Ace Future Job Interviews With This Two Step Strategy

Tips for becoming a more confident and relaxed interviewee

Posted May 16, 2017

When I was starting out as a psychotherapist intern—let's just say that was "a few" years back—my supervisor required me to conduct a process recording after every client session. I kind of hated them (the process recordings, that is). But, looking back, they were tremendously helpful and now I suggest the same technique to my job seeking clients.

Immediately after a counseling session I'd sit down for 15-20 minutes to write down everything I could remember about the session. What questions I asked, how the client responded verbally, his or her body language- essentially every single detail I could remember. I would then take that process recording into a meeting with my supervisor to review what went right and what I could have done better. These process recording reviews boosted my confidence and helped me learn essential skills quickly.

In the same way, I believe process recordings should be conducted after every job interview. Sit down for 15-20 minutes to write down everything you can remember:

  • What questions did the interviewer ask?
  • How did you respond?
  • How did the interviewer react to your response?
  • How did her posture or facial expression change?
  • How did the pacing of your responses feel? Were your answers too short or too long?
  • Do you recall a lot of "hmm"s and "umm"s? What questions made you stumble?
  • What were your instincts telling you before, during, and after the interview?
  • What would you do differently next time? What questions do you need to practice?
  • What details or stories do you wish you would have mentioned?
  • What questions do you wish you would have asked the interviewer?

No matter your age, career level, or industry I'd suggest conducting a process recording after every interview throughout your career. Save them all and go back to them when you're preparing for your next interview. Bring them to your next career coaching session so your coach can help you improve your interviewing skills.

If after your next interview you receive word that you didn't get the job, reach out to the interviewer or recruiter and ask for feedback. It's as simple as thanking them for the interview and asking if they have any feedback for what you could have done differently to position yourself for the job. Add this feedback to the process recording. You can practice mock interview questions until you're blue in the face, but nothing will compare to having this real life information in front of you. 

MaxPixel
Source: MaxPixel

My second tip is about self-care and this also comes from personal experience. To this day, after many of my client sessions, I step outside for a breath of fresh air. If I have time I'll play with my dog or pull a few weeds from the garden. But even if I only have a moment in between calls, connecting with the outdoors helps me set the previous call aside, clearing the blackboard in my brain so that I'm refreshed and focused for my next client.

Job interviews are stressful and stress hormones will be surging through your body before, during, and after the interview. So my suggestion is to build an additional hour into your schedule after the interview so that you can find a place to conduct your process recording and then get some fresh air. You may not have a dog or a garden handy, but any patch of grass or bench under a tree will do. Tell yourself that you did the best you could in that moment and it's now in the past. Even if you made some mistakes, tell yourself that even a bad job interview is good practice. Your process recording will ensure that no job interview is a waste of time, but an opportunity for growth. So go outside, leave the interview behind, and breath deeply so that you can move on to the next task of the day with focus.

In fact, I would suggest this same tip after any event that requires you to be "on". After your next presentation or sales pitch, tack on enough time at the end of the event so that you can turn off—specifically outdoors—if only for a moment. If you can bookend your interview or event with some outdoor time before and after, all the better. It's a small reward, it's smart self-care, and it helps your mind associate stressful situations with a positive conclusion.

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Brad Waters, MSW works nationwide with non-traditional career seekers, freelancers, creatives, introverts, Millennials, and corporate career changers. He helps people clarify their career direction and take action on career-life transitions. Brad is also a resume, cover letter, and job interview expert who helps clients perfect their professional narrative. Request a free phone consultation call at BradWatersCoaching.com

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