It amazes me that candidates rarely practice their interview skills in preparation for a career changing opportunity. You’ve probably spent countless hours improving your technical and leadership skills through educational seminars and certifications. But how much time have you spent in preparing for what could be the most important two hours of your career? Most candidates would answer that they practiced very little or that they did not practice at all. Consider this: we’ve had many very qualified candidates that did not get the positions they interviewed for because of poor interview skills. Practice those skills and you will have a better outcome in your interviews.

Here is what I’ve been telling candidates:

  • Invest 15 minutes a week in your career by practicing your interview skills. Video yourself answering a likely interview question.
  • Do this every week, watch yourself, your body posture, listen to yourself, your voice inflections, your clarity, your ability to answer a question succinctly.
  • Answering a question is not a five-minute monologue, and it’s not a yes or no; answer with a few sentences that directly answer the question and offer some insight into why you would be a good fit with the club.
  • After you’ve worked on your question-answering skills, have someone that you trust to be honest with you critique several of your videos both for content, body language and tone. This can be painful but better during your practices than in the interview room.
  • If you get ready to interview for a new position, put together a group of people that you trust to do a mock interview. This allows you to get some “real” interview experience without having a new position in the balance.
  • Repeat and Repeat until you are confident and relaxed in an interview session.
  • Be prepared to ask questions, good questions, about the club. Do your homework, ask specific questions that “show” that you’ve researched the club.Practice doesn’t really make perfect, but it can make you much better at interviewing and giving yourself the best chance possible to show a potential employer why you are the right fit for their club.

Armen Suny is a Search & Consulting Executive with KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE. He can be reached via email: