5 Ways to Improve Your Interviewing Technique (After a Break)

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve had one thing rolling around in my head a lot: Laura, you need to find a new job. Not that I don’t like my job, but my job is a contract and I’m getting close to the end of it. Since it’s not a contract-to-hire position, I’m on my own to find a new one and I’m currently applying and interviewing for positions. A few weeks ago, I interviewed for a job and was one of the top finalists. I didn’t get the job, but considering I was the #2 pick after not interviewing for nine months, I’ll take it. So today, I want to talk about 5 ways to improve your interviewing technique, especially when you’ve been out of the interviewing game for a while.

5 Ways to Improve Your Interviewing Technique

Getting that interview booked is pretty exciting and hopefully, you’ve got at least a few days before that interview. In that time, there are five things you can do to help you prepare before you go to the interview.

1. Get Reacquainted with Your Resume

If you haven’t been in the interviewing game for a while, you’re probably not as familiar with your resume as you were when you were constantly interviewing. Take some time to remember what you have on there. What experience you’ve had, what skills you advertise, all those parts.

2. More Specifically, Make Sure You Know The Key Parts

While you really need different resumes for different jobs (that’s a blog post for another day), make sure you memorize the right key parts.

For example, I have two main resumes, each that gets tweaked depending on the job. I have a “tech industry” resume and a “marketing/advertising” resume. While both are similar, the focus is different on each.

During my time in politics, I did social media for Congressional campaigns, but I was also the project manager for one-off projects, working with the developers. For tech related roles, I highlight more of the project management system and what I learned from the developers. For social media and advertising jobs, I focus more of the social media aspect of that job.

Many times, we wear a lot of hats for our jobs that we can play to new jobs. Make sure you know what hat you need to wear and talk about in that interview.

Related Post: The New Grad’s Guide to Phone Interviews

3. Talk to Friends

I know I talked to Sarah a lot before my interview, and even after the interview. Talking to her (and my mom) allowed me to get my nerves out before the actual interview. Personally, I know I get hung up on small details a lot in life, and I come back to them over and over and over again. Chatting with both of them allowed me to think about what was important to me during that interview.

In fact, when I was talking to my mom on the phone, she was even giving me suggestions about what to mention in the job interview, including an award I won a few years ago that was related to the job. Friends and family will remember things you don’t always remember. Take advantage of that.

Has it been a while since you've interviewed for a job? Here are 5 tips to help you brush off your skills. Click To Tweet

4. Familiarize Yourself with the Job Description

Print it out, memorize it, take notes. When I was interviewing last year, I printed one job description out, highlighted all the parts I had a story for. Then I memorized those so if they asked about that specific function of the job, I could talk about it. Also, think about all those cookie-cutter questions like “describe a time you had to work with someone you didn’t see eye-to-eye with and how did you move past that?”

No joke, when someone asked me this one time, I told a story about a roommate. That was college, though.

5. Set up a Practice Interview, if You Can

When I interviewed for my first job here in Austin (the politics job), I did a practice interview back up in DFW. I wrote a whole blog post about it, which you should read here. Practice interviews are a great way to practice. Everything in life becomes easier if you practice – talking on the phone, going to the gym, interviewing for jobs, everything. If you feel comfortable doing practice interviews, you’ll feel comfortable with the real ones.

All of these tips will help you before you come to your interview, but I also want to leave you with one in-interview tip.

6. Ask For the Job

When you’re in the interview, there are two very important questions you need to ask at the end: “When would you want me to start?” and “when should I expect to hear from you?” These two questions imply your interest in the job, even more so than just showing up for the interview.

By asking these, you’re showing your interviewer that you still want that job, even after meeting all your potential co-workers. Always ask for it, unless you’ve decided you don’t actually want the job.

Interviewing for a new job, especially when you’re rusty, is a scary, but exciting process. Be prepared for the day, take a deep breath, and remember, they like you already – they asked you for an interview. Now’s your chance to shine!