After an interview you are unlikely to receive any feedback other than “You’re Hired” or “Thank you for your time.” This makes it difficult to determine how well you did. Were you the second or the third choice, or not even in the running?
To get better at interviews (and eventually land that job), you must find other ways to evaluate your performance.
Read the Room
Although 100 percent of your focus will probably be on correctly answering questions and interacting with the interviewer(s), take time to make quick mental notes. Look for the following:
– The interviewer leans forward and/or smiles.
– You receive specific compliments.
– The interviewer asks more complicated questions.
– The interviewer engages you in small talk.
– The interview is longer than you expected.
– The interviewer leans back and/or folds arms.
– The interviewer seems distracted and/or bored.
– The interviewer fails to maintain eye contact.
– You are interrupted while answering a question.
– The interview is shorter than you expected.
By paying attention to body language as well as the flow and the feel of the process, you can learn quite a bit. You may use these clues on the spot to build upon a good response or to rescue yourself from a bad one. Or, simply store your thoughts away for future reference.
Keep an Interview Journal
Documenting your experiences will allow you to pinpoint your strengths and your weaknesses more accurately. As soon after the interview as possible, jot down notes. Use these categories and questions as a guide.
Did you arrive on time?
How was your dress and personal grooming?
Were you friendly and outgoing to everyone you met?
What questions did the interview ask?
What questions were easy? What questions were hard?
Were your answers clear or too wordy?
Did you sell yourself and your skills?
How did you emphasize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses?
Did you show enthusiasm through both verbal and non-verbal communication?
Did you spend enough time researching the company and the position?
Did you feel confident or as though you were winging it?
Don’t be overly judgmental. Rather, focus on the facts. Highlight what you did well and what you need to work on for your next interview.
Although you may ask for comments after a rejection, most organizations will not tell you what you “did wrong.” However, you can enlist the help of family and friends. Setup a mock interview and have someone grade your responses. This is a great way to conquer those stumbling block questions.
Finally, don’t beat yourself up. Every interview is a resource for future success. And remember, sometimes circumstances are beyond your control. You can be “textbook perfect” and someone else may still receive the job offer.
If interviews are bringing you down, an employment agency may be able to help. At Aventure Staffing, we provide free expert advice to all job seekers. Browse our job openings throughout Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota today!