Thus far, I am 0 for 3 in interviews and I am getting very frustrated. I am frustrated because I am failing my interviews. For some reason, I am having a difficult time answering interview questions with fluidity. In some cases, I have found myself over-analyzing the question(s) to the point where I do not answer the question. Some has suggested that my nerves are getting the best of me, so I just need to relax. I partially agree with that assessment, but I do not know how much nerves have to do with me stumbling with my words when trying to relay my experiences in manner that they can understand. I believe the stumbling has/will cost me job opportunities. Suggestions?
Derrick I can help you. I was professionally trained to "kill" interviews over 30 years ago. More importantly for you I have trained others to be able to kill their interviews. I helped my son to get into an exclusive grad school when his grades weren't acceptable. I trained a friend and he was accepted into the Naval Academy. My grandson was up for a position at his company, there were 16 total people interviewed -he got the job. I helped a young women who was applying for a position as the Assistant to the CFO at SAP -she got the job. Just send me an email at email@example.com and we will schedule a one hour phone training interview. I guarantee you will do much better on future interviews.
Warmly, Bob Molluro
PS. Enjoy your 4th as things are about to get much better.
Hi Derrick, and thanks for your years of service.
I have hopped jobs for several years, and I know the interview drill. Here's how I learned to nail it.
1. Never complain about anything or anybody in any past jobs. Ever.
1.1. Everybody you ever worked with was a fine person. Everybody.
2. Never confess about any mistake you ever made. Ever.
2.1. You are moving to a new job for new opportunities.
3. Never answer any question with a plain, "Yes", or "No."
3.1. Your interviewers want to know YOU, and they can only learn that from YOU -- so you cannot be silent -- but you cannot talk too much, either.
4. Here is how to do it. Before the interview, make a list of at least a dozen or more BUSINESS PROBLEMS THAT YOU SUCCESSFULLY SOLVED.
4.1. Trim those stories down to ONE SENTENCE -- OR TWO SENTENCES MAXIMUM. Let us call these 'anecdotes.'
4.2. An anecdote should look like this: When my company had <this problem>, I resolved it by <this solution>.
5. When your interviewer asks a work-related question -- think of the anecdote that comes closest to their question, and tell that story about yourself.
This has always worked for me, Derrick. Like a charm.
Best wishes in your interviews.
This thread contains all of the thoughts I had in reading the question:
- Good interviews should be like a conversation rather than an interrogation.
- Most interview questions follow familiar patterns and conventions
- Practicing your answers to common questions out loud is the best way to develop fluidity, answers you rehearse can end up becoming source material for even the most informal, conversational interview.
- Become an expert in showcasing your experience by using the STAR technique.
Here are some resources on common interview questions:
Here are some resources on behavioral interviews and STAR analysis:
First of all, thank you for your service.
Try not to get frustrated at the interview process. Finding a job, getting an interview, being one of the finalist of several candidates is just part of the process. The best thing you can do, as you did in the Navy, is prepare yourself.
Once you have an interview at a company, go online and learn everything you can about the company, the managers, the products, their markets, etcetera so that you can go in the interview with a great deal more information that those you are competing against. Employers love candidates who enough interest in the job opening to investigate the
company. Doing so puts you head and shoulders over others who do not take the time to do so.
As for over analyzing the questions or your eventual answer, just be spontaneous and best of all, be yourself. Employers are looking for good skill sets, yes, but they are also looking for employees who fit their culture and fit their ideal candidate. You were trained well in the Navy to do you job and so just be yourself and your abilities and capabilities will shine through.
I hope this advice is helpful.
Much success in your job search.
David F Eastman, US Navy, Vietnam-Era, ASW Avionics
I am still active duty - Army, but getting ready to transition out next year. All the experts have posted incredible advice and obviously from tons of experience. I would like to share my 2 cents towards dealing with your nervousness. I recommend thinking about the most stressful situation you have ever been through in uniform and overcoming that fear. For me it was serving and surviving down range in a place called Barge Matal. I promised myself that If I ever made it out alive from that place I'd never let any situation get to me. Essentially every day from that point was a bonus, a gift.
By using similar experience, you can get real perspective and boost your confidence. The interviews can be stressful but I guarantee they are nothing compare to your worst butt chewing.
Good Luck, and look forward to hearing about your successful transition.
Here are the three things I'd recommend to start with:
1) Bring a Notepad
Yes, this seems simple. But this is how you use it. When you get the questions, write them in shorthand. By shorthand, I mean enough that you can look down and you see their question in what you wrote. I say it this way because it is different for each person.
Regardless, write it down. Jot an answer, but keep it under 10 seconds. Practicing this with a peer is a great way to learn this skill. Go back and forth with a buddy asking random questions ("What are your hobbies?" "What is your favorite season and why?" "What was your least favorite MRE and why?" "Your favorite MRE?" etc). Each time, jot the question and respond. Use a stopwatch to help with timing. It will help make your answers in the interview reflect your true self better (taking the time) while showing the interview panel you have a thought process (writing it down...and tapping a pen is a good way to count time).
2) Interviews should be TWO way
You should recon the company. Look them up. Look for the manager and others on LinkedIn. Do some online research.
You MUST make sure the position and the company are a good fit for YOU!! Just taking anything you can find can be a recipe for failure. Make sure the position, the manager, and the company are a good fit. If they aren't, be polite. But see the next item...
3) Thank you notes
Go get some blank thank you notes. After the interview, sit in the lobby and write them out. Practice on your notepad (see #1!) so your thoughts are together before you write. Mention specifics from the interview.
If the position isn't for you, tell them. I've written thank you notes that were (basically) "thank you for your time, but I won't be considering this position." As much as you want a job, a bad job can give you a bad reputation. Conversely, walking away from a bad fit with polite professionalism is never bad.
I hope that helps and thank you for your service!!
Which questions do you find the most challenging? Often what tends to be the generic opening question ("Tell me about yourself") catches interviewees off-guard, and they feel compelled to provide a 15-minute answer summarizing their lives from kindergarten to present. Be prepared to knock that one out of the park by focusing on current and recent accomplishments in a succinct manner. Also, remember that you are interviewing the interviewer as well: ask him or her at the end why they enjoy working for the company, how they define success in your role, what they think about the company culture, etc. I agree with the comments about researching the organization, but personalize the dialogue by making them work to give you thoughtful answers.
Here are a few suggestions that work.
1) Everyone is " amped up" before the interview. In 60 seconds you can calm yourself. Just say the word "me" to your self quietly for about a minute. Stop reading and try it now. Did it work?
2) You must get the interviewer to talk about themselves. If you know who in advance is going to interview you do some research. LinkedIn is a good place to start. If you don't know in advance be sure to ask them questions like what do they like best about the company? What has been their career path? What did they learn from those positions? Most people love to talk about themselves so make sure you let them.
3) Make sure to use the person's name at least five times. Everyone's favorite words are their name. This will help you to create a bond with the person.
4) Be sure to come across as being excited about the company and the position. Don't get trapped by mimicking a person who comes across as low key. Remember you may be one of the 5-8 people they are interviewing that day. They may be tired. You can't afford to be.
5) Dress like the way you look in your picture no matter what anyone tells you. For example we are business casual. Look your best.
6) Control the interview by starting with a firm handshake and using the person's name. They will be asking you a lot of questions-make sure you ask permission to ask questions as you go.
7) Research the company and the position. You must come across as totally interested .
Hi Derrick...I might just add to the great advice others have provided. I highly recommend that you spend SIGNIFICANT time researching the company you are interviewing (going WAY beyond their website!) and HAVING YOUR OWN AGENDA that brings up interesting and UNEXPECTED topics you've discovered through your research. I'm not saying to take over the interview in a heavy handed way, but this will give you confidence and enable you to steer the conversation to areas where you can provide value. After the initial small talk with your interviewer, YOU might start off the conversation with something like..."I was reading in the Wall Street Journal that...XXXXXX...how is your company reacting to this issue?
This is a bare knuckles competition...you need to work harder than your competitors to win!
Go to the company's website and learn all you can about the company. Look for press releases. If they sell something, create a login, and experience what it is like to buy from them. Join their newsletter. Use this information to tell them why you want to work for this particular company. Most people look at a job description and the qualifications and don't take the time to learn about the company they are trying to work for. This will put you ahead of the pack.
Be the best professional you that you can be.
You have received so much excellent information since posting that I trust you are set to tackle interviewing better than ever before. I especially want to compliment you on providing feedback to this group of advisors on all the great feedback you received. It's refreshing to see vets like you reach out for support and in turn, learn from you that it has been well received and that you are moving forward with confidence. Good luck in finding the position you are seeking.
I am late to this game and you've already received a lot of good advice. Two comments:
1. Three is not a lot of interviews. It takes awhile to get good at being interviewed. Be patient with yourself (and, as several folks have said, practice).
2. I love how you've taken responsibility for the poor interviews. There was no deflecting, no blaming the interviewer...nothing but complete accountability. Your future employer is going to really appreciate your sense of ownership.
I think all the advice has merit: research, practice questions, etc. But for me being confident that I can do the job without overstating it is key. The one time I failed is I didn't have my usually up beat attitude and I didn't get the job. I fell victim to under cutting myself in the face of competition. Keep in mind that most people aren't you, they don't have what you have, that you really fit well in the job and here's how....
You can prepare. Get everything ready the nite before, get a good night sleep. Skip coffee. But what to say. I would take each job lead before the interview. look at it for the skills they seek i.e leadership...then brainstorm a time you took on a leadership role. Write the story down, then say it til you can say it with some expression, perhaps a smile or even a pause. Now do it for all the skills they seek. Also prepare a time you resolved a conflict, your biggest accomplishment, your favorite superior and why. Now have a few questions for them...what will an average day be like, their goals or mission.
When on the interview, don't just blurt out an answer immediately. It is acceptable to take a moment to construct you answer. if you don't have one, you could say ..I have never encountered that situation, but here's what I think I would do.
Don't fill yourself with self doubt, use your inner voice to say to yourself, I am gonna get this job, I can do good things for this employer. The fact that I got the interview, the employer believes you can do it.
The interview is to mostly confirm that you can do the job (confirm resume) and are a good fit (personality). We say need + fit = job. Hope this helps. Good luck and than you for your service.
P.S. Smile on interview ...it goes far,
You have tons of good resources and advice in the answers given already. Apply what you've done for years in the service - plan, prepare and practice. The best practice you can do is sparring, so you're ready for the first big punch in the interview and you've tried out your interview strategy with someone who will be a good foil and challenge you. Getting your game on for a job interview is not something you can think your way to - you have to work it out in practice. What makes a sailor or an athlete or a ballet dancer confident and comfortable in their stressful environment? Mental and physical muscle memory gained through deliberate repetitive practice. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can do some sparring on the house by phone or video. It works.
Good answers but maybe small touches to add. Practice but practice with someone, prefer face to face. Personally I do not feel that starting the first answer with "I apologize, I am surprised after nearly 25 years of serving in the Navy that you make me nervous, if I am not directly answering your question please let me know".
Many people have "stock" answers. What I mean is a well rehearsed answer to any question. So a story about a difficult situation that you solved with the assistant of others may be an example. So if you are asked tell me about a difficult relationship from your prior employment (this is a question from their list), you can twist your story to have the solution of elevating a challenging person you worked with. Don't spend days on this, but do spend time thinking of the storys you can tell. Then be concise and don't make it about the Navy, just make it about the people. My 2 cents, blessings.
Some ideas -
*I currently offer a panel discussion at our university that gives business school students a chance to hear about interview techniques from retired managers. Part of that is a one on one mock interview. See if you can find a similar program at your local universities.
*Contact VOC REHAB at the VA - they may have a program in your area.
*I lecture at a program called EBV (Entrepreneur Boot Camp for Veterans) - I believe there is a location at UCLA Anderson - give them a call.
*Reach out to the VBOC in your area, they may have a program.
*Did you attend a transition program at your base? Reach out to the manager there (FFSC?)
Hope this helps - as an NCO you have a valuable skill set (I did!) and an accepting environment (I didn't) - go get it. Persistence. Contact me if you want to talk.
Good responses but I'll add a strong emphasis on "practice, practice, practice." There's also a very good variation on that suggesting you should practice "SAFW" - 'say a few words!" The idea is you should be developing and practicing two-minute answers based on your accomplishments! More info at 212.careers.com
I coach Financial Advisors around the US by phone to help them grow their clientele. In other words, I help them learn to sell themselves. And getting a job offer is a sales job. (Hope that doesn't make you cringe!)
Forward your resume to me and we can talk about how you can "close the deal."
Jim "Da Coach" Rohrbach
You might consider reaching out to others in your industry not to interview, but instead to research the position/career in which you are interested. I have these calls with people who are referred to me by others, and I try to walk them through what my career path was, and how I would do it differently if I could turn back time, what do I like, what do we need to do in order to be successful, etc.
I think part of the nervousness is being unfamiliar with what is coming next. Having research phone calls instead of real live interviews should get you more background and knowledge of what you're pursuing, but also will push down the jitters when you have that real live interview. And, of course, it potentially increases your network. You'll find that most people are willing to help if a friend or co-worker refers you in to them.
Two quick thoughts - they are about PRACTICE and TALENT. That is, interviewing is a LEARNED SKILL. The best way to success is through PRACTICE. Second, although experience is important, employers will too often overlook the talents necessary to do the job. Be prepared to focus on your talents too.
Lastly, get and read the book, "What Color is your Parachute?" by Boyles. Make it your new bible. All sorts of good info there about resumes, sourcing jobs, and yes, interviewing!
Everyone has had good suggestions, and I'd like to add mine to the list.
A lot of firms are using Targeted Selection or similar question formats in their interviews. These questions are intended to get to the behaviors of the candidate, so we can see if they are a good fit for our organization.
The acronym that is used to describe a good answer is STAR - ST = Situation or Task (what were you asked to do), A = Action - What DID you do, and R = Results, what were the Results of your action.
If you tell them you were on a team, they'll ask "what was YOUR part" since they want to know how you perform. If there are no results, it doesn't work and is considered an invalid STAR.
So, here is your assignment: Think back over your past interviews about the questions that were asked. Write down as many as you can. Then come up with solid answers for those questions from your experience base. Show them through those answers that you are a good fit for the job you are applying to.
Then use this process going forward. If you are applying to a job that involves training for example, come up with your experience where you have trained or mentored someone or a class, and use that as an example.
Interviewing is a challenging situation. Practice interview questions with a friend, have them ask you the questions you wrote down, and have them critique your answers. Keep practicing until the interview questions are simple and you have answers that sound good. This is an assignment like many others - if you apply yourself to it, you'll provide solid answers, and improve your chances.
Other suggestions: Bring one or two questions about the company (e.g., can you tell me about your benefit and vacation package? what is the working culture like here? when will I expect to hear from you?) to show you are interested in the position.
When you are answering questions, if you can be relaxed it helps. You can buy some time to think about a question by restating it to the interviewer. For example, "So, I understand you want to know about a time where I saw someone doing something that was unsafe, and what I did about it - is that what you are asking?" That gives the interviewer time to refocus the question if you didn't get the right meaning, while giving you a moment to pull through your life experiences and provide a good answer.
Good luck! If there is anything I can do to assist you further, send me a note through ACP.
Derrick, thanks for your service.
Sorry I'm late to this and likely missed this suggestion by another, but..................
If you've not, be certain to go online and learn all you can about the firm from their website.
Have a question or two ready about what you find.
It may help differentiate you and, people love to talk about themselves@!
Best of luck,
Preparation is key in getting through an interview successfully. As a recruiter, I advise my candidates to go back and review the job requirements and qualifications listed on the job posting. These will be the competencies the interviewers will focus on during the interview. Be prepared for possible behavioral based interviews, in which they are looking for specific examples of a time you used a particular skill set. Have a few examples prepared to share and tell the story. You can use the SBO - Situation, Behavior, Outcome format to keep your thoughts organized so you can answer in a way they will understand. As interviewers, their job is to align your skill set with the job they are hiring for.
I am a career consultant working with several groups assisting veterans in their job search. First off the key to any good interview is research.You need to have a good understanding of the company and knowledge of any resent developments. You need to clearly show how your background links to the job in question. Remember an interview is a 2-way sreet they are getting information on you but you also should be getting information on them. Always go into an interview with at least 3 things that you want the company to know about you by the end of the meeting. Let me know if you want to discuss further.
Derrick- it is important to be relaxed in the interview, so study up on the company you're interviewing with. Usethe internet to do a background search on the company and, if possible, their culture. Understand what type of position you're interviewing for and why you'd be a great fit. Practice some potential questions beforehand and remember that you're an asset that this or any other company would be happy to have! Good luck, David
Hi Derrick--below is a good link to check out--thank you for your service and Good Luck to you. If you like, I can do practice interviews via phone with you to give you honest, constructive and meaningful feedback. Reach out to me at email@example.com
Practice makes perfect. You need to build up a tolerance for getting told "No". There will be many more "No"s than Yeses. Go on as many interviews as you can. Over time, your interviewing style and skills will adapt to more comfortable presentation. Good luck.
Here are some resources on Behavioral Interview Questions:
Be sure you are doing your company research before the interviews. Find out about the company and their philosophy and goals for the future. Have some questions ready to ask about the company and ask them when given the opportunity.
I'm a recruiter. These are the tips I provide all my candidates before interviewing. https://careerservices.princeton.edu/undergraduate-students/interviews-offers
I recommend this book by Harvey Mackay. In it he gives a list of the top questions asked in job interviews and how to answer them. It is called "Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door: Job Search Secrets No One Else Will Tell You"
Hi, you have received many excellent responses. What helps me most is to role-play with a friend asking questions and me answering in a limited time frame. Practice until you are completely relaxed. Learn all you can about the company where you want a job, and always tell the truth -- even if it costs you the job. In the long run, it will pay off. Best-- Karen
Being nervous is OK. Forget about it, it's natural.
You need to know as much as possible about the company you're speaking with. Do homework on the company and then ask them questions about their strategy, plans for expansion, their advancement record, turnover (% of people that leave annually), etc. The more you know about them, the better you'll do. Plus you need to be picky about who you work for so find out if you want to work there.
So mentally flip the script such that you're very confidently asking them as many questions as they're asking you, do your homework, be humble and magnanimous and you'll do very well.
Try joining LinkedIn and connecting with former supervisors and colleagues as well as various groups. For those that know you ask them for advice as they will know of skills etc. you have but take for granted. Also Practice interviews. there are groups like the 5:00 club and others that can assist and help you polish your techniques. The other reason you want contacts on LinkedIn.com is that if a job opening comes up and you have a contact at the firm they can help push your resume to a hiring manager. ALL COMPANY job websites have software to eliminate resumes, so you will need to tailor the resume to the job by using key words that they have in the job description. You will find that the hardest job you will EVER have is finding a Job. Take it from me as I have worked at 10 firms in my career in Finance. Today's young can expect to work at 8 different firms. Also try Reuters.com to find out what firms are in the news.
there are resources to help you both on line and through recruiters
Tailor your questions toward how the business or institution will benefit from your joining.
Keep "I" out of your answers Remember they are looking for someone to help theem fill a position they need .
I have been in your position as a candidate and I have also interviewed candidates who I was sure were ready to fall out after only a few questions. I recommend that you do a few things.
First, DO NOT over prepare. This can put unknowing pressure on your sub conscience to remember things that are not necessary for a preliminary interview.
2nd, be confident in what YOU KNOW. You are well trained, experienced, field-tested and dependable. Not many candidates before or after you will have that going for them.
3rd, write down the questions you can remember that gave you trouble and role play with someone. This is not for the purpose of memorizing answers, just feeling confident in how you structure an answer.
Also remember, the more you interview, the better you will become at performing. It won't make it less unpleasant but you will head in with confidence.
All the best to you!
I've heard great things about ShortList for resume practice and feedback, though I haven't used them personally.
They offer their $350 package at NO CHARGE to transitioning military and veterans. Check them out here and see if it's for you: https://closethelist.com/home/.
Most people already stated the obvious advice, but if you want it in a more comprehensive format, read Adam Kasrpiak's LI article here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/interview-tips-tricks-adam-karpiak/. He has an entertaining writing style.
Best of luck to you!
Wow! Great feedback, apologies if I overlap here, I was so inspired I had to write before reading all of the posts…
Embrace this process! It’s a mind-shift change. This is YOUR opportunity to interview them! Explore if this is the right fit for YOU, for your career, and potential growth?
Prior to the interview ask for all the names you will be meeting, then research ALL of them. Find something you could connect with each of them, even if volunteer groups, geography, schools, organizations, etc. Navigate through LinkedIn, it may tell you that you have mutual connections, books, articles, groups, etc. This is an excellent platform to explore the company, their people, and environment, look up various team members; read about their culture, this will give you a REALLY good feel about the company from its people.
The interview is all about “making a connection”, do just that. Once they requested the interview, you’re already “in”, now is your chance to demonstrate how well you will fit in with their people, systems, processes, their culture, etc. Smile, ease up, have fun with it, be natural, be yourself, ask them about the day-to-day, the culture, job growth, interview them- ask the interviewer about their career growth, what they like about the company, (they love talking about themselves).
You’ll want to make sure you convey how you will make a valuable “contribution”. Who knows this interview may result in a completely different job, which may be an even better fit for you, it’s about getting the face-to-face, to get your foot in the door.
Just be YOU!
Enjoy the process in getting to know “them”. Understand the difference?
You can do this!
At end of the interview…. Ask “Do you have any concerns?” Yes, ask this! If they do have any concerns you will then have an opportunity to address it at that moment vs. walking away and leaving doubt on their side.
Then in closing say something like this… “Wow! This is a good fit; (even if it’s not, again, it may open another door), I know I would make a valuable contribution to this team”.
Hope this helps as well as all the others with terrific feedback on this subject.
Go get ‘em! You’ve got this!
You said that you were 0 for 3 in interviews. Don't look at that as a bad thing. You've had 3 interviews since you retired when most people would be lucky to have one. I'm sure you're taking notes as to what the tough questions are and then from there it's just a matter of practicing. I know it may sound silly but one thing I would do is video record myself answering a variety of interview questions and then I would critique myself and occasionally have colleagues critique as well. I learned this from an executive search firm that I hired. Also, don't underestimate the value of hiring professional help. I don't think it's fair that I promote the firm that I use but if you send me a message, I'll forward you the firm I use who specialize in placing military veterans into executive positions.
Chief, thank you for your service. I conducted interviews for many years and first prior to the interview, I recommend that you do some online research into the company that you are interested in to find out a little about the company, their goals, objectives and see if you can determine how your skills would mesh with the company to help them obtain their goals. Review carefully the job posting to look for keys to what the interviewers are looking for. For example, some of our offerings listed we were looking for persons to start as wage employees but progress to supervision. In this case emphasizing you leadership and ability to get things done safely though your people would be important traits to emphasis in your answers. The more you prepare, the better off you will feel and the more relaxed you will be. Keep in mind that employees are a big investment to a company, in my case as a manager I was spending four days a week for up to ten weeks away from my job (which still had to be done) interviewing the future investments (the employees of the future). That being the case, your answers to the interview questions have to fit very closely with the needs of the company so do a lot of preparation up front. A lot of colleges do "mock interviews" via some of their placement services and there are other places that do similar. These might also be very helpful to prep you for the interviews. Locally here in NYC I do that at a local college. Lastly don't get discouraged. When I was interviewing we would often go through more than 5000 applicants for 30 jobs. Keep plugging and good luck.
Hello Derrick - Thank you so much for your service. Interviews are always difficult. When preparing for an interview I recommend always having an understanding of the company, a vision for the role and clear understanding of the strengths along with challenges that you will have for that role. Important to be concise but always try to utilize an example to help with your response to a question.
Top Tips For Your Interview
You’ve landed the interview — great job! Whether you are diving into the job hunt for the first time or returning to the drawing board after years as a developer, tech interviews can still seem incredibly daunting. You have put in all of the hard work, but the uncertainty of the process can make even seasoned professionals nervous. But with the right preparation and approach, you can spend less time worrying and more time impressing. Check out the following tips to help your skills shine.
Before The Interview
Do Your Research
A little bit of research can go a long way when it comes to prepping for your interview. Look up the company on Glassdoor, and if you know the name of your interviewer, research them on LinkedIn ahead of time. Knowing whether your interviewer is an HR manager, a project lead, or a senior developer will help you set better expectations for what kinds of questions will be asked. Researching the types of questions that may come up can go a long way as well. Check out GeekInterview to explore a database of interview questions categorized by specific roles.
Practice Makes Perfect
. Practicing timed and uncertain questions can help you nail this segment on interview day. Check out LeetCode to explore a bank of practice coding interview questions and HackerRank to complete a range of timed challenges. Consider getting up in front of a whiteboard and having a friend ask you some questions, as you may be asked to do some live coding during the interview. Practicing all scenarios will help you get comfortable with whatever might be thrown your way.
Polish Your Portfolio
Having a great portfolio of projects that demonstrate your skills will go a long way in convincing an employer that you know your stuff. Projects should demonstrate marketable skills and highlight your abilities in the languages required in the position you are interviewing for. Additionally, projects should demonstrate complexity, including 3-5 distinct features. These can include things like integrating with an API, interacting with a database, or having a login or authentication component. Consider using a framework such as Angular or React for front-end sites and projects. The number of projects you have is not nearly as important as the complexity and professionalism of any given project. Having your portfolio organized and easily accessible will help make a great impression with your interviewer.
During The Interview
Take A Pause
When the interviewer asks a question, whether technical or not, take a moment to think and consider your answer before beginning a response. Particularly for tricky technical problems, taking a pause shows depth of thought. If you feel the need to answer immediately, throw out a filler phrase like “That’s a great question” or repeating the question to give yourself time to think.
Break It Down
When it comes to technical questions, employers often are as interested in your thought process as they are in your final answer. Don’t assume any knowledge (unless your interviewer says to) and articulate every step of your thought process. This will help make your answer clear and keep you on track.
Confidence Is Key
Even if you are uncertain in an answer, put your best foot forward when solving a problem. Avoid self-deprecating humor…giving yourself the benefit of the doubt will make your interviewer more likely to do that same.
This advice applies both during and after the interview. If you are unsure about a question, ask clarifying questions to ensure you are zoning in on the right things. Additionally, ask questions of your interviewer after the interview to highlight your depth of knowledge and interest in the company and the opportunity. For technical roles, showing an interest and knowledge in technical team dynamics will help contribute to your credibility. Consider asking questions about scrum, agile, team dynamics, and current/future projects to demonstrate your willingness to be a team player.
After The Interview
Be sure to send a thank-you note to your interviewer(s) after the interview. Generally, you can send this note via email, but make sure to tailor it specifically to topics from the interview, including ideas you may have for improving the company’s site, or further examples of work you highlighted in the interview.
No matter the outcome, every interview is a learning opportunity. If you find certain questions tripping you up, take note, look-up answers after the interview, and keep practicing similar problems to be better prepared for you next opportunity!
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4. Create a login and more detailed profile if it is your first visit to the site. Complete the voluntary self-identification form
How have things been going for you now that we're into November? Any new interviews? I'm not sure I can add a whole lot more than all the great advice you've received, but thought I'd add my two cents.
First, your original post shows a lot of self-awareness and vulnerability. You received a tremendous response because we all can relate when facing the possibility of rejection. Intervieweing is as frightening as public speaking for most people. I liked that about you a lot.
Second, don't forget that the Hiring Manager (HM) or any other interviewer really wants to like you as an individual and is hoping you have the knowledge, skills required to get the right things done, as well as the passion to do the work. There is a big difference between screening in versus screening out. If the HM is just checking boxes and screening out... will you be happy working for someone like that?
Research the company thoroughly and every person you're going to meet before the interview. If someone writes a blog, has written a book or an article, read it and find a way to ask a question or two about the content. Ask about the HM's goals to learn and articulate how you can help.
I've been listening to interview feedback for over 23 years. When a person is qualified and the soft skills come together... that's a hire! Here are some of the most common statements I hear that are less about how qualified a candidate is and more about how the candidate fits with other people:
1. Good skills but I just couldn't relate to him, he didn't ask any questions and I didn't get to see who he really is. I don't know what inspires him... so can he be a leader that people will follow if they can't connect to him?
2. I couldn't get a word in edgewise. She did all the talking and never showed any curiosity around the problems I need to solve. Not sure I can trust her to be collaborative. She wants to "tell" versus "understand".
3. His communication style won't work in our environment. He has great ideas, I think some of the things he accomplished were truly innovative but he really bragged about being the best engineer in his last company and came across as arrogant.
4. I think his prior experience is a strong plus. Also I found him extremely easy to discuss complex situations with, we had a nice back and forth dialogue, a good exchange of ideas. He appears to have both the ability to go deep into tactical solutioning while not loosing sight of the overall strategy, and has an effective communication style.
5. I liked her attitude. She has a style which leans toward open dialogue and will bring the right levels of transparency with our clients.
6. Besides having the right professional credentials, I liked her responses to how she leads, resolves conflict, her thoughts on our new operating model, and how she motivates her teams.
I saw a few previous comments that I would disagree with. If you normally drink coffee, don't skip it, enjoy it as you normally would. If you don't normally write shorthand notes on a notepad, don't do that, just have a conversation without the distraction of taking notes. And the advice to never ever discuss a mistake is not always the best approach when asked about a possible weakness. We all make mistakes, and when you are able to show resiliency and learning agility as a result of a mistake, it can make you apprear human, and capable of applying learning to solve future problems. The person who presents themself as having it all handled is more suspicious and can leave the interviewer thinking you may not be self-aware. And when people do not show any vulnerability or humaness, they can be percieved as 'distant'.
One comment suggested the 4-7-8 breathing technique and I highly recommend that as a way to calm your nerves. Just breath and let your energy flow rather than remain tense or nervous.
Rejection is painful and every candidate aside from the person who gets the job is going to experience it, so don't take it personally. You're doing the right thing by seeking support and making adjustments in your approach. Remember, the person sitting on the other side of the table has a need they genuinely hope you can fill... that's why you are there. Don't let stage fright sit in the driver's seat... you got this!
A couple things that have worked well for me in the past:
1) Use questions to show how much homework you have done in preparation for the interview and your baseline knowledge. As an example "When I've worked in industry A and B, I've observed C. My impression is that this industry does D, is that true? If yes, how does it effect your business?"
2) I do my best to think of the position in question (that you are applying for) from the hiring manager's perspective vs. my position as an employee, and ask questions along those lines. As an example "You mentioned that this dept is likely to double in size in the next year, how do you envision this role changing over that time period? Are there any issues that you have flagged that I (if hired in this role) could do to ease that transition?"
I think it is always best to have a solid resume outlining your accomplishments (consider hiring a pro to help) and to simply relax. A 4-7-8 breathing technique is the simplest way to calm nerves. In for 4, hold for 7 and then breathe out through your mouth for 8. Do it a few times and you will reset. The best interviews occur when you are calm and relaxed. Everything else will just fall into place.
Also -try to empathize with the interviewer -so you see the world from their perspective and understand that they too are trying to figure it all out. That will help you connect with them.
Try practicing by simply talking out loud some interview typical answers *while standing on a chair, it is like a mini stage and forces one to concentrate better and helps practice controlling anxiety which can "blank" a person sometimes, or talk about silly stuff!
Caffeine and sugar actually help a bit too sometimes to help with concentration ...that very important question and answer period of time that typically lasts 30 mins to an hour.
Be sure to mention any volunteer activity that could be related to the job role, we like that!
Nerves always play a part since interviews by their nature are a stressful event. However, if you were successful in your endeavors as a Member of the Services doubtless this is something else you can and WILL overcome. I consider myself to be very experienced professional (with 28 years experience as a TRIAL lawyer) but when I have to interview whether it's for a job opportunity, with a client or with a jury, I still get "butterflies".
Remember what professional actors say about "butterflies": they're a good sign because they indicate you're in the moment. SUGGESTION/ADVICE: Hands down the best book I ever read and I have read dozens about interviewing is called "201 Interview Questions". You can probably pick it up even used on Amazon. You can the book cover to cover in one sitting (probably in 2- 3 hours); or if you're in a rush, you can just go to the chapters/questions you struggle with. GET THE BOOK, YOU WILL THANK ME I PROMISE. I thank you for your service and wish you all the best.
If you follow all of the good advise you received, you will be significantly better prepared than the person interviewing you. Unless he is an HR person, most of his training will consist of being told what questions he is not allowed to ask you. You are being interviewed because your resume shows you are qualified for the job. The person interviewing you is almost certainly from your future chain of command. He will primarily be trying to determine if you are a person he wants to work with.
Convince him by being relaxed and friendly. If you can, learn about him in advance. Know what his job is and how you will interface with him. Look for personal cues in his office. Try asking him about his job and how he likes working for the company. Remember, we all like talking about ourselves and your interviewer will be no exception. If you leave feeling like you had a friendly conversation with a person you would like to work with, he will probably feel the same.
Be a story-teller. Formulate a (short) story that tells of your successes during your military career and be passionate about telling it!
Derrick let's deal with the facts you have presented. You are experiencing anxiety. What is happening is you are feeling the flight or fight response that is an automatic reaction and quite normal. Your adrenaline is kicking in. Try this right before you go into the interview. Quietly say the word me repeatedly to yourself for about 30 to 60 seconds. This produces a calming effect. In fact stop reading and try it right now. It should help immediately.
Since 99.9% of all interviewers are not trained, it is impossible to plan for the questions they are going to ask. However you still need to get your message across. Use this process to get control of the process. Decide on a main theme that you want to get across and the three major supporting points. This gives you a fall back position no matter who you are speaking with.
Let me give you a specific example. My granddaughter is applying for graduate school in physical therapy. She decided that patient focus and trust was a major point. This example applies to all business where you feel your client is important. Her focus is how can I build trust quickly and easily with a patient? Her supporting points are calling the patient by name which is what everyone wants to hear. Making sure she asks questions and listens intently to what the patient says. She knows from her clinical experience in working with hundreds of patients and therapists that how fast a patient recovers is 75% what they think of the solution- it is based on what a patient believes. Giving the patient 100% focus and attention also builds the trusting relationship. Following up to see how the patient is doing is another supporting point.
Using this technique allows her to connect with the interviewer and for the interviewer to conclude that this is a person who understands the business and will succeed.
Practice this technique beforehand and get comfortable with your major points. I am sure it will raise the quality of your interview and allow people to see the real you versus a person who seems to be fumbling. Good luck.
Hi, Derrick. I'll be brief.
Having to undergo tens of interviews to get a decent job is not unusual. Use each interview as a practice session for the next one; in this way, the interviews won't be daunting, and a screw-up won't be life-threateningly tragic. Once interviews become commonplace in your experience, you will take them in stride and should succeed comfortably.
As many have provided you excellent advise I wanted to address the one point you stated about fumbling your answers and how you sounded. A technique that has worked wonders for people I have coached in the past is to ask a friend to do a mock interview with you. Use a smart phone or any recording device and record the entire mock interview. Listen to your self, watch your body language. Review and adjust. We all have a certain style and habits and do not realize that we even make that funny gesture or face or use stall words especially when we are nervous. Practice and review, practice and review. You will get more and more comfortable and then go out and nail that job you have been waiting for.
I use the STAR method and practice a lot. Situation, Task, Action, Result. I also list out 3 strengths and 3 stories for each strength prior to the interview. That way I have examples at the ready when they ask. Finally, you can google interview questions and rehearse or draft answers to get more comfortable with them. So here's an example of STAR. The situation was that the Arts and Crafts category had been losing money for 3 years. My task was to stop the loss and determine how to turn the category around. The action I took was to analyze the product offering and repackage products so that they could be sold at higher margins. This resulted in increased sales, increased margin, and increased space. Over the course of 3 years the category went from 2 aisles to 6 aisles.
Has anyone offered to do a mock interview with you? If not, I'd be more than happy to do a practice phone interview with you.
There are a number of common interview questions that can be found on the internet. Compile about 20 of them.
Have a partner pose 4-5 of those questions to you. Video record on a camera or iPod. Play the recording back and observe yourself. Notice any nervous tics, eyes wandering, stutterings, uh'ms and ah's, any number of distracting mannerisms. Note how you answer each question. There are several good suggestions offered by others on how best to answer certain questions. Have your partner comment on things you did well, and areas where you can improve. Then you do the same.
Then ask the same questions again, with the video recording. Play the recording back. Have your partner note what you did well, and areas of improvement. Then your turn.
Repeat the process for the next 4-5 questions, until all 20 questions are covered.
It will take about 2 hours to complete this process for 20 questions. You will likely note during the process where your answers are too long. Practice being more concise.
You will feel more confident about "passing" an interview after this session. Recommend you do another practice after a day or so for good measure.
Note this process is just like your military training. Practice and practice until it is second nature to you.
Thank you for your service.
Make sure you spend time on the interviewer's website. Understand what they do and get up to speed on what is in the news specifically wither them and others in their industry.
You may want to think about what type of work in which you really interested. Research different fields/positions and be as specific as possible; don't try to make is too general.
I agree with the others that once you've narrowed that down, research companies and utilize the many online sites. When you do interview, keep in mind that the interviewers are interested in your specific experiences and will ask questions to understand these. This is called behavioral interviewing. This gives you a chance to confidently answer questions. For instance, if you get a question/statement like "tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult employee". Then be prepared to talk about exactly what and how you did this. Also try to come up with as many possible behavioral questions you can think of; they can be people challenges, technical or other. Example, "tell me when you had to make an unpopular decision; how did you communicate it". Always talk in specifics and about what behaviors you used. Don't use words like "I am a team player"-this may be true, but you need to explain an example that illustrates this. Once you look at questions from this perspective, you will start to be more confident with you responses thus reducing some of your nervousness.
If you want to discuss further, just let me know. Good luck Derrick
Many people have given you great advice and if I re-iterate something that was already said I am sorry. I am an area director and conduct several interviews and here is the advice I give you.
1. Know the company you are interview.
1a. When did they start
2a. Who started it
3a. What is the culture of the company
2. Know the person you are interviewing
3. Interview yourself
3a. Try to anticipate the questions that they may ask
3a. Practice interviewing
4. An interview is far more easier when you are prepared for the questions they may ask
Best of luck,
Derrick, Thank you for your service. From the interviewee perspective - After having served for so many years, interviewing for you is a new experience that takes a few tries before you find the right position. From the HR perspective, as a person who has conducted many interviews, I'll share this - if you have been short-listed and are being interviewed, the person interviewing you probably wants you to nail the interview as badly as you do. Being able to come to interview showing that you have done your research about the company and the position you are being considered for are two of the most important aspects. Project positivity, self-confidence, use a firm handshake, and never, ever say anything negative about any of your previous supervisors. Good Luck to you!
You have received a lot of great advise. I would add, not only try to learn a lot about the organization. Try to learn something about the person who you will be meeting. Find him or her on linked in. Find out what is important to them professionally. If possible find out their hobbies. You are trying to show your professional skills but also trying to make a personal connection. Look around their office when you get there. If they have a picture of their spouse and kids, made a comment. If they have something showing thier hobbies, fishing, sports etc. make a comment, but make it real. If you know someone in the company ask them about the person doing the hiring. If you don't know anyone in the companny try to connect with someone on LinkedIn.
Hi! I realize it’s been months since your initial post, but I wanted to add my thoughts. Nerves are normal during interviews and if you didn’t have them then most likely there’s not much desire or interest in the job.
I sense that your thought process may not aligned to the verbiage noted in the job description. In other words, have you taken the time to translate your military experience from military to civilian?
In addition to what I shared, there may be other factors that need to be consider in order to assess if they’re creating barriers with articulating who you are as a professional today and why you are a great fit. Again, these are just my thoughts.
Keep us posted how things are going for you!
You have a lot to offer companies, so you need to have confidence.
The same questions tend to come up in each interview, so I would develop a response
and be ready to answer when they come up. Also, as others mentioned, do some research on the companies you are interviewing. Feel free to ask them some questions.
Best of luck.
You have a lot to offer companies, so you need to have confidence.
The same questions tend to come up in each interview, so I would develop a response
and be ready to answer when they come up. Also, as others mentioned, do some research on the companies you are interviewing. Feel free to ask them some questions.
Best of luck.
Practice answers by having someone ask typical interview questions like, 'why don't you tell me something about yourself' and get used to responding.
In your mind, consider the interview a game of wits and smile each time you are able to score. Try to enjoy the experience.
Relax---it's not rocket science!
This is totally understandable and yes, interviews are very stressful.
Practice is really the key to becoming more fluid in your answers.
I used to teach selling skills and one of the technics that I used quite a bit was having the class complete "crossfire" exercises. Basically with half the class being "customers" and half being "salespeople". I would start a stopwatch and have the sales person sell the customer over a five minute period and afterward, allow the customer critique for two minutes. This would go for 3 rounds and then the role would switch and do it again.
We would do this throughout the semester, with the students having practiced 30-50 times.
My whole point is "practice makes permanent", just like in the military, which I'm sure you are very good at what you did!
Participate in presentation skills training if you can, that will also help.
I know our company would love to have a 24 year veteran like you! You should have plenty of experiences that you can talk about!
Legal pad, pen, and a watch with a second hand is how I control my interview nerves. Tactile control by writing the Main points of the question - placing a check when I've answered and the second hand of my watch to visually measure out my speech cadence. Interviews cause me to speak in a rushed manner thereby I pass over important parts of questions. Most interviews have standardized questions, free on the internet and I rehearse my responses. Using the watch I can time myself, control my breathing and cadence. You know your stuff, but getting the relaxed and confidence image across takes practice. Casually look at your watch and notes while speaking. If you have missed part of a question casually mention, "On question 4 I didn't emphasize my experience in ____ which ties into the last part of your question." Best of luck
I forgot to ask for your email address. Best thing is go on to my website and email me. I am a career coach and don't charge for military men and woman. It's my way to say thank you for your service.
I'm going to email you my interview handouts. Call me after you have read them and we'll go over the answers.
Congrats on having 3 interviews, thats a huge accomplishment. I think you've done a great job of introspectively analyzing yourself and the situation. I would focus on the person aspect of your problem, ie thinking too far into the question, mentally focus on mentally relaxing and practice answering interview questions with those things in mind.
Derrick: Take a minute and check out our new website at www.huttongrouphc.com. Under Candidate Resources is a lot of easy to read information on interviewing as well as how to write a resume that works. I have been teaching nationally on these subjects for 30 + years to professional groups. There is a specific article on how to 'ace a phone interview' as well as 'tips on interviewing'. They should help, however, I have assisted a lot of people to tackle their interviewing demon and would be happy to talk to you. I am best reached from 11AM to 9PM EDT. My son's a vet. Joan Hutton 772-770-1787.
First, thank your for your service. I am grateful.
Prepare for the interviews by practicing answers to the likely questions so you can respond more easily - write down what you think may be asked and come up with a good answer so you have it in your pocket. Also, answer questions with a framework in mind:
1. what is the skill/situation/task that I'm being asked about, 2. what action/experience did I take/do, 3. what was the result/success in taking the action/using skill/experience. Pause before responding to get control, use the moment to relax, and then Rock it! Best of luck,
if you haven't done it already, turn the questions back to the interviewer. Here's how. Research the company in advance, make a list of questions to ask. Each company will be different, but your questions must relate to how much employing you can improve their bottom line. For example, let's say that Fortune 500 company has gained market share and you want to impress the interviewer with your knowledge. Your question might be, "To what do you attribute your market share gain in 2016?" Going further, you could add: "Is it the improvement of the XYZ product or loss of competition?" A simple question like that indicates both knowledge and usefulness. Just the fact that you researched a question like that is impressive. Preparing isn't always about nerves. I'm thinking as a Petty Officer you faced a lot worse situations than sitting across the desk from a civilian who has no idea what it means to have the safety of an entire country at risk. Good luck!
Think I may have responded a month or so ago.
Whatever I may have said then, two quick thoughts.
Have you tried practice - interviewing with a friend or sig-other?
It may also help to convince yourself that if : " I don't get THIS job, it's not terminal" 'casue it's true1!!
That may help relax you a bit.
Good morning. You've already received good guidance from a diversity of perspectives, I will share 3 items from my experience. I've been working in the Talent Acquisition/ Management field for 25 years. I've interviewed individuals for every level of the company and have seen numerous interview styles and models. My suggestions would be:
1) Be prepared to tell your story. This includes:
- how you have come across the opportunities you've chosen to engage in thus far in your career (referral, followed in the footsteps of someone you admire, needed a change and networked an opportunity, etc . . .)
- a brief synopsis of each job opportunity,
- a short list of examples from each that align to your accomplishments and/or key growth opportunities that have influenced your career,
- what drew you from one opportunity to the next.
2) Practice your story, listen to the words you choose, your tone, your examples - assess or have someone you trust listen assess your story and examples to provide you feedback on:
- is it logical,
- is it concise and well-constructed,
- are your examples well-defined and shared in a way that is relatable by others,
- what characteristics, traits does it highlight about you - are those the capabilities you want to showcase for employers?
- does it highlight you and your abilities? (What I mean by this is so many times in interviews the interviewee talks about circumstances around them or the work of others vs. what they did, how they contributed and what they accomplished - which as an interviewer is what I am interested in.)
3) Lastly, be positive. There are so many individuals who I interview that are negative, emotional, and/or spend time talking about how life has not treated them fairly. While as a human being, I am empathetic - as an interviewer, I am looking for someone who is positively motivated and can bring their talents, interests and capabilities to my company.
learn as much as you can about the company you want to interview.
Also, make sure your resume is up to date and contains your accomplishments.
I would take my resume by the company rather than email or mail.
Hope this helps.
Hi Derrick! I posted this previously -- haven't heard from you (?).
I coach Financial Advisors around the US by phone to help them grow their clientele. In other words, I help them learn to sell themselves. And getting a job offer is a sales job. (Hope that doesn't make you cringe!)
I have a document with "Job Interview Questions." Forward your resume to me and we can talk by phone this coming week about how you can "close the deal."
Jim "Da Coach" Rohrbach
Relax... exercise before you, take a walk, talk with friends and family and let people reassure you ahead of time. If you are spiritual, pray or meditate. Before you walk in know deeply that it's. It life or death it will be what will be. Do your best to slow the conversation. Repeat the question, pause before you speak, if you need to think about it, tell them. Make sure the areas you have the greatest competence and confidence is the primary topic. When asked a question, pull it through your experience so that it resonates and answer in short succinct responses. Most of all think... interview responses should. It be instinctively, they should be thoughtful... these is a difference... good luck, god bless you and reach out anytime you want to talk... Philip
Derrick, all of the answers you received are useful. Here's a way to practice with people in your neighborhood who want you to succeed. Join Toastmasters. There's a group in Menifee–actually, I think there are two groups. Google "Toastmasters.org".
By joining you will learn how to overcome your nervousness by "practicing" in front of a group of people who are there to help you. A second benefit is that the members are all in business or hope to be soon. Networking among people who want to know you (and maybe hire you) is invaluable. Good luck!
Thank you all for the responses. I just returned to the States 72 hours ago and I am trying to get settle. Also, I will be putting the information you provide to test on Monday, as I have another phone interview with a Fortune 1000 company for an Operations Team Lead position. Wish me luck!
Thank you all for the suggestions. Those who offered to discuss the issue further, I will take you up on that offer once I return to the States in a couple of days.
All the information I have received has been very helpful. Thank you all.
Thank you all for your feed back. I am working on trying to keep my nervousness to a level 2; instead of 6. Secondly, I will do more research on the organization and the job description and practice answering questions, which should help lower the nervousness rating.
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