Career Coaches Offer Tips to Prep for an Interview

John Krautzel
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One way to prepare for an interview is to rehearse going through a practice job interview with a trusted friend. Think of this as a role-playing game or rehearsing a school play before the first performance. Forbes' Coaches Council weighs in with 12 tips to use while undergoing a mock interview.

1. Find Similar People suggests you conduct a practice job interview with a friend or someone you know to reduce the pressure and nervousness. Take this one step further and find someone who has a similar role in your chosen industry. For example, if your interview is for a PR firm, find a networking contact you trust who works in PR to help you rehearse.

2. Record Yourself

Record your rehearsals on video so you know what to improve. Consider showing your recordings to an interviewing expert so he can suggest improvements.

3. Listen Well

Learn how to listen well and focus on the interviewer. This technique improves your responses and dampens nervousness by giving you something to focus on while in the interview.

4. Get to the Heart of Your Skills

Your practice job interview should get to the heart of why your skills are a perfect fit for the company. Have your interviewing buddy offer a relentless string of questions that makes you truly think about what you bring to the position.

5. Become a STAR

Use the STAR (which stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result) method to answer common interview questions. This is where you share a story about a past situation and relate what action you took to solve a problem.

6. Tell Stories

Pick five job-related stories that showcase your top-level skills to an employer. Memorize and rehearse them until it feels natural.

7. Learn Confidence

Confidence is a fine balance between bragging a little and understanding you have the panache to take the position to the next level. Learning how to exude confidence comes from rehearsing and recording yourself in your practice job interview to see how you act.

8. Prepare for Tricky Questions

Don't trip up on tricky questions. Go over the ones about your greatest weaknesses and the times you failed by explaining to your partner how you overcome your foibles and what you do to apply those lessons to your current position.

9. Reduce Fears and Anxiety

Review the part of the practice job interview you dread the most until it becomes second nature. This way, your fear doesn't snowball into a larger issue during the rest of your real interview.

10. Stay Positive

If you do trip up, one great way to prepare is to turn a negative into a positive. This includes your greatest weakness, a failure or a mistake you make during the interview. Always answer each question in a positive light.

11. Ask Spontaneous Questions

Have your interview partner throw out the script and ask spontaneous questions. This teaches you to expect the unexpected.

12. Know the Job Listing

Read the job description thoroughly and research the company. All of your answers should relate back to the position as described by your employer.

Practice makes permanent, which is why rehearsing a practice job interview over and over again helps you to focus. Most importantly, rehearsing helps you relax for your big moment.

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