This article is a part of our Using Mind Maps at Work series and aims to help you prepare for that important interview.
Preparation is so important - especially if you really need the job!
There are a number of things that we have to do that don’t rank on our ‘all-time-favourite’ list - and going for a job interview is one of them. Don’t fret. You could gain an advantage over your prospective employer and other candidates for the position by using Mind Maps to prepare for your interview.
I often mention that the interview is just a confirmation by the prospective employer that they are making the right choice. Your resume, or curriculum vitae, has already convinced them that you have the necessary qualifications and experience.
This article gives you an overview of how to prepare for an interview. The Mind Map at the bottom of the article can be downloaded and adapted for your own needs. All you need is the free OpenSource software, Xmind.
View this as a framework for you to work through in preparation for the interview. Many people go into an interview ‘cold’. They don’t know anything about the company, the job, or why they really want the job. Don’t do the same.
Use Mind Maps to land your dream job!
List what attracts you to the job and also what you expect from the job. It is your job to interview the interviewer as much as it is the other way round. You need to make sure that the job is the right one for you in terms of growth, training and general job satisfaction.
If you know why you think this job is the right one for you, you will be able to communicate it to your interviewer and validate it for your own peace of mind. Also seek to find out what will be expected from you. There is nothing worse than realising on the first day of your new job that they expect something completely different to what you had in mind.
Be sure that you know why you are the right person for the job - and tell them!
Your qualifications, training and experience should come across simply and clearly. By filling this in on your Mind Map, you will ensure that you can communicate it clearly.
Don’t be shy to tell them exactly why you are the right person and how you can make a difference to their organisation. Communicate confidently and highlight your achievements and ambitions. Don’t be too loud, or too reserved, but show enthusiasm. Enthusiasm often wins the day.
These are the aims for how you should behave in the interview.
It’s great to be funny and light hearted, but don’t be a clown. You are not being interviewed for the court-jester position. (If you are, then you have my full blessing!) By showing passion and enthusiasm for what you do, you will almost always be entertaining as well.
Ensure that you are understood Communicate clearly and at the correct speed. Don’t mumble, or rattle through the answers. Ensure that the interviewer understands what you are saying and why you are saying it.
Make a good first impression As the saying goes, ‘You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression!’ By being confident and self-assured, you are guaranteed that your first impression is good. Also, if you are neat and tidy, your first impression will be a good one.
Aim to be remembered By communicating clearly, being attentive and responsive and perhaps saying something that they can quote you on, you will create a memorable impression. By simply preparing using the strategies in this Mind Map, you will have good shot at being memorable.
I remember going for a job interview once, where I had to present my response to a ‘blind’ case study. I was left alone in a room for an hour with a set of whiteboard markers and the case study. I promptly go to work and put together a giant colourful Mind Map on the whiteboard.
When the interviewers entered the room, their first response was, ‘WOW!’
Needless to say, I landed the job - but, importantly, this approach was spoken about for months. I’m sure that that is an interview they will never forget!
Don’t forget to mention your professional interests. If you belong to any user groups, or clubs that are associated with your profession, mention it and explain how it helps you do a better job.
Your other interests also help you cope with stress and ensure a better work-life balance - missing in so many of us today. Tell them how your outside interests make you a better employee.
I’ve listed a few on the Mind Map, but add some more of your own to your Mind Map. You could even have a separate Mind Map just for possible questions. Having a ‘dry-run’ through the questions before the interview may not be a bad idea. You could even ask a friend or family member to question you. In this way you will be better prepared if the same, or even similar, questions were asked.
Finally the big day arrives. You are nervous, but well prepared. So there is no need to panic. Run through the checklist below before the meeting. You could even have a separate Mind Map of this with you, so that you can run through it while you are waiting to be interviewed.
This is the only Mind Map that I suggest you review on the day. If you go through the details in the others and forget something, you may begin to panic.
Well done! You have gone through the interview - and successfully, I might say.
Now all you have to do is write a letter to the organisation thanking them for giving you the opportunity and confirm your interest in the position. Also mention that should they require any further information, you are most willing to oblige.
Well, there you have it. All you need to prepare for an interview and land that dream job.
This article is a part of our Using Mind Maps at Work series, so look out for the other titles in the series to ensure that you have a happy and successful career.