In our last blog, we talked about the importance of a strong resume for getting the best job possible. But a great resume only gets your foot in the door—being an equally great interviewer is essential to actually getting that job. The first step to becoming a very strong interviewee is to practice your answers to the questions most commonly asked. These links will give you a nice range of questions that you might be asked:
Each of these sites offer something a little bit different, so looking at all of them would serve you well in preparing well for a job interview. As good as all this advice is, in our experience the what makes you go from a good to a great interviewee is simple but profound: role playing. Impressing the interviewer certainly requires strong answers, but the truth is that what you say ends up less memorable than how you say it. As a clinical psychologist, I am certain that these factors will end up at least as important as your answers:
- Personal appearance – Looking your best tells the interviewer that you respect the institution and the job and you also respect yourself. Is your outfit professionally appropriate but still has some style? Getting an interviewer to feel good about you starts with you feeling that you look like a million bucks!
- Body language – If your body language conveys honesty, self-confidence and conviction, then even answers where you are not sure what you want to say can still be impressive. The most important things to concentrate on are your posture, making eye contact, and smiling at appropriate times. If the interviewer smiles back, it’s working. If he or she never smiles and appears cold, shift to a more serious but equally confident approach.
- Listen as well as you talk – In your role playing, practice answers that are clear and concise and make sure to pause enough to give the interviewer comfortable ways to break in. Even if you are saying interesting things, if the interviewer feels like they could not get a word in edgewise, they will recall that frustration more clearly.
- Tone – Making a strong impression involves coming across as serious, articulate, and relaxed. Even great responses without this quietly confident tone can fall flat.
The best way to get this just right for an interview is to role play with friends, family, or professional recruiters who know how to be both supportive and honest. One last words to the wise—practice to the point where you feel natural, but not to the point where you might come across as too scripted.
Robert Hoyt, Ph. D
Allied Health Professionals LLC