At our school, we have been having mock interviews for our CTAE (Career, Technical and Agricultural Education) students. Over 400 students have been run through the gamut. Some were nervous. Some were confident. Some seemed as though this was second nature to them. Some looked as though they were being led to the principal’s office.
Their teachers had prepared them well. The business men and women who interviewed them were overall very impressed.
But all of those students sitting there waiting their turns made me think about all the people out there who don’t have teachers to prepare them for an interview. So I thought I’d address the issue with a few pointers.
I am not professing to be an expert, but I have been through a few successful interviews in my time and I have also conducted a few. So here are the tips I have:
Before you get to the day of your interview, practice. Either with someone else, or in the mirror. Practice what you will say and how you will say it. Look up possible interview questions relating to the topic and practice the answers.
Need help with practice questions? Here is a page of 100 Potential Interview Questions. Here is another with 50 questions. What? Need more? OK. After all, practice is great for you! Here are a few more common questions. Notice that many of them overlap! Keep practicing!
Dress appropriately. No kidding, you say? But what exactly is appropriately? This is determined by the purpose of the interview. You wouldn’t wear a formal suit to an interview for a job as a bartender, but then ripped jeans and a t-shirt are not appropriate for that either.
A really quick tip: Dress as though you don’t need the job; act as though you do.
Basically, for business casual, which would be a non-corporate job, for men a nice pair of khaki or dark pants, a button shirt and perhaps a tie. Although the tie may be optional. For women, a nice pair of dress pants and dress shirt or perhaps a skirt and top. Dress to impress.
Never, ever wear flip-flops or tennis shoes/sneakers. Dress shoes for men and flats/small heels for women.
For a corporate type position, a suit is your only real option. You can play around with the shirt for both, but there is no other option than a suit. Guys, wrap up that tie! Ladies, break out those closed-toed shoes. Dress to impress.
Are you nervous? Probably so. Interviews generally are for an important cause. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. And think to yourself “This is just a conversation.” Just like any other conversation you may have. This can help, hopefully, take away some of the pressure. You are just talking to someone.
About that deep breath: Social psychologist Amy Cuddy through TED talks presents evidence on how our body language not only affects how others might see us, but it also can change the way we see ourselves. This video takes just a few minutes to watch, but what she presents could change you for a lifetime.
You have prepared yourself for this. You are ready. Keep telling yourself that you can do this. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, how in the world can you expect anyone else to believe in you?
Stay tuned for part 2…during the interview!