Last week, I was working with one of my colleagues as she prepared for a job interview. Having been through the process before with a similar institution, we felt as if we had aced the process by relying on her prior encounters.
Having been through this process multiple times, the nervousness that accompanies the preparation process is familiar to me.
And while we tend to focus on the ‘canned’ questions and sometimes canned responses, regardless of how much you prepare you are unlikely to go through all the potential questions that could come your way, even when the interview is within the same organization.
With my colleague, the questions were radically different from expectation but what saved her was the main buckets we had grouped her responses into. It pays to have an interview strategy.
This does not mean you should not prepare for the usual expected questions such as accomplishments, weaknesses, workplace relationships, strengths and the like.
In fact, these will help you clarify your thinking in order to have certain themes along which you can speak.
After preparing specific answers to the most expected questions, group your responses into themes.
For example, have a bucket for your most important achievements and if these encompass, say, events you have successfully organized, ensure you can use these to answer a variety of questions.
These can cover your strengths, interpersonal relationships, a show of emotional intelligence, execution skills and so on.
This will ensure that even if you do not prepare for all the questions that can possibly be asked, you will not come up blank when an unexpected or not prepared for question comes up.
Remember that this is also the opportunity for you to make a great first impression and to brag about your achievements.
While confidence is a significant component, speaking about your achievements is a great place to shine and show that you are the ideal candidate for the role, and the idea is to do this in a way that convinces the person you are speaking to.