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Unskilled and Unaware

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Having conducted thousands of job interviews, the truth is most people do not interview so well. Over answering, providing incomplete answers, mumbling, and simply not answering the interview question asked tops the list of job interview mistakes.

Unfortunately most job seekers don’t improve their job interview skills mainly because they are unaware of their opportunity to improve (good spin eh?). For those of you who have had the opportunity to hire in your work history, you will confirm this to be true. For those who have not hired, go and ask any professional recruiter, HR and hiring manager to comment on how frequently they see the above job interview mistakes. Ask how often they felt like pulling out a pillow during an applicants long-winded response. The honest ones will tell you that many people do not interview well. More importantly, many qualified people don’t interview well.

Perceived Skill vs. Demonstrated Skill

In 26, conducted an employment study, which surveyed more than 45 job seekers in Canada and the United States to gather opinions on job interviewing and resume writing. A large discrepancy was discovered between the respondents’ self-reported skill levels and their demonstrated skill levels.

Approximately 75% of respondents indicated that they have great interview skills.  Furthermore the 67% of respondents gave themselves a rating of 8 or higher (1=Poor and 1 = excellent).  However, when asked to identify the best response to an interview question, only 26% from a list of responses, only 28% actually identified the correct answer.

Respondents Could Not Identify The Answer

Approximately 72% of the respondents indicated that they can identify a standard behavioral or targeted selection interview question.  However when presented with a list of common interview questions, only 28% actually identified the correct one.

Respondents Could Not Even Identify the Question
So what can you do if you are one of the unskilled and unaware? How can you improve your job interviewing skills? Simple, get friend who is willing to role play a job interview with you and video tape it! Video is the most honest job interview coach you will ever have. See for yourself, how you interview. Look for missing answers, over-answering or rambling and the ever common “ums”, “ahs” and “like” (especially for the younger job seekers, I write for a wide audience ok).

Now if technology is a challenge, then do the above exercise without the video. Instead just ask your friend for feedback (while you will not need technology for this option, you will need an honest friend). An important note here is if possible try to get someone who has some experience in hiring, before seeking their advice and job interview coaching.

Lastly, if an honest friend is the challenge, then just practice in front of a mirror playing both the role of the interviewer and applicant. This is a simple and effective way to improve your job interview skills (but I must caution if someone catches you talking to yourself in front of a mirror, I cannot take responsibility for what they might think).