You may be eloquent, professional, experienced and educated, but even the best can forget their lines. Many people dread doing interviews because they have difficulty thinking on the spot, and freeze, forgetting how to answer the simplest of questions. That’s why it’s imperative that you rehearse your interview prior to the main event. Though you may not know the exact questions you will be asked word for word, you know that there are certain questions/topics at the essence of all job interviews. The employer wants to know: 1. Who you are as a person 2. Who you are as an employee 3. What your previous experience is 4. How your previous experience qualifies you for the job, and most importantly, 5. Why they should hire you when they could hire the next applicant.
Begin rehearsing your interview by writing out a few bullet points about each topic. Ask yourself a set of questions surrounding the topic and write down the answers accompanied by some brief examples. Take number 1 for example, “Who you are as a person”. The employer may not want to know what you do on the weekends; rather, she may want to know what type of person you are, how you react to certain things, what your morals are. Are you a leader or a follower? Can you admit a mistake? Are you slow to anger? Answer each of the questions and think of some examples of when you had to take the lead, admit a mistake, or deal with a stressful situation.
Read your examples aloud several times. Then, time the reading of each example. If your example is longer than two minutes, it’s too long. The employer is looking for the Cliff’s Notes version of you, not the entire story. Five sample questions (such as the ones listed above) and two examples per question should suffice. After you have practiced reading your examples aloud and timed them, you should be able to comfortably speak about yourself and your experience without using your answer sheet.
Practicing in front of the mirror will help you get the full picture. You can see what your gestures look like as you speak; see what your interviewer will see. Be conscious of your body language as well as your tone of voice. Remember that the questions you have prepared may not be the exact ones you will be asked at your interview; however, you will be comfortable about speaking on different topics and not feel ill-prepared or at a loss for words.