by Charles Vincent, President, DPPD.

The regret over a missed job opportunity stays like a bad taste in the mouth.  Even worse when you leave the interview knowing that you missed your mark, that you really could have done better.

Mistakes can be made during the actual interview.  However, most mistakes are often the result of what you did not do prior to the interview. 

 When I am working one-to-one with a client on preparing for an interview, I focus on this top 5 list.

Mistake no. 1: Not Preparing

Interviews come in different forms: competency based interviews, behavioural interviews, case interviews. Currently, international organizations often use competency based interviews, where interviewees have to give specific examples demonstrating particular skills/ attitudes/ competences (describe a problem or situation, actions taken to handle the problem, and the results of the situation).

Lesson no. 1:  Getting prepared

I partner with my clients so that they are prepared.  How do we do this?  We really dive in...getting into the details. Going over the ToR and over job requirements/ essential duties AND your skills/past experiences in fine detail line by line.  Yes, it is tedious but this is what it takes to be prepared - a lot of delving into detail and a lot of conversation. 

So many people just skim over their CV and the TOR, never go in depth into the ToR and CV, and never have a conversation outside their head about it, and this is a mistake.

Mistake no. 2: Not Practicing

An interview is a like a public speaking event.  To perform well, you must speak well and for most of us, this involves practice speaking out loud and responding to questions.

Lesson no. 2: Practice out loud

After clients have prepared – we practice.  That means one of two mock interviews with oral and written feedback.  We focus on delivery mode, potential areas of inquiries, time of response, alternative responses.  “Heuh…”, “Like…” , “Well….” simply will not work!

Mistake no. 3: Not being truly motivated

One of the key components in the interview is expressing your true motivation for the position.  So many times, I see clients applying for jobs that they actually are not excited about.  This lack of real excitement and motivation colors the whole interview experience.  Whether body language or simply language, if the interviewer “feels” that you are desperate for any job, or really don’t connect with the job to which you are applying, then the odds are against you getting it.

Lesson no. 3: Exude and communicate motivation and interest

If you are actually motivated for this job - you have know hoe to communicate this motivation.

We spend one session on this topic – focusing on how this job is linked to your overall professional fulfillment and professional goals.  If the job is not your sweet spot, this becomes very, very clear.  If the job is your sweet spot, they you have got to be able to clearly communicate that with body language and words.

Mistake no. 4: Not being yourself

Don’t try to be someone you are not.  Remember, think long term.  If the job you are applying for is a desk job and you are a “field – action” person, and you KNOW you will not be happy at a desk but… “it is a job”, you are jeopardizing your future progression.

Lesson no. 4: BE YOURSELF

Go for those jobs that you know you will contribute to in an exciting way.  Your organization will be satisfied, and you will be fulfilled.

Mistake no. 5:  Not knowing about the organization

You would be surprised how many interviewees have not researched or sufficiently researched the company, division, unit that they are applying for.  Put yourself in the shoes of the potential employer. Would you rather hire someone who already knows facts about the company or someone who does not, all other things being equal?

Lesson no. 5: RESEARCH

During the prep phase, you do  “due diligence” about the organization that you are interested in to be fully conversant about it during the mock and then real interview. 

Want to get out of your head and start working on the job that you really want?