When you prepare for an interview for your career after college, don’t leave your “delivery” on the table!
Why? Because it helps me as an interviewer get a better sense for not only what you know, but who you are, and what it will be like to work with you. The initial interview is the first chance you have to give the employer a “whole person impression” of how you will fit into the organization and contribute to the team.
To give yourself the best shot at leaving a great impression, practice your interview delivery. Test your ability to perform under pressure.
Here are 6 steps you can take to perfect your job interview performance:
Write the Script
Of course before you begin to practice your delivery, we’ll presume you’ve done all the work you need to have focus, energy and passion around the preparation of your interview content.
Now you get to use that content to deliver authentic responses about your offer to the employer. Tell them how your passions, interests and abilities intersect with their business need. Prepare for the expected interview questions, including the all time great, “So, tell me about yourself.”
Have a few people review and give you feedback. Allow yourself time and space to develop your messages. A good delivery is meaningless if you don’t have the content to back it up. Preparing for both will prevent you getting tripped up in the interview process.
Warm-up Your Vocals
Every great singer warms up their voice before they perform. Here’s your chance to train your interview vocal cords. Read aloud what you have written … many times. Once your voice consumes the words, adjust phrasing and inflection to sound more like “the professional you.”
This will embed your stories in your mind, help you respond in a confident tone and facilitate your ability to recall your messages easily when you are interviewing.
Revise Your Words and Voice
OK, now you’ve written it and spoken it. How is it all flowing? Listen to yourself from the perspective of the interviewer. What conclusions is she drawing, can she follow your train of thought? Get feedback from friends, family or faculty. Others often make observations that may not be obvious to us.
What are you doing well and how can you expand on that? What feels odd to you, and how can you improve it? Is your message effective and concise? Is your delivery engaged and professional? If not, keep revising.
Edit your stories and your delivery as you hear how to improve both the content and the telling.
Groove Your Swing
I knew a baseball player who went to the garage and swung the bat 300 times each night to groove his swing. Without actually hitting any balls, he was training his muscles and reflexes to prepare for a game day situation.
Do the same for an interview. While driving, raking leaves, in the shower, in front of a mirror, practice speaking your responses and telling your stories aloud.
Get your friends or other adults to ask you practice questions. Conversely, practice asking questions of the interviewer. This preparation builds your muscle memory for the interview process.
Master Your Nonverbal Cues
Facial expression, voice tone, timing and gestures all influence your delivery. Notice how your inflection, pitch and facial expressions change and settle as you practice your responses. Smile, practice eye contact, attend to your posture. Banish any gestures or mannerisms (like chewing your nails or twisting your hair) that don’t belong in an interview.
Focus on what feels authentic, like the weight of the bat settling perfectly in your hands. Keep working on the parts that don’t feel quite right. This will help you get comfortable in your role as interviewee.
Get a Visual
Now that you’ve got your plan together, make a video of yourself. Ask someone to pose as a faux interviewer. Asses your poise, your delivery and your messages. What are you noticing?
Scrutinize your video from the interviewer’s perspective. Is this the way you want to come across? What conclusions would they draw?
What do you notice about how you appear or sound? Are you smiling at the right times? Do you look interested? How is your voice, your posture, other gestures? Eye contact? Do the words feel and sound good to you? What do you need to change?
Continue refining your message and your delivery, and adapt as you need.
Practicing your interview delivery will take more time and energy. It is time well spent. You’ll feel more confident, and you’ll help the interviewer know far more about the amazing young adult sitting in front of them than just the answers to your questions ever would.
What have you discovered in the process of developing your interview delivery? Is it a true reflection of who you are, or does it need some work?
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Degrees of Transition!
About the Author: Lea McLeod helps recent grads and mid-careerists navigate the job search. And once you have a job, she’ll coach you to the brilliant performance of which you are capable! Her “Developing Patterns of Success” Workshop has been deployed to help thousands of college hires worldwide do just that. Follow her on Twitter and her blog: DegreesofTransition.com.