Have you ever had a really terrible interview? Afterwards, you may end up asking yourself, “what went wrong?” It can be especially disheartening when you feel like you knew the answers but were unable to get them out. The problem for many candidates is that they get lost while giving a good answer. The way to avoid this is to use a roadmap.
Have a Starting Point
Before any interview it is important to create a list of major themes that will likely be touched upon. By having a clear idea of what will be asked the Interviewee provides themselves with a starting point. In interviews there are a few questions that are highly likely to be asked. In some shape or form the interviewer will ask why the interviewee wants to work for them, and how they think they can bring value to their organization.
Know the End Point
When answering an interview question it’s important to have a clear destination in mind. In the beginning of the interview the Interviewee states their thesis (i.e., “I am able to provide value to your organization.”) The remainder of the interviewee’s answers consists of evidence to support this claim. Where a lot of interviews go wrong is the end point is forgotten. The evidence suddenly becomes the main focus. The problem with forgetting the end point is that the answer loses its focus a lot of great ideas can be expressed but if these ideas are not supporting the interviewee’s main argument then it’s not a successful answer. A useful strategy is to conclude each answer with a summary of how the evidence presented proves the point the interviewee was trying to make (i.e., “It is for these reasons that I feel I will be able to bring value to the organization.”)
When giving someone directions, familiar landmarks are often helpful. The same is true of interviews. When answering a question, it is helpful to have phrases or words that serve to provide focus. These words and phrases also serve to help ensure that what the interviewee wants to present is understood (i.e., “My work experience and my education combined ensure that I will be able to provide value to this organization.”) This statement makes it more likely that the interviewee will remember the concepts that they wanted to get across about the values that their education and work experiences allow them to bring to the organization.
A roadmap is essential for interview success. However, in order for the interview road map to work an idea of the terrain in needed. A job search counselor can be useful in brainstorming likely potential interview questions.
Visit the My ESC website for more tips on interviewing.
This article was written by career development practitioner Mike Bourke.