Ever play charades, taboo, or sorry? They are all the mind games we play while interviewing. Combat the silly games your mind can play by being fully prepared for an interview. Getting ready for an interview is a chain reaction of Knowledge, Clarity, Confidence. As you gain understanding about a job, you become clearer about the professional opportunity it presents and your possible role in it, and your strengths naturally come to the fore.
Knowledge is power. Know yourself, your target company, and your industry. Gather the most useful information, engage your curiosity, go deep. Use your network to find friends and contacts who may be familiar with the industry or company you are pursuing. Tap into programs in your community and place of worship, or chambers of commerce that provide networking opportunities, talks, and other events related to your field. Consider joining or attending sessions organized by professional or industry groups that may be relevant to you and your targeted employer.
As you prepare for an interview, you need to focus on figuring out if the job you’re applying for is a good fit for you, and if the company you’re interviewing with is a desirable employer. You also must get clear about what you can bring to the job, and the image you want to project during the interview.
All the knowledge and clarity you’ve been building will help you establish a more complete picture of what the job you’re after demands and— most importantly—how your skills match the open position. In order to enter an interview with confidence, you must believe that you possess the necessary skills and have the ability to be successful in the position. It is rare that prior skill sets will be an exact match when the position in question is a brand-new endeavor, but it is entirely possible—and in fact crucial—to figure out how your skill sets apply to the new situation.
The process of translating your skills is a matter of recognizing the extraordinary experience you’ve acquired, even if that experience is raising kids, succeeding in college, or your tenure at a previous job. Discipline, loyalty, critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, adaptability, the ability to perform under pressure, managing time and stress, relationship building, and communication skills are just a few of the assets that have immediate, ready value. If the person interviewing you doesn’t immediately see how your experiences, passion, and personality are a fit for the position, it is your responsibility to make sure they know it by the end of the interview. The main challenge will be perception— yours and theirs. Believe in your capabilities and qualifications, and you will communicate this to others.
It’s entirely possible to nail the interview, it just takes knowing how and putting in the effort to make it happen. When you exhibit confidence and prepare for the interview in the right way, you’re on the right track to snagging that job you want so badly.