An interview can be a very intimidating experience if you have never had one or have not been hired after the last one or two you endured. Fear of failure can be overcome, though, with some practical strategies for success.
- Do some research — read up on interviewing skills and make notes on what you learn. Google “interview skills” and see if there is more to add. Write down where you think you missed the mark, or what worries you. Ask the person who interviewed you where you could improve and if you could be considered for future positions. Be honest with yourself; now is the time to look in the mirror and be accurate, not idealistic.
- Get some help — your list is where you start. Do you know anyone who can give you a few practice interviews? Are you acquainted with any managers or employers? Think about parents of friends, family members, etc. Ask them to look at your list and give you an idea about improving things.
- Look for community offerings — libraries, community colleges, government agencies may have opportunities to attend workshops or use their computers to find information.
- Record yourself introducing yourself — and don’t hit delete when you watch it the first time. Is the list you came up with accurate? What should you add? What were you surprised to see you do when you talk? Practice a bit then record yourself again.
- Practice speaking in front of people — and expect to make mistakes. We all do!
- Practice looking at people when you talk to them — if this makes you uncomfortable, start slow and look at their nose or eyebrow. I’m not talking about an unbroken stare, but you should look at the person you are speaking with frequently.
- Practice listening to people — an interview is a conversation to see if you will fit into the workforce already in place. If all you are doing is waiting for the interviewer to stop so you can hit the talk button, you are not paying attention and you probably will not fit in.
Knowing what to expect and preparing for it will give you confidence. Knowing job rejection can be good helps. So does seeing FAIL as an acronym for First Attempt In Learning. Hone your skills and keep at it, because that’s how you get better.