December 8, 2010
What am I doing wrong in interviews?
Q: I have had a few interviews where I have not gotten the job, and it's difficult to evaluate what I'm doing wrong. I cannot get feedback from interviewers because of company policies. Where can I get help with interviewing practice to improve my skills?
Kristen says: Any WorkSource office will be able to offer you free coaching and mock interview practice sessions. There are also many job-seeking support groups in the area that can help you hone your skills. LinkedIn has several Seattle-specific professional groups such as Linked: Seattle, the East Side Networking Group and the Seattle Job Social. If you get very nervous in situations, you might also consider joining Toastmasters, a non-profit group that helps people learn public speaking (there are several chapters in the Greater Seattle area).
Before you go through interviews, ask the recruiter questions such as: What type of interview questions you can expect? Will the interview be one-on-one or panel-based (and, if panel-based, how many people)? Is there a particular interview style the company uses? What factors beyond functional skills will the interviewers be considering?
While you cannot predict what questions you will be asked, you can certainly prepare yourself. A large majority of organizations today use “behavioral based interviewing,” which is predicated on the idea that past behaviors are indicative of future actions. There are two main types of questions to expect. The first generally starts with “tell me about a time when you ” The second type gives you a hypothetical problem and asks you how you would solve it.
There are a few general errors many candidates make when interviewing:
• Appearance. Are you dressed appropriately for the industry and job?
• Talking about how a team or group solved a problem. Companies are interviewing
you, not your former team. Highlight your specific accomplishments.
• Not asking clarifying questions. Interviews are intended to find out how you interact
and think about situations.
• Lack of interest or passion about the job or industry.
• Not listening to the interviewer, jumping ahead or only listening to part of the
• Speaking negatively about your former employer.
Keep these in mind as you practice, and good luck!
Kristen Fife is a recruiter, resume consultant, and employment expert based in the greater Seattle area.
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