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March 17, 2014
Why You Should Always Practice Your Job Interview
“Practice makes perfect” is an expression frequently thrown at youth sports participants, but it is also applicable for adults preparing for a job interview. Although it may be impossible to predict exactly what the interviewer is going to ask, there are still ways to develop sample answers. This makes it easier to have insightful responses prepared that will please the interviewers while enhancing the overall appeal of the candidate. Understanding why it is so critical to practice for an interview can help inspire candidates to take this extra step. Here are just some of the reasons why practicing for an interview can make such a difference.

Improving Performance
It can be difficult to develop answers to questions on the spot, especially when those questions require recalling specific instances in a person’s career. Companies looking for new employees, however, seek candidates who are cheerful, well spoken, and mannerly. These traits can be difficult to demonstrate when a person is struggling to come up with satisfactory answers to questions for which they are unprepared. Practicing responses to typical interview questions helps the candidate to sound much smoother and more confident when they are in the interview. It also gives them time to develop key points that they want to communicate to the interviewer. For instance, people who seek to work in law enforcement will be asked what made them chose this profession. A prepared interviewee can provide a more nuanced answer than the typical “I want to serve my community.”

Helping to Display Qualities Interviewers are Looking For
When a person has rehearsed their answers to various typical interview questions, it is easier for them to display qualities that interviewers commonly seek in candidates. For example, even when organizations are searching for candidates in stressful fields like healthcare, such as a medical assistant or registered nurse, they want candidates the show energy and enthusiasm. A candidate who has not prepared for an interview is more likely spend time thinking of answers, stumbling over responses, and appearing more rigid. They will therefore be less likely to present these characteristics.  A prepared candidate will likely have a reply that reflects their qualities adequately.  Although candidates can tell the interviewer they are enthusiastic, actions tend to matter more than words.

Other qualities candidates will be expected to demonstrate require preparation. Many companies seek candidates who show a direct interest in their company and who seem to know something about the business and what is unique about it. Candidates need to take the time to learn about the business and how they fit perfectly in with that particular company so they can demonstrate this to the interviewer. Companies also want to find candidates that show good judgment, which is why questions about tough decisions or problem solving commonly appear. These questions also require careful consideration and are difficult to answer on the spot without forethought.

A Chance to Examine the Work Culture
Many professionals recommend that candidates not only try to convince the interviewer that they are a good fit for the company, but that the candidate should also be taking the time to determine if the company will be a good fit for them. This means using the time before the interview to observe the work culture. See how often people interact and how friendly they seem; if people stop and greet the receptionist or say hello to coworkers on their way to their cubicle. This is especially crucial if you will work in a setting where teamwork is essential, such as in a law firm or a hospital. It will be much harder to be able to relax and make these types of observations if the candidate is unprepared for the interview.

Mastering the art of the interview will serve any job candidate well. Knowing how to communicate personal assets and demonstrate how one will contribute to a particular work environment will go a long way in making a person seem appealing to those looking to fill a position. While it may seem tedious to rehearse answers for each interview, the potential benefits are enormous.

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Sandra Mills is a freelance journalist of many years, specializing in all aspects of job search and career advice. 
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