How To Improve Your Interview Performance

By Gerald Walsh ©

One of the best ways to improve your interview performance is to dissect how the past one just went.

If possible, you should try to obtain constructive feedback from the interviewers or recruiter.

For example, not long ago, in response to a candidate asking me for feedback, I told her that she should not rely on her notes so much as she came across as scripted and lacking in spontaneity. She appreciated the feedback and said she would adapt in future interviews.

I suggested to another candidate that he give fewer examples from his volunteer work and more from his paid work experience. I felt this would have been more effective in demonstrating his skills. He understood how this could improve his job interview performance in the future.

Often an employer will not give feedback but that shouldn’t stop you from doing your own self-analysis to determine if there is anything you could have done differently.

Think of how professional athletes and their coaches watch game film over and over. They are trying to figure out what worked well and what didn’t in order to improve their performance in the next game.

Since you don’t have game film to watch, how can you conduct an effective post-mortem?

Here is a simple self-scoring system you can use to evaluate your own performance. Now, I realize you’re not exactly objective but don’t be self-delusional. Tricking yourself into thinking you did well – when you didn’t – won’t get you anywhere.

Rate each of these statements on a scale of 1 – 10 and add any comments that will help you in future interviews:

I prepared fully for the interview by conducting research and anticipating the questions in advance.

My score _____ / 10

I made a good first impression by shaking hands with everybody, maintaining eye contact, and calling them by name.

My score _____ /10

I dressed appropriately for the setting in clothes that made me feel comfortable, confident, and professional.

My score _____ /10

I answered their questions fully and with confidence, and gave lots of examples.

My score ____ /10

I asked good questions of them that focused on the organization, the job, and the people.

My score ____ /10

By the end of the interview, I had made every point I wanted to make.

My score ____ /10

My body language conveyed the messages I wanted conveyed.

My score ____ /10

My closing comments were suitable and confirmed my interest in the job.

My score ____ /10

I know what the next steps are.

My score ____ /10

I sent a follow-up thank you note.

My score ____ / 10

TOTAL SCORE _____ / 100

Being completely honest with yourself will help you isolate your interviewing strengths and weaknesses so that you will only get better at future interviews.


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Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and author. He is the author of PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career.” You can follow Gerry on Twitter @@Gerald_Walsh