How To Avoid Falling To Pieces In Job Interviews

You have invested a huge amount of time and effort in applying for a role.  You have managed to showcase what you to offer in writing.  No doubt you will be excited by the fact that you have been invited for interview.


Then doubt sets in.  While you might have done a great job in marketing yourself on paper, you know now that you have to sell you and what you have to offer.


You start to get anxious.  You worry that you won’t be able to pull it off in person.  Before you no it your mind is running riot.


Sound familiar?


While you can never remove doubt completely, there is an awful lot you can do to minimise its impact.  Fundamentally a lot of your doubt comes from fear that you will forget, make a hash of answering questions and show yourself up.


The biggest thing you can do is be well prepared.  Yet what I have found is that people don’t prepare at all, do a little preparation or prepare in the wrong way.


Let me give you an example.  I was recently speaking to someone who said they struggled in interviews.  I asked them how long they prepared for.  They told me 3 days.  I was encouraged by this.


I then went on to ask them how they spent those 3 days.  About 80% of the time was spent researching the company and 20% thinking about questions.  No time was spent writing out questions or answers.


Now think about it.  How much time is going to be spent in the interview finding out what you know about the business?  No more than 10% in my experience.


The recruiter wants to know you have done your homework.  At the same time they don’t want the complete history and every bit of detail about the company.


So what would be on my preparation checklist?


  1. Researching the company and sector – about 10% of time
  2. Reviewing the job description and person specification – about 10% of preparation time
  3. Identifying and writing out potential questions that could be asked based on 1 and 2 above – 30% of preparation time
  4. Writing out and speaking out loud answers to the potential questions – 40% of preparation time
  5. Coming up with reasons why they would not appoint you and coming up with your responses to overcome their objections – 10% of preparation time


Do this and not only will you be well prepared, but less nervous and ready to perform to your potential in the job interview.


Duncan Brodie helps accountants achieve more career success.  Learn more here.



About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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