How to Approach Your Job Interview

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Having the right interview approach can be the difference between landing the job and coming in second.

The first step is to cover the basics.  Prepare for the interview carefully and well in advance. Ensure you’ve done your homework ahead of time so you can easily answer all kinds of commonly asked questions–and you’ve practiced your answers.  Make sure your appearance is clean and professional.

Now that you’re thoroughly prepared for the interview, you need to shed the nerves and practice your approach.  On your ride to the interview relax and take a few deep breaths and follow these key steps:

1) Think of the times you’ve been successful.
Think of your victories. Of all your achievements. Your accomplishments. The moments that made you feel good about yourself. Feel your inner confidence boost you up.

2) Think positive thoughts.
Stop all negative thoughts about what might happen if they ask tough questions, etc. Think positively and fill your head with positive thoughts of how you would be a success at the interview, at the job and at your career.

3) Visualize an easy and successful interview.
Visualize yourself answering questions with ease. Visualize a friendly and amicable interviewer or a panel. It helps to alleviate your mood and in turn will make a favorable impression on the interviewers.

4) Think of the interview as an animated conversation.
Stop thinking of the interview as a stress filled interrogation and more in terms of an animated conversation you will be having with people in the same area of business. That will alter your approach from being defensive to being participative and show qualities of teamwork and receptivity in you.

5) Think of your strengths.
Focus on your strengths. Forget about the weaknesses. There is not much you can do about them. If you are forced to discuss your weaknesses, talk instead about the proactive steps you take to overcome those weaknesses.  Use them to your advantage.

6) Be punctual.
Be early at the venue because that helps in acclimating to the environment and in learning or clarifying any bits of information that you may need before your interview.

By following these six steps, you’ll be able to shed the nerves and put your best foot forward.  And please remember–be yourself.  As long as you’ve prepared ahead of time and relax, you’ll do just fine!

It was my distinct pleasure working for RealStreet, aka KJMK, on separate FEMA disaster recovery assignments and long-term recovery planning assignments between October 2004 and May 2006 in the aftermath of Hurricanes Ivan, Katrina, Francis and Wilma. I found working with these professionals enjoyable as well as self-fulfilling and rewarding. After a 9-year stint as Read More…

Steve Spry, CAPZO, Certified Alabama Planning and Zoning Official

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