How To Conduct A Job Interview Autopsy

 In Interviewing Strategies

iStock_000013595247SmallWe’ve all had that awful job interview where either we bobbled a question someone tossed at us (Like, “If you could be any animal, what would you be?”), or we gave a bad answer and smacked our foreheads afterward because we realized we could have given a much better answer.

I talk to a lot of people who are very stressed out about interviews and loathe them because they’ve had bad ones. Many say they would rather go have a root canal than go through the painful examination of an interview.

But you know what?

Interviews are actually good for you.


Think about it. They put us on the spot in a way we usually don’t encounter on a daily basis. An interview actually is a very powerful experience because you learn how you react under pressure.

If you really want to get over those jitters, you’ll need to do an autopsy to discover what you need to know and/or work on to improve your skills in these situations.

How To Conduct A Job Interview Autopsy

Here are some tips on becoming more comfortable and at ease:

1. Interview Often

Practice makes perfect. The more you do it, the more it’s like staying on your bike. And if you do happen to fall, it’ll be a lot easier to get back on again.

2. Dig Into The Interview And Autopsy It

What did you do well? What did you do wrong? What did you expect? What happened that was unexpected? Did you feel prepared or totally unready?

3. Write Down The Questions You Can Remember After The Interview

By keeping a running list of real interview questions you’ve encountered, you can gain skill in knowing what might be coming your way the next time you meet an employer.

4. Do Your Research

Did the employer field a question to you that had something to do with the company? If you had done your research, confidence comes with knowledge and even buy you some time. Sometimes, even deflecting those questions with similar but different detailed information can help you wiggle out of tight spots.

5. Trust Your Gut

Trusting your intuition is important… if you are feeling not-so-great about an interview and your performance in there, there might have been something perhaps non-verbal the interviewers were exuding that put you off. If you aren’t walking out pumped up and energized, is this really the right opportunity for you?

If you don’t take the time to truly examine how you performed in an interview, and don’t dissect the pieces you did well versus the ones you had an #epicfail on, you won’t learn about yourself and you won’t learn what you can do better for next time. In your lifetime, you’ll have a lot more interviews than job offers, so mastering the knowledge of your strengths and weak points is incredibly important to your career… otherwise, what you don’t know will hurt you.

Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, is a Certified Advanced Résumé Writer and the president of Portland, Ore.-based Pathfinder Writing and Career Services. Clients from across the United States and Canada and from all career levels have benefited from Dawn’s highly-focused and results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. Many professional groups as well as colleges and universities have appreciated the insights and expertise she shares during presentations on career management topics, and she is a frequently requested national speaker as a result.

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