In an interview, your focus or lack of it is picked up very quickly by the interviewer.
Many a career opportunity is lost through lapses of attention, or assuming that the
interviewer understands what you are saying.
This is a problem for people who are unaccustomed to interviews. Without practice and mindfulness, which means a heightened degree of awareness of your surroundings, you may miss a question or misunderstand it, and give a response which isn’t well received.
The best way to avoid this situation is to practice being interviewed with a trusted friend who plays the role of the hiring manager. Ask him/her to interject when they feel you are wandering off topic.
Some questions and topics you can expect will be explored are:
▪ So, tell us about yourself.
▪ Describe what you did in your daily duties.
▪ Give us examples of how you met challenges in your previous jobs.
▪ Why are you looking?
▪ Why do you want to work for us?
▪ Why should we hire you?
▪ How would you handle the challenges of this job?
▪ What strengths do you bring?
▪ What are your weaknesses?
▪ What are your salary expectations?
▪ Where do you see yourself in a few years?
▪ How long do you think it will take to get up to speed?
▪ Why did you leave your last employer?
Each one of these questions is a standard open-ended probe to gather information. You cannot answer them with a ‘yes’ or no’; more details must be provided.
Practice these answers until you are comfortable with them and their variations. You don’t want to sound robotic in your responses, you want your presentation to flow smoothly from one topic to another, and repeatedly answering these questions in a practice session helps you accomplish this.
“Give me six hours to cut down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln