Interviewing: Preparation and Mindset

By: Lynne Marks | 20 Feb 2014

The interview process is a skill that, like anything else, must be learned, practiced and perfected. From experience at London Image Institute, we have found that an important factor in preparing for the interview is to recognize a negative mindset that might sabotage you as an otherwise great candidate.

Interview“I’m in my mid-fifties and they might say that I’m too old for the job.” This is a common fear that might reside only in your head in our youth- obsessed culture. Luckily there are industries which value experience over youth, such as education, non-profits, health care and government. (Google AARP best employers.) To exorcize this mindset write out success stories of skills, events and situations when your experience, accomplishments, loyalty and reliability were of crucial importance to the past positions you have held. Each example should illustrate transferrable skills such as taking the initiative, grace under pressure, clarity of thought and speech and organizational skills that travel with you, from job to job. As for your visual image, the correct colours, posture and updated hair and makeup take off years.

“I liked the sound of the job but I don’t have all the skills they want.”

From both the interviewer and the interviewee’s point of view, the crucial ingredient in an interview is what is known as “the cultural fit.” How can you position yourself as a representative of their brand and contribute to the company? Realize that an interview is a two-way conversation, and you are expected to have a high degree of self-awareness: know your skills, how you can help the team, and why they need you. If your skills are ones they want, they are often willing to train you in the technical areas. In your resume, concentrate on the results and outcomes you caused, not the descriptions of every job you had.

“I am always so nervous I never do myself justice.”

Do not focus only on yourself in the interview. Do research to overcome what you consider your shortcomings and have the answers prepared. Now take on a mindset like the employer. Ask questions such as “how does the team interact with the rest of the company?” and “what will be my immediate goals?”

Once you have recognized any negative mindset the trick now is to practice and role- play out loud with a friend, family member or coach.  Like as actor your stories must flow from the page to the mouth. Your coach needs to pick up on tone of voice, clarity and body language as well as clear, succinct content. A story shouldn’t take longer than about one minute or less!

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