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It's your final year, time to count down, reflect on all you've accomplished, and plan for what lies ahead. Now is not the time to get lazy and slack off. The whole purpose behind the past few years has been to help you develop the skills and knowledge to enable you to finish your senior year and graduate to the adult world of working for a living. And in order to do that you need to be sure your job hunting skills are in peak form.
Whether you take a workshop at the campus career center, read articles on line and in magazines or study the examples of those around you, it is important to be prepared to participate in the job interview process. And just like anything you do, that means you need to practice.
If you feel like you're ready to tackle interviewing for your first full-time career position, you'll want to review these Guideposts to be sure you understand how to get the most from interview rehearsals.
1. Use open ended questions; encourage candidate to keep talking.
When conducting actual practice interviews, one of the best techniques is to work in groups of threes. This way you can have someone observe the process and take notes for feedback without distracting the candidate and interviewer from the interview.
What is most important in the interview rehearsal process is for the interviewer to be prepared with a group of pertinent, open-ended behavioral-focused questions that forces you, the candidate, to reflect on your actual college and work experience in order to form a response. By considering your job and school history now, you are more likely to be able to recall this information and address similar questions in the actual interview process.
Don't be afraid of pauses. Taking time to reflect and carefully consider what the interviewer has actually asked you sends the message that you are a professional who takes their time and doesn't provide just a knee-jerk response.
2. Relate experience and accomplishments to company.
One of the primary reasons human resources and business professionals suggest that you study up on a company and position before the interview is so that you can relate your experience and accomplishments to what the company is currently seeking. Interviewers are going to want to know how your background will translate into a good match for them.
But beyond that they will also want to make sure you have the basic soft skills needed to be successful. Your ability to communicate and create a connection between your experience and the job requirements will be a key component of the interview.
3. State what went well; ask what Candidate should have done differently.
Once you have finished the practice interview, it is important to decompress and listen to what the observer thought were the high and low points of the practice. People are likely to have their own opinion, so it is important to openly discuss what did and didn't work and why. Then be sure to change roles so that everyone has a shot at being on the hot seat.
The whole idea behind this process is to help you get over your jitters and focus on what is important in the interview. And by conducting interview rehearsals you'll be able to go on with the show without a hitch.
For more information on this topic, see the companion Skills in Action video!
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