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Improve Your Interviews by 1,000,000%

July 9th, 2010

So I came up with this arbitrary percentage… I don’t know if you’ll improve by 100% or a gazillion percent… but I bet you will improve SIGNIFICANTLY (that’s a term we used in the MBA program that meant “enough to care about”).

How?  Should you:

  • Study common questions and prepare answers ahead of time?
  • Make sure you dress right and floss your teeth?
  • Have a strong first impression (great handshake, flashy smile, etc.)?
  • Tell stories?
  • Relate to the interviewers?

Perhaps all of those, and more, will help you improve your job search interviews.  Here’s my one piece of advice to help you improve your interviews a ton:

Record yourself in a mock interview.

It is wierd.  You might feel silly and uncomfortable.  But when you review the recording, with some peers, you will uncover a lot of things and find yourself saying “wow, I didn’t know I did that with my hands,” or “why do I keep looking around the room, I look too nervous,” or “why can’t I just give my response smoothly,” or “I didn’t realize I said UM 40 times in that one response,” etc.

I don’t care how good you think you are…. record yourself, and have some others record themselves in a mock interview, and then sit down and critique the recordings.

You will find big and small things you can improve on.

I double-dog-dare you to do this.

9 Comments »

9 responses to “Improve Your Interviews by 1,000,000%”

  1. Kate says:

    Let me find myself a camera, and I will. Great advice!

  2. Kathy Engen says:

    I help people in career transition and this is a service we offer our clients and I agree! It’s extremely helpful, but most people do not want to do it. My advice; don’t be scared just do it, it’s a valuable exercise.

  3. Jason Alba says:

    @Kate, I was thinking it would be cool to put this on YouTube… :p

    @Kathy, it is scary, but it is so worth it :)

  4. Shane Smith says:

    Being articulate and telling STAR (situation, tactic, action, results) or PAR (problem, action, results) stories will make a BIG impact.

    Topics you ask?
    1. The same 4-5 requirements that are in listed in the job description. (Hint-these are part of the questions they are going to ask you! Tell me about a time you launched a new product.)
    2. Write them out!
    3. Now build a second story on same topic. No one horse pony here!
    4. Read them out loud before hand to build confidence.
    5. Have a list of questions typed up to ask them. Show them you’re prepared.

  5. Cleo Parker says:

    I agree, the LDS church in my area (greater Detroit) offers workshops once a month which include mock interviews and they were the best part of the program and very informative. It revealed both some things I didn’t realize I was doing (like slouching over on the arm of my chair) and some qualities I have that are very positive (enthusiasm) which I also didn’t realize and gave me a confidence boost. It was helpful watching the other participants as well, to get ideas about what works and does not in interview situations.

  6. I do one on one’s with client’s in preparation for interviews and videotape them all. It’s not only important to see AND HEAR yourself on video but to get feedback on how to improve what it is you may be doing or saying that can distract from you making a great first impression. Most people err on the side of not giving enough specific detail and not selling themselves effectively.
    Also, the intonation of the voice is a really important factor that many people over look. The voice contributes about 38% of your message and the right words spoken in the wrong tone can be the difference between an employer feeling confident choosing you over another applicant.

  7. Tips to use when reviewing your interview videotape:
    1. Turn the sound off to focus on your body language
    2. Turn the picture off to focus on your words and the sound of your voice.

  8. Jason: Spot on! Recording yourself is so much easier than ever. The only excuse is…well, there isn’t one.

    As the saying goes: “Seeing is believing”.

  9. Nick Vita says:

    Jason,

    I found this technique could be useful to many people in the job-seeking stage of their lives. I found that even the most prepared people I’ve interviewed could have been even better prepared. This strategy is one I think many should adopt.

    Thanks for the help! My blog (posted above) also has a couple other pointers for the interview process that you may find intriguing.

    Nick Vita

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