Recent Grad: 5 Ways to Compete in Interviews

By Lea McLeod

     Interviews are a competition. Prepare as if you were an elite ahtlete competing on the world stage.
When you're in the job search, you're essentially competing for a medal. In your case that medal is a well crafted and wholly satisfying job offer. Which means that every interview is a chance to bring your best competitive self to the game.
     Coaches work hard to teach their protegé how to compete, and to bring out their best when they do. One model uses these five concepts to teach competitive concepts. Let's see how they apply to the interview.

1. Purposeful

     You've got to have a purpose in your job search, especially in the interview. When you don't have a purpose, and you aren't there to "get the job," it's abundantly evident to the interviewer. And interviewers want to hire people who want the job.
     Training tip: Ask yourself before each interview, "What is my purpose for this interview, and what is my plan to convey that in the conversation?"

2. Powerful

     Athletes need to be powerful to win. And that power needs to be focused in order to compete at the elite level. When you're interviewing, you want to be passionate, but not over the top. Focused, but not neurotic. Follow-up, but not stalk. In essence you are harnessing all the powerful qualities about you, and presenting them in a focused, persuasive and engaging way.
     Training tip: Record yourself answering, and asking, interview questions. Does your passion, commitment and desire come through? Are you sharing the power of your message in the way you come across?

3. Planned

     All competitors have a strategy to guide their actions and decisions in a contest. Having a clear interview plan is part of your competitive equipment. In an interview, this means preparing like a pro, knowing the players, the organization, the mission, their goals. And knowing them BETTER than your competition does. If you don't have a strategy, and don't prepare ahead of time, it will be astoundingly obvious to your interviewer.
     Training tip: Research, research, research. Find information on the organization's mission, goals, needs. Look at the latest financials, customer wins, or headlines. Prepare comments that bring these points into your conversation. Prepare five good questions to ask that will demonstrate your research and take your interviewer's breath away.

4. Precise

     The more you know about your target organization, the more precise you'll be in delivering the performance that inspires them to hire you. Precision means you prepare responses, work material, and evidence that support your candidacy. And the organization knows you are right on target because you are speaking clearly and articulately to their needs.
     Training tip: Do your research (see above). Prepare a 30-60-90 day plan that addresses what you'll do to meet your target employers needs. Bring evidence of work you've done that supports your capabilities. Bring insight or a potential solution to an issue you found in your research.

5. Persistent

     A true competitor knows competition is a journey of sustained preparation and mental fortitude. The job search is a long haul process, and you'll need endurance and persistence to compete.
     Training tip: Some interviews will go better than others. Always ask for feedback. Take time to reflect after an interview; what went well, what will you improve next time. Keep track of your performance and incorporate your learning each time.

     Are you competing at an elite level in your job interviews?
What will you do to raise your game?
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