Are you an interview virgin?

Your Career, Your Choices - A weekly column for job-seekers

Are you a person who seems to be called for interviews a lot but never have success? Or have you never had an ‘official’ interview in your life, and are now faced with the prospect of actually sitting one?

Or maybe, you just dread the whole ordeal and hope that on the day of the interview, the ‘natural inner you’ will shine through. What can you do to overcome these dilemmas?

Mock interviews are a very powerful tool.

It enables you to ‘live’ the experience and really allows you to receive feedback that will boost your performance during the actual interview. Preparation, attitude and knowing your own strengths are all key factors when getting ready for your interview but there is nothing more powerful that giving yourself the ultimate test and finding out the real results.

Mock interviews identify elements that you never knew existed in your professional communication style. Friends and families mean well and sitting in front of a friend is not the same as being interviewed by a professional. It is less of a bitter pill to swallow to get constructive feedback by an interview expert than hearing it from a friend (who will never tell you the full truth in any case! )

A total of 34 assessments for Mock Interview Day were completed by students in a survey about CV and Interview Preparation. Of that group, 79 per cent of students felt that they were "better prepared" to interview for "real employment," while the remaining 7 per cent stated "somewhat." (Armstrong Atlantic State University, Georgia, US )

Thinking about what you are ‘planning’ to say in an interview, and actually performing on the day, are poles apart. We can all associate with how we wished that we told the interviewer about our particular strengths, or even just feeling that we could not ‘connect’ on the day.

What are the benefits of mock interviews?

It allows you to give yourself a real life test run – this is so beneficial to your overall interview success. It helps you understand how much time it takes you to get ready; what type of entrance you make and generally how you come across in interview.

Even your appearance can be analysed here. Are you portraying the professional image that you think that you are? Do you talk too fast, do you look bored, or do you smile enough?

The feedback here is what it important to your future success. More importantly, utilising the feedback is crucial.

It helps ‘warm you up’ before the interview. It increases your confidence, and improved self-esteem is very helpful when going into interview. When we have lived the experience, (especially a few times ) the interview scenario becomes less of an ‘anxious’ encounter.

Non-verbal communication is very important in an interview situation. Preparation alone will not allow for your body language. Mock interviews help give you guidelines on what it important and what is not.

Excellent speakers use hand gestures quite a lot. Bill Clinton, Colin Powell and Barack Obama punctuate nearly every sentence with a hand gesture. In order for them to be better speakers, they have been given intensive coaching on their body language through constructive analysis of their public speeches.

Even the top politicians in the world need help.

“I love rehearsing because in rehearsals there are no mistakes, nothing is wrong, some things apply or lead you to focus on the character, and the things that don't apply are equally valuable because they lead you towards what does,” – Jim Jarmusch

Give yourself a fighting chance. Never mock a mock interview.

Sli Nua Careers (tel 094 95 42965, www.SliNuaCareers.com ) are based on Main Street, Headford, Co. Galway, and carry out CV Preparation, Mock Interviews, and Interview Training. For your free e-book on interview & CV tips, email [email protected].

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