I haven't interviewed in years!

I haven’t interviewed in years!

Must be something in the water. I thought that by now the dust would have settled from the Great Attrition, the Great Resignation, the Great Lateral Promotion…but nope. This week saw half a dozen conversations and coaching sessions with people looking for tips on how to navigate employment or promotional interviews because they haven’t interviewed in years!

If this is you, here is a short list of the advice I gave, generalized to encompass a variety of circumstances:

  • Be clear on the terms of the interview; is it simply short-listing for next steps or is it real deal? Vetting will be shorter with less opportunity for nuance and detail so you have to be short, sharp and to the point. Be good; be brief; be gone.
  • Is it in person or via virtual platform? Different approaches and considerations apply.
  • Anticipate the questions but don’t be a slave to them. It’s more important to focus on the important things you want the interviewer to know, and use the questions as opportunities to deliver those crucial messages.
  • Use the inverted pyramid to answer with a very short executive summary or what I call a headline, followed by a pause, then more examples, detail and background, all the while watching for cues from the interviewers to let you know when you’ve said enough.
  • I cannot stress this enough: pay attention to the interviewers and take their lead on how much to say. Don’t be concerned if they talk more than you do; it’s fine.
  • Make sure your examples/stories follow some coherent pattern. A very useful format is STAR: situation, task, action and result.

The most effective use of your prep time is to do one or more mock interviews. If you have someone in your life who can walk you through this and can be objective in critiquing your performance, congratulations! If you need help, feel free to reach out.

Joanna Piros