For many people, interviewing is not a natural act any more than going on a blind date is. You are asked a bunch of questions about your work. You answer them. They ask a bunch more; you answer them. You're graded on your performance (you receive a job offer or not). Yet interviews are predictable processes and as such can be planned for
What does an employer want to know about you?
1. Do you have the skills to do the job that needs to be filled?
2. How will you fit in with my company?
3. If I hire you, are you someone I will need to worry about?
How does this get determined in an interview?
1. By asking questions about what you have done and how you did it or decided it should be done.
2. By asking behavioral questions that will give an employer a sense of the scope of your experiences
3. By asking concrete questions to ascertain your knowledge
4. By observing your body language or physical response to questioning
to observe whether it is consistent with a successful person.
The fourth way (observing body language or physical response to questions) is particularly interesting because it is not skill or experience based and is completely subjective and emotional. AND it is part of the decision process.
And want are firm's trying to find out about you? Leadership. Honesty. Trustworthiness.
You can practice with a friend or family member but they may not be much better than you. So how do you practice you presentation and get immediate feedback in order to improve your presentation and demonstrate these attributes?
Toastmasters (www.toastmasters.org) offers people an opportunity to practice how to speak throughout their program. Whether you answer extemporaneous questions off the cuff for 1-2 minutes in Table Topics ("It's warm! It's summer! People start to go to the beach and spending time outdoors. Tell us about a time you had fun at the beach, Jeff." Notice that you only find out when you will speak at the end when you hear your name) or by doing actual 4-6 minute speeches, Toastmasters offers concrete opportunities to get used to being "on the spot" as happens in an interview. It also gives you an opportunity to observe others and learn from them and from the evaluations that are given.
There are Toastmasters clubs throughout the world. To find one, you can go to http://www.toastmasters.org/find/.
Jeff Altman, Managing Director of Concepts in Staffing, a New York search firm, has successfully assisted many corporations identify management leaders and staff in technology, accounting, finance, sales, marketing and other disciplines since 1971. He is also co-founder of Your Next Job, a networking group focused on assisting technology professionals with their job search, a certified leader of the ManKind Project, a not for profit organization that assists men with life issues, and a practicing psychotherapist. For additional job hunting or hiring tips, go to http://www.newyorkmetrotechnologyjobs.com
If you would like Jeff and his firm to assist you with hiring staff, or if you would like help with a strategic job change, send an email to him at firstname.lastname@example.org (If you're looking for a new position, include your resume).