Top 5 Ways to Study for an Interview

A big mistake that job seekers make is thinking that they can’t study for a job interview. This is rooted in the belief that you don’t know what questions the employer is going to ask. While it is true that you may not know the exact questions, you can predict the questions that an employer is likely to ask. If you have ever had to study for a big test these suggestions may sound familiar.

1.  Prepare answers for the questions you don’t want them to ask.  Have you ever written a test and come up against the question that you hoped and prayed wouldn’t be on the test. You took the gamble and it didn’t pay off. The truth is that this strategy never pays off.  Even if you get lucky and they don’t ask you the dreaded question, you will be a million times more nervous throughout the interview than you would have been had you prepped it.  Take a look at these top interview questions for some hints to tackle your fears.

2.  Questions are only tough when you don’t know the material. Come up with a plan to deal with the tough questions.  An employment counselor can help you come up with strategies to deal with the questions you hope they don’t ask you.  Reviewing your tough questions with a trusted friend will make coming up with the answers easier.

3.  Answer every question. Teachers often tell their students to pick any answer in multiple-choice tests. The same is sort of true for job interviews. Leaving any question the interviewer asks you unanswered almost guarantees that you won’t be getting any marks for that question. Usually, job applicants respond “I don’t know” in response to a question because they’re caught off guard. If this happens to you remember that it’s okay to ask for a minute to think about your answer so that you can be sure to say everything you need to say.  You can buy some time to think of a response by asking them to rephrase the question.

4.  Strive for full marks. It’s great to receive partial marks in an exam when you know some but not all of the answer. In an interview partial marks can often easily be avoided. Anytime that you are asked to give examples or talk about your experience you can often end up with partial marks if you only talk about yourself and your experience in a general way. Give details and back up the things that you say with specific examples.  It will help to prepare some examples to common interview topics ahead of time, such as leadership, teamwork, overcoming workplace conflict, etc.

5.  Practice, practice, practice. It’s great to think about the ways that you will answer certain questions but, until you say it out loud you don’t really know exactly what you are going to say or how your going to say it. It’s good to ask a friend or an employment counselor for feedback on your answers before using them for real at the interview.

Visit the My ESC website for more interviewing tips at http://www.myerc.ca/Content/Job%20Seekers/Interviews/Main-Interviews.asp#Prep

What questions or fears are making you feel nervous about interviewing?

This article was written by Mike Bourke, a career/employment counsellor with Pacific Community Resources Society.

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