The key to nailing your next interview is playing pretend.
Not the imaginary friend style of “make believe” games, but role playing; putting yourself into a possible interview scenario with the help of another person acting as a stand-in interviewer.
This is professional pretend.
Many job hopefuls never engage in role playing scenarios before an interview, leaving them susceptible to surprises along the way. But by answering mock questions, recognizing your speaking tendencies and anticipating interview situations, you can turn your career dreams into a reality.
Here are just a few of the benefits that come with role playing prior to an interview:
Consistency and Variety in Storytelling
Your career path is a story. Just like all stories worth telling, your reciting of this journey should be clear and engaging to your audience. However, without thoughtful preparation, it can be easy to lose focus when answering questions, leading to unnecessary detours and unfortunate slip-ups.
Maybe you spend too long talking about a certain position, leaving less time to point out another impactful piece of your background. Maybe you completely forget to mention a key skill relevant to the position. Without proper practice, the path you’ve taken towards a career can appear confusing and incomplete to interviewers.
Start by simply reading your resume aloud in a conversational way. After a few tries, grab a stopwatch and time out how long it takes you to describe each section; the results may be surprising! Once you have a feel for the average length of each section, try finding a consistent, efficient time range that works for you to fit in everything you want to include.
There’s nothing more impactful to an interviewer than confidence. Unfortunately, even the most talented candidates can succumb to the nervous fear surrounding an interview; think of it as a fear of the unknown.
Thankfully, every interview is about a subject you know the most about: YOU!
You’re the expert here, so act like it. By practicing potential questions with a friend or family member, you will be able to clean up the minor presentational elements that can trip you up; non-verbal gestures, specific phrasing and even wardrobe concerns can be addressed and resolved well before the real deal. Consider recording video of your responses to better visualize your tendencies.
Most importantly, trust yourself – you know the content! With regular role playing, you’ll be able to present it with confidence.
Interviewers may ask you to role play at any point in an interview. This can be a simple showcase of a technical skill needed for the position, or a soft skill focused exercise that emphasizes proper decision making and attention to relationships. Without preparation, these types of exercises can easily catch you off guard. Factors such as energy, quick thinking ability and confidence are key to success here; practicing role playing scenarios leading up to your interview will ensure you’re poised and comfortable when it’s time to impress.
Pretend isn’t just for the sandbox anymore; take some time to build in role playing to your interview preparations! Have any insight into role playing? We’d love to hear your thoughts below!