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How to excel in a job interview?

This is one of the most popular questions I received from my community members and mentees. We all would wish there is a straightforward answer to this, but the reality is that it’s the opposite. There are both controllable and uncontrollable factors contributing to the outcome of an interview.

Again – Mindset is the key to success

The more we want the role, the more likely we will underperform in the interview. In this instance, the fear of losing the opportunity has cluttered our minds. The fear of being judged after we deliver an answer to a challenging question has triumphed. As a result, we failed to convince the interviewer to choose us over our competitors.

A better mindset is always treating an interview as an opportunity for you and the interviewer (the representative of the organisation) to:

  • get to know more about each other;

  • explore and understand if what you have to offer matches the role/organisation's requirements/expectations.

With such a mindset, both you and the interviewer can make a conscious decision on the next step.

Focus on what’s within your control

Sitting in an interview is similar to sitting in a driving test. Within the limited amount of time, you have to demonstrate to the testing officer that you can drive safely to get a 'Pass'. However, this is not enough. Because to achieve the desired outcome in an interview, you also must convince the 'testing officer' that you are the most suitable 'driver' to drive this 'vehicle'.

Do your research, practice, and prepare. Despite other uncontrollable factors, if you cannot even convince yourself that you are the most suitable person for this role, it will be much harder for you to convince the interviewer.

Maybe you still could not get the very job you interviewed for, but honing what you can control in an interview will better prepare you for your future endeavour. Thus, all your research, preparation and rehearsal will eventually pay off.

  • How to be professional and authentic at the same time?

  • How to quickly build trust and good rapport with the interviewer?

  • How to demonstrate your interest in the role?

  • How to best position yourself for the position?

  • How to overcome nervousness?

  • How to prepare for the unprepared?

Be mindful and be prepared for the above will increase your chance of success in an interview. If you are experiencing some challenges in excelling in an interview, connect with me and let me help you.

Steven Yu

A thinker and facilitator helping young professionals thrive.


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