Have an Answer?
Interviewing can be stressful and people often get really nervous. You just need to be confident in yourself and remember if the company didn't see something they liked in your resume then they wouldn't have asked you to come in for an in person interview. So congratulations you passes round one! Sitting face to face with someone in an interview can be scary and sometimes you can forget the words you had rehearsed. my best advice would be to not rehearse your answers, you should be answering them honestly and from personal experience so when practicing interviews just a few bullet points outlining how you would answer the question is best. Also its important in an interview not to use filler words when you get caught up such as "like" or "umm". Instead when you feel like you are starting to get off track just pause and collect your thoughts for a second and then pick back up.
I have this very same problem! No matter how much I prepare, I often have so many examples in my head that I end up rambling.
What I think both you and I need more is practice practice practice.
1st step--Google typical interview questions and choose stories that relate your experiences and show how your qualifications match up with the question. Stick with those stories as your "go to" and also think about other ways those same stories apply in other situations or differently worded questions.
Remember to try to use the STAR method---Situation, Task, Action, Result as a framework to formulate your practiced questions.
Next, practice with others and do as many mock interviews as you can. Your local job center should have mock interviews available. This way you are talking to real live hiring managers and can get your practice in. Also, try to go to one company job fairs. Even if your aren't interested in the job, you can get practice interviewing.
Having said all of that, remember to be flexible when using a story. If you recite memorized speeches, you will sound robotic and come of as disingenuous.
Not to worry, this happens often.
First, take a deep breathe and think of it as you are about to have a conversation with someone about who you are.
Trying to remember you resume verbatim is very exhausting, however telling your story as a story teller would can be easier. You know where you have been professionally, and you know what experiences you have gained along the way. For example, think of show and tell in grammar school, it was your experience and no one can tell it better than you.
Do not try to use big words or unusual words outside of your vocabulary, it is not natural and the interviewer will see that it is not your usual language.
Do not over think what is being asked of you. Answer the specific question by listening and giving yourself time to respond accordingly.
Hopes this helps some, please let me know if you need additional assistance.
Whatever job you are applying for, print and review the job posting itself to begin your preparation. Most times the posting will show a brief description or summary of the job being posted. Then, you will probably see a detailed list of the job responsibilities along with the key requirements necessary to apply for the job.
Review the posting thoroughly! A good interviewer will pull questions based on the responsibilities and requirements of the job - after all, they want to make sure you are a good fit based on the needs they've presented.
Start with the requirements and review each of them and begin thinking of examples of how you fulfill that requirement. Do the same thing where you can for the responsibilities.
A job requirement for a Call Center Representative may say, "Strong phone and verbal communication skills along with active listening."
During your preparation, you should think about and write down any examples where you've demonstrated strong phone/verbal communication skills while actively listening. So, you should be thinking of times where you've had to be listening to someone else speaking and still remain professional, courteous, and attentive to their needs. Where possible, think of actual and specific examples that you can present during the interview if asked.
So, your notes under this requirement may read something like:
(Start general and then get specific)
1. In my time working for XX company I helped resolve issues for dissatisfied customers who called in unhappy with service at the ABC Restaurant.
2. Many times they would be screaming and yelling, but I would remain professional and tell them that I was there to help them and offered solutions to address their issue.
3. While speaking with the dissatisfied customer, I input the required customer's details along with their issues/concerns into the computer database and identified solutions to offer.
4. Specifically, I remember when a customer called who was furious because he had spent his last bit of savings to buy our product and then when it arrived it was broken. I immediately apologies to the customer and told him I would make this right for him immediately. I reviewed our system and policies and let him know I would be getting another item out to him via overnight mail that day with no additional cost to him. I apologized again and let him know Id be calling him again tomorrow to confirm he had received the new item with no issue. I called the customer and he was thrilled with the quick resolution to his issue.
You should do this exercise for every job requirement and for against the responsibilities. It's ok if don't have an answer for every single item, but considering this is a position you are applying for - hopefully you have some experience or example you can apply to help show that you are a relevant and qualified candidate for the job.
While this preparation isn't an exact science, it does help to pull examples and experiences to the forefront of your mind and help prepare you for those "Behavioral Event Interview (BEI) Questions."
Again, a good interviewer is going to ask questions based on the posting - they want to know that you can fulfill the duties of the job at hand. So, if the interviewer asks, "Tell me a time when you had to demonstrate active listening and phone/verbal communication skills to provide excellent customer service" you are better prepared to answer your questions.
Definitely apply what others below have said as well in this thread because your prep work doesn't end with what I've said. You should be researching what potential questions could come up and how to best format and present them (I am in total agreement with the S.T.A.R. method). Practice, practice, practice in the mirror and with others. Remember, smile, be confident, look the interviewer in the eye and ANSWER the question.
Yes, this prep takes some time - but it's worth it. The more you do it, the easier it will become and won't be so intense every time. I hope this helps! My best to you!
You should practice, practice, practice! It may seem silly, but role play with a friend or family member. Create mock interview situations with sample questions that you can practice answering on the spot. Reflect on your past interviews and instances when you sort of went "blank"; there may be a pattern. Are certain questions tripping you up? Feelings of anxiety and nervousness are quite normal in these situations; like in public speaking. The only way to get better at these things is to practice and get outside of your comfort zone. Eventually, it will come quite naturally because you will have experienced the circumstances before and be prepared to respond to the situation more confidently and competently. Good luck and do not give up.
Let me know what your area of specialization is and maybe I can help.
I would like to suggest you get more practice at interviewing. Reach out to friends and family and ask for volunteers to help you set up mock interviews. Treat the mock interviews just like real opportunities and prepare yourself just as you would for a real interview. Ask for specific feedback from your volunteers and put your ego aside when considering their feedback. With enough practice you will get comfortable with the process and going blank should be less of a problem.