You can learn how to give a good job interview the same way you learned how to get good at playing golf, riding your bicycle, skiing, or shooting hoops. You practice a lot. Similarly, you’ll learn how to answer interview questions by writing them down and rehearsing your answers.
Professional golfer Tiger Woods didn’t learn how to putt by playing in the Master’s tournament. Tiger’s background was filled with practice. He practiced alone and a lot. Woods entered competition only when he mastered the use of his putter.
You haven’t earned the right to compete at interviews until you’ve mastered the use of your interview skills.
Rehearse a couple of questions often asked at interviews
While there are a handful of tricky, tough, and even embarrassing questions you could be asked, let’s focus on just two of them today: Why are you looking for a job? And, “Tell me about yourself?”
“Why are you looking for a job?”
This question might also be asked in another way: “Are you still working at the XYZ Company?” You need to respond with a cover story. You cover the reasons why you’re out looking for work. Here’s an example:
“After fifteen years as an adjuster for Awesome Insurance, my job was eliminated when the company downsized. So I’m out looking to identify companies where I can contribute my skills and abilities.”
“Would you tell me about yourself?”
This is the second question you’re sure to be ask and must therefore rehearse it a lot. To answer this question, present short success stories about how you used certain skills on your last job that benefited your department or company. Your success stories are obtained from the bullet points in your resume that tells what you’ve done and the results. Select those success stories that match what an interviewer is looking for and elaborate on them.
How to rehearse answers to interview questions
A stress-free way to rehearse is by using the nickel and dime technique. This means practicing your responses during that five-minute drive to the store or ten minute walk to the bus.
Preparing is so important that Aesop explained it to children. In Aesop’s story about the Aunt and Grasshopper, the legendary composer of fables had this to say:
“It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.”
Your days of necessity are the days you have an interview. So practice a lot beforehand.