November 08, 2018 - 4 min read
Here is an easy-to-overlook, non-technical job interview tip that can boost your chances of landing your dream job. This tip can help both the interviewee and the hiring authority better maneuver through the interview process. It also aids in making every minute of an interview count in your favor!
Prepare for being asked generic/general questions that the hiring company may ask. This includes questions like: “Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?” or “What got you interested in [insert company/company mission here]?”.
These are such simple questions yet candidates fumble words around in attempt to express what was previously thought of as a simple answer to a simple question. As word-vomit spills out, a terror of intangible insecurity starts to fill the interviewee’s head space.
The interviewee thinks, “Don’t fck up, don’t fck up, don’t f*ck up.” and then awkward silence begins to pace after the “umms” and “ugghhs”.
At this point, the interviewee’s chances of getting that dream gig is getting lower by the "umm".
Think about it. Whether it’s HR or the COO that’s interviewing you, their schedules are booked and their time is valuable. Their objective in all this is to find a candidate that can hang.
The good news is that you can prepare for this. Practice this tip and you’ll breeze through your interview with ease.
As the heading states, write it down! Write down predictable questions and your responses on paper. Or type it out if you prefer. I personally have used the writing things down approach so the following passages will be framed as such.
Write down the questions and write down your answers on paper. Don’t go too deep into the details here, keep it concise. Think of the phrase ‘in a nutshell’.
This will help you provide answers that stick to the question and keep you focused on answering them well.
Now, after you’ve managed to compile your thoughts on paper, rehearse speaking your answers out loud. This might seem silly and strange at first because it is! Generally, it is not normal to speak without having another set of ears to listen — so that’s all that ‘silly and strange’ feeling is telling you. Just let it say hi and enjoy feeling silly and strange! A little levity can do the mind/body good.
Ahem Back to what I was saying 😃… speak the words you wrote down out loud. Stage your mind to respond as if someone was asking you the questions you wrote out and reply accordingly. Look at your paper as much as you like if you need help remembering the points you wanted to make.
Repeat it over and over until you feel comfortable answering the questions aloud without looking at your paper.
It’s important to note that during the actual interview, it is not likely that you’ll vocalize your answers word for word as written, so allow some room to be calm and breathe around the point of your response.
Prepare your mind with this information ahead of time so that you’re not too hard on yourself to be precise. Let your responses flow conversationally and not robotically.
This tip is a simple two-step process: write it down and sound it out. With preparation like this, you’ll appear clear, composed, and confident as opposed to scattered, unprepared, and unsure.
Time will not be wasted on long awkward pauses or nervous filler words like “umm” or “ughhh”. Instead, time will be used to provide valuable information that the interviewer needs to gauge you as a potential new hire.
This technique has helped me stay focused on what is important for an interviewer to know about me and how I can best address those inquiries. It also provided confidence that carried throughout.
Since starting my journey into front-end development (and after leaving a tech-related position), I’ve interviewed with a number of companies and 9/10 times have gotten the green light to advance to the next round.
Unfortunately, circumstances have come up where I had to decline moving forward.
I do not claim to be a master of the front-end, in fact, there is so much for me to learn. Naturally, in this ever-changing industry, there always will be.
I don’t think my skills on their own were what earned me a signal forward, though I’m not short-changing myself either — I work hard and show up every day to learn.
So that coupled with my care and preparation for the interview process is what I think were of interest to these interviewers.
And until the right company and I meet, I will continue to learn, grow and prepare while sticking to this quote:
“Luck happens when opportunity meets preparation.”
Be yourself, prepare, go out there and make your own luck ✌️
Note: Eleven days after publishing this article, I was offered (and I accepted) a position as a full-time Front-end Developer 🎉. So naturally, I wrote an update about it where I share some insight on the job itself.