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CAREER STRATEGIES: Preparing for a job interview: Practise, practise, practise!


In the previous issue we talked about the application process. Many highly qualified people have received rejection letters in their professional journeys.

So if you receive a rejection letter from the organization to which you applied, don’t be discouraged. Send them a thank you letter and leave the door open as there may be other opportunities to apply to them.

Do not ever engage in negativity toward the organization or say anything counterproductive. If you receive a letter inviting you to an interview you will need to think and plan very carefully to prepare for the interview.

Research as much as you can about the organization – their mission, vision, values, strategic plan and business plan. Get to know a little about the CEO and the hiring manager, what they value, their priorities and where the organization is headed. But remember the advice from the previous column about not putting anyone in the organization into an awkward spot as you do your research.

Look at the posting carefully and prepare speaking points about every nugget listed and remember that the questions they will ask will most likely be based on what they posted. It is not advisable to prepare long, wordy handouts. If you must have handouts, restrict it to five or six slides, maximum. Each slide should contain only key words and phrases and not be crammed with large quantities of print.

Once you have researched and prepared your speaking points on cards or handouts then the next critical step is to practise, practise, practise! You may want to prepare an opening statement and it may also be a good idea to anticipate some questions based on what you have researched about the organization. Have a friend or mentor ask you the questions and practise responding in a clear, modulated, conversational speaking style.

If you have been told by a mentor that your accent may at times be difficult to understand then it may be worthwhile to practise that aspect more specifically. I believe accents are beautiful and so integral to our personal identities. However, there are certain jobs, like teaching for example, in which accents that cause verbal content to be lost become an issue for hiring teams. So at the practice-stage it is wise to take this into consideration.

• Dr Vicki Bismilla is a retired Superintendent of Schools and retired college Vice-President, Academic, and Chief Learning Officer.

Posted: Jan 31, 2017

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