Interviews Are Important, Be Prepared, Try Role Playing.
Whether you’re interviewing for your first job or looking to make that next move in your career. Role playing is a very important part in your interview preparation.
You may ask, why role play?
Interviewing is very much like acting. The most experienced actors would NEVER go on stage without rehearsing, and neither should you. You’ll be going in front of people that you’ve never met and you’ll be trying to convince them that you’re the right person for the job.
Few people can go into an interview without getting a case of “nerves” or “butterflies”. I can’t begin to tell you how many people I’ve talked to that have told me they blew an interview because they weren’t prepared. They said they were asked a question they weren’t expecting and had a memory lapse. They knew the answer, but, just went blank. After the interview, on the drive home the answer popped into their head. They knew exactly what they should have said, but guess what, IT’S TOO LATE! You can’t call the interviewer and say, “I know what I should have said, I remember the answer”, IT’S TOO LATE.
Sit down with pen and paper and formulate questions that are relevant to your background. Here are a few examples. If you’re a salesperson try questions like these. Did you reach your sales goals for your territory? How did you rank with your peers in meeting your goals? What have you done to expand your territory? If you’re interviewing for an I.T. position your questions could look like these. What databases have you developed? What projects have you managed, and did they come in on time and within budget? If your interview is for a bartending job these questions might work. How do you make a Tom Collins? How would you handle an unruly customer? Go over the job description and put some thought into what you ask yourself. Develop tough questions. Don’t skimp on the number of questions you want your role playing partner to ask. Try to develop at least 10 to 12. This is to prepare you so there are no surprises, or as few as possible.
There are also set questions that you should be prepared to answer. Let’s take them one at a time.
· Tell us about one of your weaknesses?
This question can take your breath away. Don’t let it. Everyone has weaknesses. When talking about a weakness try to turn them into a strength. Say something like “Like everyone, I certainly have weaknesses, I think mine is a dislike for public speaking (or what ever you choose), but I’m constantly working on improving myself”.
· What are your goals?
At this point stay away from talking about long-term goals and focus on your short-term goals. “My current goal is to join a strong company that will allow me to become a valued team member and be able to grow with an organization”.
· Why do you want to work for us?
Try something like this. “I am looking for a company that can offer growth and opportunity. I want to be viewed as a valued member of the team. I want to contribute to the company success. Through the research that I have done I have placed your company very high on my list of companies to work for.”
· Why should we hire you?
Put your experience into a short synopsis. “With over 12 years of experience and the last 5 years in a leadership role, I have a proven track record in completing projects on time and within budget. Believe I would be an asset to your team and look forward to joining your organization.”
· Why are you leaving your current job? / Why did you leave your last job?
If you are employed, talk about your next job (DO NOT run down your current employer), “I am looking for a company that will allow me to grow and look at me as an asset.
If you are unemployed, be as upbeat and positive about why you left your former employer (DO NOT run down your former employer). “I truly enjoyed working for the XYZ Company, but unfortunately our division was sold and moved to another state.
· What positive things would your former boss have to say about you?
This question is not always asked, but if it is, this is the time you can actually brag about yourself using someone else’s words. This is why you saved those old performance reviews. Make sure you brought them with you to back up what you’re saying. Let them do your talking for you.
What Salary are you looking for?
If possible find the salary range for the position you are interviewing for. If that is not possible, learn what salary level your background is being paid in the market you’re interviewing in. Let’s say the salary range is 60 to 75k with a midpoint of 68k, and the manager cannot go past the midpoint without additional approvals. Because of internal equity issues he/she may not be able to get that approval. What you don’t want to do is to over price yourself out of the job or undersell yourself and lose money. If you give them a figure of 60k they’ll probably say great (when they could have offered 68k). If you tell them 70 to 75k they will probably thank you for the answer and move on with the interview (thinking, with all the equity problems this could cause this could really be a waste of time). I think you're better off throwing the ball back into their court. You might say something like the following; I know the salary range for this position. What I’d like to receive from you is a fair offer that would fit my background and experience level. After an offer is made, you can accept or give solid reasons why the offer is unacceptable. You can then talk about what is wrong with the offer, why it’s wrong, and what you need to accept.
After you put your questions together, work with your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend or anyone you feel comfortable with. Ask them to play the role of the Interviewer. Sit at a table across from each other just as you might at an interview. Make sure that they understand how serious this is and ask them to go over the questions one at a time. Remember that a human resource representative might not know the technical side of your skills. Have your role playing partner ask you to explain/elaborate your answers.
Be aware of your posture (sit straight in the chair) have your partner watch your eye contact (don’t start looking around the room when answering questions), ask them to be aware of hand movement, foot shuffling, anything that would make you appear nervous.
Role playing will help increase you confidence level, allowing you to be a better interviewer, and this will increase your chances to get an offer. Take it seriously
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