?
- How would a friend or a teacher describe you?
- Why did you decide to seek a position with us?
- What do you know about our company?
- Are you willing to travel?
- Are you willing to relocate?
- What rewards do you expect in your career?
- How do you determine success?
Handling a Job Interview over the Telephone
Many companies now screen potential candidates by conducting telephone interviews and reducing any face-to-face interviews to the top six or three candidates.
Telephone interviews are also used if you and the employer live in different cities. Few employers want to incur expenses to fly a candidate in for an interview unless they have a very strong opinion of the candidate.
A screening telephone interview may be a series of questions asked of every candidate. These questions may focus on some of the unstated requirements for the position and the answers allow the employer to eliminate candidates who do not “fit.”
Long-distance telephone interviews more closely resemble the first face-to-face interview with a company. Be prepared to have the call last for 30 minutes or more. You will be asked the same kinds of questions you would be asked if you were meeting in the company’s office.
Although most companies schedule telephone interviews, there is always chance someone calls and wants to do it “right now.” If this happens to you, ask if you can call them back in five minutes.
Use this time to gather your materials and mentally prepare yourself. You might also want to make a note of this in your folder on this company. Expecting an instant interview does indicate a lack of courtesy on their part.
At least 30-minutes before a scheduled telephone interview get your game face on.
- Turn off the radio, stereo and television.
- Disable call waiting or any phone feature that produces sound.
- Put the dog outside or whatever else it takes to keep down barking.
- Dress in business clothes. Do not take the call in your bathrobe.
- Comb your hair and does other grooming that helps you project a more business-like attitude.
- Go into a quiet room and close the door to take the call. Make sure you have a writing surface for taking notes.
- Assemble your company folder, your resume, the cover letter , and any application you filled out for this company.
- Put your cheat sheet of answers to anticipated questions on the desk beside you.