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Still Sweating After the Interview?

The interview is over. Wouldn’t it be nice if the interviewer handed you a rating slip on your way out the door to let you know how you rated in the interview? But lacking such a luxury, you must learn to review your own performance so that you can learn from the experience.

Use this opportunity to be objective about the situation. Were you prepared and practiced, or were you just “winging” the answers? Could you have been more effective with additional practice? What will you do to prepare for your next interview?

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One of the most helpful things you can do post-interview is to let go of your self-recriminations by venting. After the interview, go to your car, or stop in at a coffee shop, and take pen to paper to write about what just happened. Just let your thoughts pour out. When you’ve finished, put the writing away, and let go! After a few hours, or a day, when you have had a chance to relax and digest the information, go back and revisit what you wrote. What can you learn from this experience? What will you do differently next time?

Rate Your Performance

  • On a scale ranging from one to ten (ten being high) how do you rate yourself?
  • My overall feeling of satisfaction with this interview. ________
  • Did I arrive on time? _______
  • How was my introduction — good greeting/handshake/posture? ______
  • Was I confident and professional at all times? _______
  • How did I speak – calm, clearly, not overly aggressive? __________
  • How was my nonverbal communication (body language)? _________
  • Did I handle the difficult questions with ease, or did I fumble aimlessly? _________
  • Did I have good rapport with the interviewer? __________
  • Did I talk about my strengths? ________
  • Did I talk about my weakness in a positive manner? ______

How did you do? Are you satisfied with your rating? If most of your rating numbers are in the 5 to 10 range, you’re probably doing all right. Look carefully at the lower ratings — what were the problems? You may want to consider practicing with someone so that you can obtain more objective feedback on your answers and style.

No matter how your ratings added up, remember that some of what goes on in an interview, and behind the scenes, is out of your control. Also, keep in mind that interviewing is a learned and practiced skill. If you didn’t do as well as you would have liked this time, work on your problem areas. Try scripting and practicing difficult questions or issues.

By critiquing your own performance, and learning from your successes and mistakes, you will be more prepared the next time. And, as a result, you will become more confident and accomplished at interviewing. You will also become more objective in choosing whether the job is right for you — not just whether you are right for the job.

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