Interviews are the type of activity that you get better at with practice. Over time you learn what stories are most effective, which examples fall flat, and how to present yourself most effectively. Unfortunately, most interviewees don’t have much time to perfect the craft. Most interviewees want the job search process to be as short and sweet as possible… for obvious reasons! The more you interview, the longer you’re not doing the job you want.
Most people I know are terrified of interviewing. Outside of the interview, they are able to articulate why they are qualified and why they want the job. They’re practice interview rock stars! But as soon as they get to the real deal, the nerves kick in and it all falls apart. Interviews are high-stress, high-stakes situations, so this is completely normal and happens every day.
… But it doesn’t have to happen to you!
I created this series to help people get over that interview anxiety hump. Through the posts and activities that follow, I hope to empower you – the interviewee – with a level of confidence that will carry you through your interview.
This series is designed to help you prepare for a behavioral interview – one that is used to assess your character traits and personality in relation to a particular job. Most employers, especially when hiring for entry level or early career positions, use this type of interview because they do not expect a large amount of technical skills in a particular area. Obviously you need some, and you will likely be asked specific questions about them, but behavioral interviews are more focused on fit than function.
Interviewers ask scenario-based questions to get a sense of how you would respond if presented with a similar situation at their organization. While it may feel weird for you to spend an interview telling stories, this approach makes sense from an employer’s perspective: They can train you to do the job but they are trying to determine if they want to. As you may have guessed, your job in an interview is to make them want to.
The Interviewing Mindset
As you move through the blog series, keep this in mind:
If a company is taking the time and energy to interview you, chances are really good that they are interested in hiring you. Most businesses don’t reach out to even a quarter of the people who apply to their jobs because of the sheer amount of resources that interviewing requires. If they call you they, at the very least, like your application and are willing to see if you match it.
Pretty dope, huh?
This is great to remember (and to remind yourself of) because it means you shouldn’t spend your prep time worrying about how to sell your qualifications for the job. The company knows them and thinks you have enough of them to do their job. Your interview should be a time where you let them know you. Yes, discuss the specificis of why you should be hired, but that’s not the focus. They already like you, so get them to want to hire you.
About the Series
This content used to be an ebook of the same name. As I was updating it for a resource reboot, I decided to break it up (and break it down) into this format since I’m moving towards a teach-the-middle blog model. I figured this information would provide a great foundation for future posts, so here we are! I could’ve made it Part One of a larger something, but… nah.
There are 8 posts in this series, each touching on a different aspect of interview preparation. Each section is related to activities that are designed for you to practice whatever skill is discussed in the post… Yes, it’s homework. But it’s short and will definitely help you cement the skills you’ll need to interview with confidence. You can download the whole interactive worksheets bundle (appropriately titled Interviewing With Confidence Worksheet Bundle), and use it for the entirety of the series.
- Interviewee, Know Thyself – The importance of self-assessment
- Research? Research. Research! – The why and how of company research
- The Job Description/Resume Connection – How to mine a job description for exactly what the company is looking for and update your resume to match
- Scenario-Based Behavioral Questions (and How to Answer Them) – What they are and a killer strategy for preparing your stories
- 15 Common Open-Ended Questions (and How to Answer Them) – Explanations of the most common questions, and tips on how to craft your response
- Nonverbal Communication + Professional Presentation – Learn the importance of what you don’t say, and practice by assessing yourself
- Interacting With Your Interviewer(s) – The importance of asking questions, thank you notes, and following up
- Wellness Check (& Final Thoughts) – Maintain your interviewing sanity with a solid plan