Your CV has done its job. Now only the interview lies between you and the role you’re after. Because of Covid 19 online Interviews is now becoming the norm. So in addition to the usual interview nerves, there is now the added complication of having to navigate unfamiliar technology.
The path to doing a great interview starts well before you log on to Zoom. In my years of experience as an interview skills coach, the danger for most candidates is not under-preparation, but over-preparation. Tell-tale signs of over-prep are trying to predict all possible questions and writing out lengthy answers.
This scriptwriting approach puts you under enormous and self-imposed pressure. It also negatively impacts your adaptability during the interview. The hidden downside of over-prep is that it diminishes your self-confidence because you simply don’t trust yourself to listen and respond to the questions you are asked. That doesn’t mean you don’t do your homework. With your interview pending, a useful question to contemplate is – how will I know when I’ve done optimum preparation?
Quality preparation means;
If you have not been advised as to the format of the interview, seek clarity. Will there be a set duration? How many interviewers? What online platform will be used? When you know the platform and if you are not familiar with it, sign up, log in and test it with a friend in advance if possible. Check out YouTube tutorials on how to use the platform.
A laptop or PC is preferable to your phone or mobile device. You won’t look as professional if you are holding a phone in a shaky hand. You obviously want to make sure your internet connection is stable. By getting familiar with the technology and the meeting platform, you can then focus on the interview itself.
These are small points, but together they make a big impact.
Unlike a regular in-person interview, you can have some post-it notes positioned around your PC or laptop. This is not about writing out pre-scripted answers that you intend to read, but rather prompts or reminders for you.
It might be ‘remember to smile,’ ‘the 5 strengths you want them to know,’ ‘a question or two to ask at the close of the interview.’
A great question to ask yourself as part of your interview preparation is what question would I hate to be asked, or what issue would I hate the interviewers to bring up?
This sheds a light on an area where you may not be as comfortable. The issue may not be raised at the interview, but if you ponder how you would respond in advance, you will feel more in control.
Today, interviews are competency-based. The competencies the interviewers want to assess will usually be listed in the job description. The most common way competencies are assessed is by asking for an example.
The thinking being that the best indicator of future performance is past performance. For example, if competencies include ‘communication skills,’ ‘self-motivation, or ‘team player’ have your relevant examples for each one lined up.
It’s easy to forget that interviewers are not trying to catch you out. The purpose of an interview from the company’s perspective is to gather information about you, so they can make an informed decision as to whether or not you are the right candidate for the role. Your job is to give them that information in a genuine, pleasant and engaging way. Every interview candidate will do their best, but the above tips will help you widen your definition of best.
If you are preparing for an interview then do check out my Interview Skills Coaching page to see how I can help you prepare and to stay up to date with all my latest news and new podcast episodes do join the community below to receive my monthly newsletter.