Want To Succeed in Interviews? Start Keeping A Journal

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pic by curtfleenor
pic by curtfleenor

Gone are the days when you would not sit for more than 2 or 3 interviews in your life. Now you are probably going to do this once in every 2-3 years. (on a side note, if you are doing it a little more frequently you really should stop and think about your career and what frequent job-hobs will do to it)

So what am I suggesting? Start an Interview Journal.

Write everything down.

What Should Your Write in the Journal?

  • What were the questions
  • what were your answers. 
  • What was the reaction of the interviewer
  • Who did you meet?  
  • Where? 
  • What time? 
  • How many were there for the interview? (both applicants & interviewers)
  • Did you eat anything before the interview?
  • Did you take the bus/car/train?
  • What did you wear?
  • When did you hear about the interview?
  • How did you hear?
  • How did you prepare for the interview?
  • Did you know someone in the company?  
  • Did you feel positive when you walked out?
  • Did you get the job?

Why? Why do you suggest a Journal?

Our memory does not store everything the way it happened. The memories tend to distort time elapses and hence, what you remember today of your first or third or tenth interview maybe far from the truth.

Keeping a journal, helps you record exactly what happened and then when a new interview opportunity presents itself, you can see what could you change and more importantly what should you keep doing.

You can always refer to your journal before going for an interview and eliminate any activity that you think did not add value and do what you think did.

A journal helps you take charge!

For e.g. lets say you took the bus and were late.  Maybe next time leave earlier or plan your route better.  

or, maybe you realize you had a friend who told you that you were perfect for the job and hence you did not research or practice as much as you normally do.  Then when the interview did not go well, you realized who should have.  Write this down.  Note it, so the next time, you do not make the same mistake.

We have to learn from our mistakes and if we do not record them, how will we?

There is also a positive side to it.  I have noticed that some people perform better in the morning and some later morning etc.  everyone has a particular time of the day they seem sharpest and in control. If you can find that out about yourself, you can then schedule your interview accordingly and make the most of it!

Is there a particular format you suggest?

I dont want to prescribe something, but I would like you to create a simple format. A format makes sure you do not miss out on anything that similar information is in the same place on each page. This helps when you want to find information quickly. You can have some free form space where you can write your feelings or explanations, but the main information can be a format.

Here is a link to a template I have created.

https://docs.google.com/previewtemplate?id=0AlM0lS5EjmNWdGw3MnVMbWVFaWZoLVhLemdaN2FnOFE&mode=public

Should I let others see my journal?

That is a personal decision, but you may want to show it to a close friend or a career coach. A trained coach, might be able to help you realize where you may want to put in some work and what you should develop further.

I do not understand why I should record....

  1. Names of interviewers - This is a small world.  I can assure you, if you are looking to work in a vertical or restricted geographical area you will land up meeting someone again.  It helps to know.  If you have been interviewed by someone earlier, they will remember your face and may spend the interview trying to place you.  It is best that you mention that you remember them.  You can also be sure they are sure to repeat themselves in mannerism and questions.
  2. What I ate - What you eat may make a big difference in how you feel.  I have found what I like and what I dont and stick with that on important dates.

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