Friday, June 24, 2011

Could've, Should've, Would've (and how to "behave" in a behavioral interview)

Talent Scout Q&A (Real questions from real candidates)

Job Seeker: Would you have any advice on how NOT to get nervous during an interview?  I’ve been to so many interviews, and you’d think I wouldn’t care at this point.  But I do, and that’s why I’m nervous!  Unfortunately no amount of practice (with my family or alone in front of a mirror) seems to help me remember things “in the moment”.  Then after the interview, I walk out and it all comes flooding back… I could’ve, should’ve, would’ve. 
I find that I’m more nervous with inexperienced interviewers or people who just want to blast me with those behavioral interview questions…which seem to have nothing to do with whether I can do the job, want the job and WILL do the job to the best of my ability!
Why is it that recruiters take so much stock in those behavioral interview questions?  Or should I say the ability for someone to answer them?

Talent Scout: Well it seems like your question is twofold:  Behavioral interview questions and how to calm your nerves.  Am I right? 
Behavioral questions help us understand each other (both the interviewer and the candidate, when you ask questions in return).  Consider you are on a first date.  If all you ask are “Can you do ___?” or “How many years experience do you have doing ____?” you wouldn’t learn nearly as much about your potential partner as you would if you said something like “Tell me about your favorite experience doing ____.” Or “What are you most proud of?” or “How would you handle ____ situation?”  THE SAME GOES FOR INTERVIEWING!  It’s like a first date where you are both trying to learn as much as you can about the other in a one hour (or less) time frame.

As for being nervous, I personally try to overcome that by visualization techniques.
  • Visualize yourself sitting in the interview with all the confidence in the world
  • Visualize every question that gets asked of you and how you are quickly able to answer it with a strong, solid answer.
  • Visualize yourself at the end of the interview “closing” them on the deal.
  • Visualize the call you’ll be getting with the offer!
  • Visualize yourself as a valued member of the company, with your office and your boss and your team, etc..
I think visualization combined with practice (and a good night’s sleep before your interview) are the most powerful tools at your disposal when preparing for an interview.
I wish you all the success in the world in your next interview, and that your next job is just around the corner!!  Let me know how these work for you, and good luck to you!!

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