How role playing can perfect your interview skills

Role playing your interview from beginning to end (with a friend “acting” the interviewer) can do more than just reveal a limp handshake.

A consistent message

Your entire “performance” should allay an interviewer’s greatest fear – that of choosing the wrong person. Does your appearance, attitude, and the way you reply give the overall impression that you are a safe hire? Your interviewer needs to be convinced of three things: that you can do the job; that you’d fit in (and be easy to manage); and that you want the position.

Better timing 

Practice keeping your answers to two or three minutes. Find the right balance between being thorough but not boring the interviewer. Over-long answers mark you as a poor communicator.

Increased confidence 

You’ll sound more relaxed and natural if you’ve gone through the most likely questions on the technical aspects of the job as well as the more general questions.

Typical of these are “Why do you want this job?” or “Tell me about yourself.” The underlying question is “Why should we hire you?” so make sure you can answer concisely and confidently. Include a brief summary of your background and how it’s prepared you for this role, an awareness of the challenges you’d face, and how the role fits in with your career goals (this being the last, rather than first part of your answer.) Demonstrate that you’ve done your research, and that you have the right abilities and background.

Greater credibility

Story-telling techniques allow you to give a better picture of how you work.

Use a CAR (challenge – action – result) format in competency-type questions, such as “Tell me about a time when you had to overcome a problem”. Prepare four or five stories showing you have the key skills for the role, as well as the usual communication, problem-solving and team-working skills.

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