Interviewing can be a scary process - while you don't want your responses to sound canned, you also don't want to fumble over your questions, either. So how should you prepare?
Mock interviews are a great way to raise your confidence level, familiarize yourself with the interview process, and to develop an ease that will enable you really shine at the table. Family and friends can be a great resource, but ideally, try to find someone in your professional network who has knowledge about the type of position you are interviewing for. Make sure your "interviewer" will give you unbiased, constructive criticism.
If you can’t find someone to practice with, record yourself on your computer, tablet or smartphone. This can be a great way to practice for digital interviews too! Use the recordings to identify any aspects of your behavior, verbal skills and body language that need improvement. When you practice, you should dress as if you were going on the interview and act as if the person interviewing you is the real deal. And even if it's hard at first, keep practicing until you feel comfortable!
It's important to have your “interviewer” provide feedback on everything from whether or not you appeared nervous to whether or not you dressed appropriately However, make sure you don't overdo it on the practicing-- in an interview you don't want to come off too polished. If you're still nervous after running through a few mock interviews, try to network with people that are doing the type of job you want. Taking someone out for a quick lunch or cup of coffee and picking their brain can be a great way for you to glean information about the skills, experience and training you'll need to succeed.
A great rule of thumb for preparing for interviews is to think of three to five stories from each of your past jobs about challenges you’ve faced, actions you took to overcome those challenges and the result of those actions. Having these stories fresh in your mind will help you answer tough questions about challenges and unflattering moments. And, for more interview tips and tricks, check out some of our other articles on how to answer interview questions with the STAR method and more.