Here are six things that will help you walk out of interviews with a healthy amount of confidence:
1. If you think you’re rambling, you are. I tend to over-answer
questions, and I’ve tried to be conscious of this in interview
situations. Be concise with your answers, and know where you’re going
with them. (No. 3 will help you with this.) If you think you’re
rambling, wrap it up. If you leave something out, No. 5 has you covered.
2. Don’t say, “That’s a good question.” OK, you can say it once
if it’s actually good question. Otherwise, you run the risk of sounding
like an ass-kisser—especially if it’s one of those rote
what’s-your-biggest-strength questions. If you say it once, try not to
say it again, or you’ll sound like you’re stalling at the beginning of
3. Over-prepare. I can’t tell you how to do this. I only know
that you should learn everything you can about the job, the company,
their competition, and the industry.
4. Stop thinking of it as a Q&A, and start thinking of it as a conversation.
Some of my colleagues over the years have gotten very worked up about
going into job interviews. I think it’s something to do with the
unnatural format of the interview. When else in life are we peppered
with rapid-fire questions and forced to answer them on the spot or face
unsavory consequences? In my interview experience, I’ve tried to think
of them as conversations about whether I’m the right person for a
particular job. I should be just as curious as the interviewer about
whether I’m right for the job.
5. If you don’t like how you answered something in an interview, write a thought-out answer and email it when you get home. I
know that I’m a better writer than I am an interviewer. Plus, they’re
hiring me for my writing/editing skills much more than they’re hiring me
for my ability to answer a few questions. There have been a few times
when I’ve left an interview happy overall, but thinking, “If only I’d
nailed that one question.” In those instances, I’ve gone home and
written exactly what I had wished I said and sent it along with my
6. Work in something personal about yourself that shows why you’d be good at a certain job. I
studied and performed improvisation in college and in Chicago for a
number of years, and that has consistently helped me be a good team
member in my work life. I’ve brought this up whenever I’ve been asked
whether I’m a team player.
Kevin Allen has worked or written for a variety of media outlets, including the Chicago Sun-Times, ESPN, The Huffington Post, and Fox Sports. This story was first published on PR Daily in July 2011.