Preparing For Your Interview
Oct 19, 2014
I recently had a friend ask me to conduct a mock interview with them prior to a real live interview. It was not the first time I’ve done this but it was the first time in a while. I haven’t been in a position to be interviewing people in almost two years, but conducting this interview for my friend reminded me what a fun yet unpredictable experience it can be.
Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect
Someone has probably told you “practice makes perfect” at some point in your life. I hate to burst your bubble, but they lied to you. I prefer the slightly different phrase “practice makes permanent.” Practicing can only reinforce something the way it’s being practiced. Practicing an action incorrectly only serves to reinforce you doing it incorrectly. On the other hand, if you practice something perfectly, then it sure can lead to perfection. But isn’t there another saying out there that “nobody’s perfect”?
I have played music my entire life (at least since the age of four) and used to hate practicing. My parents would nag me to sit down at the piano or drumset and play for even 10 or 15 minutes. I didn’t appreciate the importance of practice. As I grew older and started to have more fun with the music I was playing, it became a joy to practice. I started to see the progress that I made during every session and looked forward to being able to sit down at the instrument and just play.
After high school I was asked to teach a local high school marching band, working with the percussion section. I tried to use that opportunity to teach the kids that it wasn’t about becoming perfect the first time through. The little improvements they made each and every rehearsal made all the difference in putting the final product on the field.
Practicing Your Career
Since practice makes permanent, don’t you want to practice something that will be permanently good in your life? Just like me in front of the piano or the kids in the marching band at their instruments, playing things the wrong way wasn’t the goal. Little course corrections each time we slip off the path can help us achieve more than just plowing full steam ahead with our heads down.
The same goes for interviewing and anything related to your career. Most good interviewers are not just listening to your answers, but also reading how you react to their questions. Do certain topics put you on edge or make you nervous? Is there a key skill they ask about that you don’t have an answer for?
By practicing the interview, you can be better prepared for questions that you might not expect. You may not have a “prepared” answer for every question (and I actually recommend against this) but you will know how to keep yourself under control and handle anything that an interviewer throws your way.
What interviewing tips do you have that you can share? Have you ever done a practice interview and did it make you feel better prepared for the real interview?