Preparing for Interviews

the cover of a book called "the essential guide for Hiring & Getting Hired"

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As I get closer to graduating, I know how important it is to prepare for interviews. In fact, I was reminded that interviewers make judgements within the first five minutes of an interview. It’s been a long time since I went on an interview and I have so much depending on me getting a job. So I came across this checklist as a place to start my preparation and maybe it can help you too.

Adler, L. (n.d.). Essential guide for hiring & getting hired.

Preparing for the Interview Checklist

  • Be Prepared. Don’t wing the interview. Prepare as much as you would for any important management presentation.
  • Don’t look at your resume during the interview. Looking is a sign of nervousness or fabrication. You need to know everything on the resume without hesitation.
  • Use the SAFW format to answer each question. A complete 1-2 minute answer is the sweet spot for length and content.
  • Get the interviewer to describe real job needs. Force the interviewer to ask about relevant topics.
  • Focus on the opportunity, ignore the compensation.  Compensation increases will follow great performance.
  • Demonstrate interest and acts about next steps. Get the interviewer to commit to something, and if he or she hesitates, find out why and respond.
  • Demonstrate how you develop solutions rather than giving the solution. Most problem-solving questions are designed to understand how a person develops a solution, rather than the actual answer.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Everyone gets a little nervous during the interview. To get through the initial two minutes of discomfort, practice getting nervous by answering questions to a friend or family member.

My biggest takeaway is that it is important to be in control of the interview. That means, answering in such a way that you feel in control. Also you should make sure that you absolutely know what is on your resume and know all your accomplishments. Who knows you more than you know yourself?

Self-appraisals – Know Thyself

a gavel and the words "YOU BE THE JUDGE"

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You may not be in a job that gives you an evaluation but I highly recommend that you do a self-appraisal. It will tell you where you stand and you can begin to make improvements if necessay. See the below steps to completing appraisal in six steps by  Dominique Jones | Posted December 3rd, 2013 | Performance Management

Six steps to completing a great self-appraisal.

1. Share your brilliant successes. Look at previous feedback received, projects you’ve completed and initiatives you’ve launched — all excellent fodder. If you haven’t done so in the past, start keeping a performance journal. It will make your next self-appraisal that much easier to complete.

2. Share what you’ve learned. What have you learned in the past year? Look to identify the ways in which you’ve been able to enhance your skills; describe the new skills you’ve mastered and how they’ve helped you in your career development. Describe how you’ve applied these new skills to your job and how they support the goals of your department and organization.

3. Share your challenges. This isn’t an annual opportunity for shameless self- promotion. It’s an opportunity for some humility. Be candid about your challenges in the year. Describe how you overcame them or the steps you will take in the year ahead to address them.

4. Be honest. Don’t embellish your accomplishments. Think hard about how you choose your ratings for yourself. Your manager will likely want you to support your ratings so be prepared to provide examples of your successes (why you deserve that high rating) and examples of your not-so-great performance (why you may deserve a weaker rating).

5. Take time to do it well. Your manager can tell if you rushed your self-appraisal. So take the time needed to do it justice (schedule time for it in your calendar!). After all, your self-appraisal is all about you, and you’re worth it! Use all the space/features provided in the form to tell your story.

6. Don’t attempt to complete it in one go. Treat your self-appraisal like a work of art that builds over time. You’ll be much happier with the end result if you give yourself time to reflect and carefully support your self-assessment. As I mention above, use examples to support your assertions, and please, please make sure that you spell- and grammar-check your documents. These are all signs of how seriously you take the process and its importance to you.