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Thursday, 10 December 2009

Visualise your interview for better preparation

Written by Miles Cooper
When you are preparing for your next interview, try an exercise in "visualisation". Now I am not talking about some strange metaphysical technique involving awkward body contortions or chanting in some unknown language.

The concept of visualisation has been proven valuable in a variety of applications where you try to create a picture in your mind of what might be lying ahead for you. The dictionary defines visualisation as the practice of "recalling or forming mental images or pictures". It is a form of anticipation where you try to imagine what the occasion will be like and how you can prepare yourself for certain occurrences during that time. It has proven very valuable for many as a form of equipping your mind for what lies ahead.

So you should try to visualise the interview. If you have the opportunity, go to the location where the interview will take place. Go inside if you can and have a look around. Depending on how large an organisation you have applied to, you may be given a quick tour of the premises, or you might even meet the person that will conduct the interview itself. So you not only create an icebreaker early, you also show a keen interest in working for them.

As you visualise, try to picture the best time for the interview to occur. This may not happen as your interview time may be appointed in advance and you will have no choice but to appear when called. But if they give you a choice of a good time for you to come in, then you can suggest the best time of day for you when you are at your best.

It is a common tactic with interview questions these days to ask you for examples of events or circumstances in your past when you had to do something or react in a certain way. It may be about a time when you were having problems with your colleagues and how you resolved the issue. Or it could be about a time when you were given added responsibility. They could ask how you dealt with your most difficult client at a past job. Having looked over the job duties from the job posting, try to visualise how they will ask you about duties you have performed in the past that are similar to, or skills learned, that can be transferred to this new position.

Rehearse your answers both with yourself and if possible, speak them to another person for their reaction. Remain positive as you try to anticipate what they might ask. Also be prepared if they might ask some form of discriminatory question, such as indirectly wondering about how old you might be, your ethnic background, or any family responsibilities or dependents. Decide in advance how you will respond to these types of questions. If you realise it is something they are not legally allowed to ask, be forthright (but not overly emotional or offended) and explain that you would care not to answer that question as stated. Or you could ask that the question be clarified so you know what they are looking for. It is your choice to divulge the information; just be aware that there are certain pieces of information you are not required to share as part of an interview. Our human rights are valuable and worth protecting.

As a strategy for boosting your self-esteem, prepare what is often referred to as your "Best Qualities" list. This list may vary from interview to interview depending upon what the job posting is calling for. Analyse the job requirements in detail and then make a list of your best abilities, character traits and accomplishments as they relate to those job requirements. These will help you visualise yourself in the job and you will be prepared to answer the question if posed to you "why should we hire you?"

What this list should contain is a summary of all the information you absolutely must tell the interviewer. Assure yourself that the interview cannot end until you have told the interviewer every reason on the list 'why they should hire you'. Being able to anticipate what might lie ahead is an excellent skill to develop that will render great rewards during upcoming interview opportunities.

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