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An Alternative Approach to Interview Preparation


out side of the box approach to interview preparation

5 Alternative Ways to Improve Your Interview and Career Performance!

Whether your on the job hunt or not, thinking about looking for a new job or being put up for a promotion can get a little harrowing.  There’s so much information, so many things to memorize, and after all the rehearsing and research, you’re still left feeling a little insecure or unsettled about the whole affair.

It may be time to take anew approach to your interview preparation and try something new to get you on the right track for success.  Here are five ways to get you energized about taking the next step in your career:

Join a group!  Sometimes you need to get out of your comfort zone and open yourself up to new experiences. When you take on new adventures and challenges and get out and meet new people, you’ll find that nerves associated with the unknown start to lessen as you get comfortable in your own skin.

Think your public speaking needs improvement?  Join a Toastmasters group.  Want to learn more about an industry you’d like to start a career in?  Check out Meetup.com and find a group on topics of interest to learn and network!

Make your downtime work for you!  Have a few minutes every day driving in the car or riding on the train or bus?  Try popping in a motivational audio book to get you energized and focused.  There’s thousands out there to choose from such as Brian Tracey, Zig Zigglar and Tony Robbins, just to name a few.  Search on Amazon.com or iTunes or ask a friend for a recommendation.

And, don’t just leave it for the morning commute–any time you have a few minutes to spare or when you’d normally put on background music while doing tasks like washing dishes, folding laundry, or going for a jog, you can get motivated!  You’ll be surprised how a few words of inspiration and perspective will begin to reshape your outlook.

Have an attitude of gratitude! Say thank you and mean it. Sure this may just seem like good manners, but when you remember  to recognize others for the small things they do, it will remind you of what you yourself can do to make a difference.

And, this can be helpful in the interview in remembering how you’ve affected a situation in a positive way or on the job when you want to make improvements.  Not only that, but having a positive attitude towards others and making them feel good for their contributions will ultimately affect your attitude towards yourself, how you treat others, and how you think about being treated in the workplace.

Read.  We all get busy, but taking time to read has more benefits than most people realize.  Read the news to hone up on current events, read business books to stay up to date, read anything!

Yes, we said anything, even that popular fiction novel everyone’s raving about.  Psychologists are now recognizing that fiction strengthens our social ties and increases our empathy toward others, which can affect your emotional intelligence in the workplace.  fiction helps us understand the human character, explains Keith Oatley in Scientific American Mind (November/December 2011).

“The seemingly solitary act of holing up with a book . . . is actually an exercise in human interaction,” Oatley writes. “It can hone your social brain, so that when you put your book down you may be better prepared for camaraderie, collaboration, even love.”

Reading also builds schema which is the conceptual framework in which our brain connects thoughts and ideas.  The more you expose yourself to, the more frame of reference you have the more you can make connections which can come in handy when you’re on the spot in an interview.

It also increases fluency and vocabulary, so in layman’s terms, the more you read, the smarter you may begin to sound and the easier reading comprehension becomes.  This can aid in reading tasks and problem solving.

Take a Class! We’re not just talking about going down to your local college an enrolling in courses or taking a class at your local YMCA (Although those are of course, great options.)  Alternative forms of education and learning are popping up every where and there’s something for everyone.

Need to learn how to think on your feet?  Take an improv course.  Don’t have the funds to go back to school but want to challenge yourself to learn something new, engage in interesting conversations, or diversify your skill sets?

You have many options such as Coursera which offers free online classes from major universities on everything from Math Logic to Human Behavior.  Want to learn basic coding, check out Code Academy‘s free courses.  Have $20 and want to do something a little more hands on?  Check out Dabble.co for classes in major cities on an unlimited number of topics.

These are just a few examples, but a quick internet search can help you find more options near you.

While good old fashion interview preparation never goes out of style, there are many things that you can do continually to improve your interviewing and job skills, or to give you a break from the old standards.

The more you try out and do, the more confidence you will build as you invest in yourself and take a broader approach to interview prep.

What out of the box methods do you recommend others try?

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Robin Rayburn

About Robin Rayburn

Robin L. Rayburn is the Editor & General Manager of Interviewing.com. Robin was introduced to the recruitment industry in 2007 and her passion for people has never let her stray far from it since. In her spare time she manages her blog, RestlessPillow.com, tweets from @interviewingcom and @chitowntexan, and is always striving to help those around her who have a vision for success. You can also find Robin on LinkedIn and Google+.

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4 comments
Sumaira Choudhary
Sumaira Choudhary

That's are real "think out of Box" writeup for the topic. thumbs up Robin!

Afifa Siddiqui
Afifa Siddiqui

Robin -- great tips for job seekers! Displaying gratitude and reading are especially important when searching for a new job. Candidates also need to focus their job search by targeting specific companies they’d like to work for and tracking the best, most relevant opportunities. Although managing communications can be tough, it’s imperative for following up with potential employers to show your interest and improve your chances at landing a new job.

Ryan
Ryan

I found it very rewarding to volunteer and help a non profit that was able to help me keep some professional skills up to speed, and allow me to help a cause dear to my heart, too. I would encourage people to do that - it is also nice to put on a resume for down time between jobs, to show you were still engaged!

Robin Rayburn
Robin Rayburn moderator

 @Sumaira Choudhary Thank you Sumaira!  Everyone learns, grows, and prepares differently for challenges they face.  Its always good to open open yourself up to new ways of thinking and find what works for you.

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