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Getting the job you want, starts with the interview

Interviewing is stressful for most people unless you’re that unicorn that’s comfortable with being questioned by a stranger who’s looking for a reason to not hire you.   Seriously, interviewing is a part of life that we all have to manage through at one point of time or another.   I sometimes wish for an ideal world when you can be hired simply by anonymously completing a questionnaire that effectively showcases your skills, working style and personality.  In this ideal world, judgment, biases, interviewee omissions and mistakes don’t exist.  (I can’t even count the number of times that I beat myself up after an interview either for leaving out something important or saying too much.)  Unfortunately, we’re not there yet.  Instead, we have to slay the interview so that we can get the job. 

When preparing for an interview I group my efforts into 3 buckets:  Mind, Body & Spirit.

  • Mind is about knowledge and preparation

    • Research the company

    • Know the job description

    • Know your successes and how they relate to the job requirements

    • Go on YouTube and type in Top interview questions in the search.  You’ll see a long list of videos to help you prepare.  

  • Body is all about how you look and your Body language.  These might sound like no-brainers but you’d be surprised at how much they matter.

    • Always be professional.  Dress conservatively unless told otherwise.  That means slacks or skirt and a top or a dress.  If you’re in banking or finance, wear a suit. Nothing too tight or too loose.  If you must wear jewelry, keep it simple and understated.  For the interview skip anything that might end up being a distraction, even if it is one of your favorites.  For example, I LOVE big hoop earrings.  But, I know that they can be distracting.  So, I leave them home when I’m interviewing.  Remember, you want them to focus on what you’re saying, not what you’re wearing.  

    • Be mindful of your Body Language during the interview:

      • Smile

      • Always give a firm handshake

      • Sit up straight and avoid excessive hand gestures.  Again, you want to avoid distractions.  

      • Keep direct eye contact 

      • Show your understanding by being an active listener

  • Finally, Spirit.  This is about getting your energy right.  You want to be positive and optimistic.  Whatever you need to do to accomplish that do it.  I’m a woman of faith so prayer helps me.  Others use meditation, yoga, deep breathing or listen to music.  You know what’s best for you.

We also consulted an HR expert, Audrey Tomlinson, for help navigating the interviewing process.  In addition to supporting the preparation involved with Mind, Body and Spirit, she said that we should:  1) arrive to the interview 5-10 minutes early, 2) visit the company’s website beforehand and, 3) prepare for a phone interview the same way that we would an in-person interview.  She also warned that we should NEVER be late and NEVER speak badly about a former boss and/or company. 

As Bugs Bunny used to say “That’s All Folks!”  Hopefully, using the tips that I’ve shared will help you better prepare for your next interview.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and other tips below.

Thank you!

Dame Arnisha



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