If attending and acing interviews is a skill, I'm out of practice.  And I just went through one. Gyaaaa~

It's been years since my last interview.  I have been fortunate to not have gone through many interviews  jobs I enjoy doing.  After graduation, I have only gone through 2 interviews for 2 positions I've been in so far. This means I managed to ace every interview, to be offered the position I wanted.  Not sure whether it is happy-go-lucky, or I'm just really good at it, or somehow timing and opportunities just aligned well for me, I have never applied for more than one job at a time.  Fortunately, I have yet to be rejected after my interviews. (This actually includes a university application too).

Here, I'm sharing some preps and mindsets I have before, during, and after interviews.

Before

Preparation is key before attending interviews. For me, that means:

1) Understanding the role I'm applying for. Having an expectation of the position I want to be in, so that I will be able to question the interviewer in hope that they are a match for me too.  This also includes knowing the organisation I will be in (as much as I can).  

2) Practising potential interview questions.  This helps frame my mind in being an interviewee. Also for me to form and practise the sentences I will be saying out loud.  There may be points I miss out on sharing if everything was thought of on the spot #truestory.  Being able to write out answers to some cliché questions may come in handy during the interview, as many interviewers do just want to get to know your experiences and background.  It'll be better if you have someone whom you can practise with, someone who can provide you feedback and perhaps even best practices (e.g. jargons and phrases to use).  If not, there's always articles, podcasts, videos you can refer to.

And on d-day before your interview:

3) Be in something comfortable and confidence boosting. Dress approriately.  Wear your lucky shirt, ring, socks, hold your celebrity-signed pen, put on your fortune boosting perfume/cologne, stick on a fake unicorn tattoo somewhere obscure if you need it. All these are just ways to psych yourself up and lift your mood up during the interview.  First impressions are made through your visuals, truthfully, but you do have the rest of the interview to add more points to your game.

Outfit
Photo by Toa Heftiba / Unsplash

During

It is of course very normal to be nervous, but if you psyched yourself that your interviewers are just fascinated about you, and you intend to befriend someone new, it is basically like a longer ice-breaker session with perhaps debates and ideas sharing in between. That's how I thought about it.

But here are also a few more points I used to help me through the conversations.

1) Be sincere.  It takes a lot of control and practice to "fake it". You may not realise the little hints you are giving away with a little twitch in your face or you looking away when you are lying, but the interviewers may.  Hence it is easier to be genuine and allow your emotions and subtle body language to do the talking with you.  

2) Be vulnerable (just enough).  Honesty may not always be the best policy, but letting interviewers know what you lack or may not have experienced shows your self-awareness, and may help them understand what support you may need when you are hired into the role. Although it is wise to apply for a role you want to grow into, you may not want to be exposing all the skills you need to develop or all the weaknesses that were brought up by people who have worked with.  The hiring team would also like to make sure you are not going to need a lot of investment for training to enable you to begin working for them.  Showing them you are adaptable or resourceful will be a good way of convincing them you can be independent in upskilling yourself.

3) Be a little humorous. I personally think laughter is the best medicine for nearly all situations. I'm staying on with my current partner because he's funny. It helps to lighten up the mood in the room (virtual or physical) with a little joke here and there. Sarcasm and humour are signs of intelligence too, by the way *wink *.  Well, yes, I admit I also use laughter to mask my nervousness, in vain.  However, be careful of using your weaknesses as a joke, as it may seem like you are not intending to improve on them and are keeping them as a conversational topic for times like this.

Home
Photo by Marcela Rogante / Unsplash

4) Take notes. Questions asked in interviews, like exams, may sometimes be reused. Cliché questions are common. But those unique ones are a good catch too. Therefore, noting them down during your conversations will help you prepare for more upcoming interviews, or perhaps even to help someone else prepare theirs.  Asking good questions also shows your interests, values, and aspirations to the interviewer, and may help them see through you better. Although this may lead to rejections, but it is better to be sure the hiring company matches your needs and vice versa.  You do not want to be in a job you hate, unless it is also the one you love.

After

1) Relook and reflect on your feelings, experiences, and notes.  Take time to digest the conversation you just had. Check for gut feelings. Was there excitement or hesitation after your talk. Your body and mind can already give you a quick "impression evaluation" on the organisation and the role you are applying for.  Sometimes, you subconsciously already found some red flags about the position you are interviewing for. Sometimes, you can already tell that it is your calling and that you will get a call back or an offer!

So how do you feel after the interview?

2) Listen out for feedback.  This is usually done with someone else. Either you have someone observing or eavesdropping on your interview, or the hiring personnel following up with you, or you were sharing your interview experiences with your family or friends, all these people can provide you comments and feedback to improve on how you articulate your strengths, experiences, and even weaknesses in your next interview.  (However, I do hope your current interview passes with flying colours, so you won't need to go through another again.)

Then, hope for the best but expect the worst (quoted from my sister)!!