In order for you to come up with impressive, spontaneous responses, you need to anticipate what might happen during the interview. Here are some tips on how to prepare for the unexpected:
- Do your research.
Who is your interviewer, and what kind of person is he or she? Do your research and understand the individual in front of you in your interview. If possible, know the people who will be behind the hiring decision and impress them all with what you’ve got.
- Learn about the job.
Having knowledge about the job description is highly advantageous. Review the list of responsibilities and/or qualifications in their advertisement, and prepare examples of experiences that will highlight your skills and talents.
- Pay attention.
While the interviewer is observing you, you have to observe him or her too. Pay attention to every detail, and take note of his or her responses. If the interviewer is interested in what you’re saying, expand upon it, but learn when to stop and make your long story short.
- Practice improvising.
Some interviewers will ask you strange or unusual questions, and you need to be prepared for that. They typically do this to see how you react under pressure. If you need time to think about it, politely ask for a moment; there is nothing wrong with that. Practice answering challenging, peculiar, and out-of-left-field questions.
- Don’t overthink.
Overthinking might be the reason you’re failing in your interviews. Don’t spend too much time thinking up the perfect answer. Focus on the question and its main point. Don’t let yourself talk too much; this will help you avoid making mistakes.
- Share your stories.
Aside from skills and talents, your interviewer will assess how you open yourself up to others. So, share stories that showcase your team spirit. Show how friendly you are and that anyone would love to work with a person like you.
- Expose your uniqueness.
Don’t brag about “just” being a “part of the team” or a person who “plays with the team.” It’s better if you tell stories that highlight your unique interpersonal skills. Don’t go for the ordinary. You need to stand out if you’re going to succeed.
- Don’t be afraid.
“What is your biggest weakness?” is a question that’s often asked by interviewers. You need to be ready for that. Don’t tell him or her something that will degrade you, but don’t pretend that you don’t have any flaws, either. Admit your weaknesses (within reason), and tell the interviewer that you’re ready to overcome them. In that case, the interviewer will see that you are aware of yourself and are motivated to improve.
- Keep it simple, and keep it real.
Don’t be too cocky. Don’t intimidate the interviewer and don’t be intimidated. Don’t make the interviewer feel that you know better than they do. Even if you are really smarter than them, you should still be humble and speak politely.
Interviewers have different attitudes and preferences. Keep in mind that during an interview, the interviewer is keenly observing you and that anything can happen anytime. Be prepared, pay attention, and try the tips we’ve discussed for a successful interview.