By Dr. Jerusalem Howard
There are very few adult conversations more important than a job interview. One’s career and employee trajectory can be changed based on the interactions during an interview. Being a Human Resources recruiter for over 15 years, I have seen first hand how some candidates come in and impress while others struggle to make their case for employment. I want to share with you the “Three Ps” of successful interviewing – Prepare, Practice and Post Interview Wrap-up. Putting these actions into practice should not only improve your interviewing performance, but also land you the opportunity you worked so hard at obtaining.
Prepare. Preparation for the interview involves researching the company you wish to join. You may want to start with reviewing recent news articles, visiting their website and obtaining as much information as possible about the company. For detailed information about the company read their SEC Form 10.
Having knowledge about the company will give you a better understanding of how they operate and how you can best fit in and add value. Additionally, this information will help you prepare questions that you can ask the interviewer. Having in depth organizational knowledge shows that you have done your homework and are a serious candidate.
Prepare your wardrobe for the interview. You need to know what business attire is most appropriate for your opportunity. Preparation also includes drafting the questions you think the interviewer will ask you.
Practice. Once you have the questions you think the interviewer will ask you must practice the answers so they are fluid and conversational. Your answers should not come across as canned or too scripted. Being familiar with your background and being able to build rapport with the interviewer is critical.
Practicing your responses will greatly improve the quality of your delivery during your interview. To get an idea of what the interviewer will hear, try this: Have a friend walk you through the interview questions and record the session. After the session, play back the audio file. You may be surprised in what you hear. Listen for your tone, inflection, clarity and ease of communication. This may seem daunting, but practicing with a friend has no negative consequences, and it will better prepare you for your live interview with hiring officials.
Post Interview Wrap-up. As soon as possible after the interview is concluded, you may want to jot down your impressions of how you performed. Critique your performance, identify questions that were new to you, and add additional notes that you can use for the next interview. You are building this interview knowledge base to help you prepare for the next interview. As you prepare for the next opportunity, you want to include these notes as you get ready for future interviews.
Hopefully, you find the Three Ps helpful as you get ready for your next interview. If you would like to discuss interview preparation in greater detail or have any other career transition questions, please reach out to me on LinkedIn at Dr. Jerusalem Howard.
About the Author
Dr. Jerusalem Howard has over 25 years of diverse Human Resource experience in corporate, government, higher education, and military contexts. He has expertise in coaching, career development, training, mentoring, diversity and strategic sourcing. Dr. Howard is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and also holds a Masters from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from Syracuse University. He specializes in professional coaching and career development and has a passion for seeing the success of others.