Let’s face it. No matter what subject one considers, it’s tough to get good at most things in life without regular practice. This reality applies not only to playing golf, or cooking gourmet meals, but also to the arena of employment interviewing. In fact, we’ve found over the years that many job seekers significantly overestimate their ability to sell themselves to employers — until they find themselves in the hot seat for a killer job opportunity and learn the hard way that their confidence may have been been somewhat overinflated.
In reality, it isn’t hard to understand why many of today’s professionals fail to take the interview process as seriously as they should. For starters, quite a few people we meet with were last hired during the mid-to-late Nineties during a historically uncharacteristic “seller’s market” where competition for jobs was light and the interview bar was low, low, low. This is not the case today. In addition, professionals who have worked steadily for the past 5-10 years or more often fail to take into consideration that their last interview was for a more junior job, at a lower salary. Now that they have many years of additional experience, and will be targeting more senior positions, they will be facing a new level of competition in the interviewing process and will need to be prepared for a much stiffer challenge.
So what’s the best cure to interviewing overconfidence? There’s no question about it: the solution is focused practice. At Career Horizons, we recommend that all job seekers schedule an hour to go through a “mock interview” simulation with us where we can provide constructive feedback and evaluate the full spectrum of your presentation skills, ranging from your body language to your ability to build rapport and dialogue with the hiring manager across the table. We’ll run you through many of the classic questions you’re likely to face, such as the dreaded “tell me about yourself” and “what’s your greatest weakness” queries, as well as challenge you with some job- and industry-specific questions related to your particular field. When finished, we’ll share some immediate pointers and also provide you with written feedback about the parts of your interview that are most in need of improvement.
In the end, whether you go through a mock interviewing session with us or with a friend of yours who has done lots of hiring, you’ll find the exercise does wonders for your confidence and goes a long way to helping you make a positive “hire me” impression with potential employers!