As unemployment numbers continue to rise in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people have suddenly found themselves needing to update their resumes and CVs and polish their job interviewing skills.
Toastmasters International, the global organization devoted to communication and leadership skills development, has been offering its members a safe place to practice speaking off the cuff and building confidence for the past 95 years. Longtime Toastmasters member and career coach Jennifer L. Blanck offers these 10 preparation tips for acing the interview and increasing your chances of getting hired:
- Know yourself. It sounds simple, but the first step involves critical reflection and self-awareness. Understand your values and priorities so you can recognize what type of jobs and organizations are the best fit for you.
- Do your due diligence. Research the position, organization, industry, and interviewers. This will help you answer questions, highlight your knowledge of the organization, and show you’re interested in the job.
- Prepare concrete examples. Be ready with anecdotes that demonstrate your relevant strengths, skills, and experience. This is especially helpful for behavioral-based interviews, where the interviewer looks at past performance in similar situations as the most accurate predictor of future performance.
- Develop questions. Asking pertinent questions shows serious interest and initiative. You also gain critical information about the job, organization, supervisor, and colleagues that will help you evaluate if the position is the right one for you.
- Provide relevant responses. Practice answering typical interview questions and anticipate questions related to the job description. Only mention experiences, skills, and other qualifications that apply to the job or organization.
- Rehearse out loud. Focus on questions that challenge you and say your answers out loud to hear how they sound. Try the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) or CCAR (Challenge, Context, Action, Result) approaches to add more clarity and depth to your responses.
- Practice with technology. Test popular video and online-based interviewing platforms before an online interview to ensure you’re comfortable with them. Establish an intentional interview environment so you give the most professional presentation not only by what you say but also by what is visible to the camera.
- Make the right impression. You want to be your most professional self at all times. Arrive at the interview location early, dress appropriately, turn off your cell phone, stay focused on the interview, and actively listen to the interviewer. Greet everyone you encounter with a smile.
- Show emotional intelligence. Employers worldwide are increasingly looking for people with emotional intelligence. Demonstrate those competencies throughout the interview process to signal you can navigate global and complex work environments.
- Be yourself. If you’re not being authentic, you won’t know if you’re the right fit. It’s just as important for you to decide whether you fit in as it is for your potential employer to decide. If the interviewer is uncomfortable with the real (professional) you, it’s a good indication you should keep looking.
For more job interview advice and tips, read Jennifer L. Blanck’s “Master the Art of Interviewing” in the Toastmaster magazine.
Blanck will be part of an upcoming Toastmasters webinar series: Interview Success. The webinars will cover interview topics including self-awareness, networking, confidence skills, and practice and will take place on May 28, 29, and 30. Click here to register for one or all of the free webinars.
To find a local Toastmasters club where you can practice and develop your job interview skills, go to www.toastmasters.org/findaclub.
About Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International is a worldwide nonprofit educational organization that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. Headquartered in Englewood, Colo., the organization’s membership exceeds 358,000 in more than 16,800 clubs in 143 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators and leaders. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit www.toastmasters.org. Follow @Toastmasters on Twitter.
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1800 episodes and “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was named a Top 10 podcast for job search. JobSearchTV.com is also a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.
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