Developing Your Career

Don’t Make the Same Mistake Twice: Evaluate Your Interview

By Greg Simpson on November 13, 2012

Job seekers put a lot of preparation into an interview, but how much critical analysis takes place afterwards? Following an interview, a candidate may be tempted to tear off his or her interview suit and collapse on the couch. But just as critics review movies and plays, an interview “performance” also requires a careful assessment. Unfortunately, candidates typically aren’t given a critique at the end of an interview.  It’s up to the individual to assess his or her own performance.

Follow these tips for conducting a post-interview self-evaluation.  Remember, the goal is to improve with every interview – and never make the same mistake twice.

  • Immediately following the interview, jot down what you learned about the company, job, expectations, interviewers and timeline for hiring. This information is crucial for a successful second interview and follow-up thank you notes.
  • Answer the following questions related to interview content:  When did I feel most comfortable?  What questions was I confident about answering?  What questions made me uncomfortable? Did I effectively link my skills, experience and accomplishments to what’s needed in the role?  What information would I want to highlight in a second interview? How could I have been better prepared? When did I ramble or get tongue tied? What could I have done differently?
  • Then review the social factors and logistics.  Did I arrive in the lobby 15 minutes early?  Did I take what was needed (paper, pen, resume copies, references, etc.)?  What obstacles did I run into that could have been avoided (poor directions to the facility, parking, street construction, etc.)? Would a pre-interview visit to the facility have pointed these out?  Did I smile often, display enthusiasm and energy, and offer a firm handshake?  Was my appearance professional?  Did I remember to turn off my cell phone?
  • Finally, manage your information. Organize notes, file the business cards you collected and read any brochures or documents you received during the interview. Create a list of questions for subsequent interviews. You can also initiate a dialogue with the interview team by posing a thoughtful post-interview question in your thank you note.

Following these simple steps will give you powerful insights that will prove to be very effective when preparing for your next interview.  What techniques have you used to help you improve your interviewing skills?

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