Prepare to be selected

  • Published
  • By Jackie Bing
  • Director of Personnel Program Management
As the song goes "Somebody ought to testify." Testify to the fact that a scene is being played out over and over during ARPC interview panels, and it is almost criminal. Well, not really criminal but disappointing. Many are coming to job interviews unprepared! How do I know? I have witnessed it and heard supervisors comment about it. 

Preparation is key, and knowing what a successful interview entails is critical to obtaining the position or promotion you have been eyeing.

The interview itself could be intimidating, especially when people realize they must convince not one person but a whole panel that they are best for the job. Preparing beforehand will help you have more confidence to give a successful interview regardless of the forum or outcome.

How does one prepare? When you decide to accept an interview make sure you do your research. Always obtain a copy of the job description ahead of time (not the day of the interview) and study it as if you are studying for a test. Think about the experience and skills that you bring to the table and match it up with the job description. Write it down if it helps. Take into account 'all" of your experience, strengths and skills -- meaning both professional and personal; supervisory and non-supervisory.

Anticipate questions you might be asked and think about how you would respond. If you have had other interviews, try to think of the questions you were asked and use them as a starting point to prepare. You must be specific and clear in explaining your experience. A response of, "I've done that before" with no further explanation, for example, will not get you the job. Have a response ready for when you do not have experience in a specific area. Respond in such a way that even without the specific experience, the panel members know you are capable and have the character to perform well.

Do not assume because you know the panel members that you do not have to be forthcoming with explanations and perform well during the interview. It is a big mistake to not give your best effort because you think "they know me and know what I do."

Dress well for the interview. It will help with your confidence and help you present a professional demeanor. First impressions are important. Of course, since the majority of us have worked together for years it's not really a first impression. Guard your reputation. Be known for your positive influences.

When you respond to a question, pause a little, think, breathe and then act. Make sure you are thorough with your answers. If you do not understand a question, it is perfectly fine to ask that the question be repeated.

Usually during the interview, you will be given an opportunity to provide your own comments. Do not let this opportunity pass. Take this time to expand on the experience and abilities you have that may not have come out with the interview questions. Give the panel members a reason to select you over others who are presumably equally qualified for the job. Practice and make your interview memorable.

Apply for positions! There was a time when your name had to come up on a certificate, and if you were not one of 15 names, you did not get to interview. Take full advantage of having the flexibility to submit your name through job announcements.

Lastly, there is a very powerful tool at your fingertips that can help you prepare -- the Internet ... why not use it? You will find useful information and pointers to prepare for any interview.

Are you going to allow a poor interview to get in the way of being selected for the position you want? You know what I believe; on your next job interview you will be prepared -- I testify!