Debrief After Your Interview

by Myers, Ford R. Monday, July 19, 2010
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There is rarely, if ever, a time when you will be hired following just one interview. You will typically go through multiple rounds of interviews for any position. Conducting your own formal, written debrief after the interview will give you the information you need to refine and improve your performance for the future.

Consider the following strategies for a comprehensive debrief of your interviews:

Interview preparation:

Were you well prepared for your interview? Did you know enough about the company, the industry, the job, their financial health, and who would be doing the interviewing? Did you read the latest news about the company, and were you aware of their latest successes and largest challenges? Did you develop 5-7 insightful questions to ask?

How well did you manage the interview?

Did you arrive on time, properly dressed, and carrying the right items? Were your body language, energy level and listening skills good? Did your create an engaging conversation? Did you express interest in the job and thank the interviewer for his or her time? Did you “leave behind” the appropriate materials about yourself?

How well did you handle the interviewer’s questions?

Had you anticipated and prepared for the questions? Did any questions surprise you or “trip you up?” Did you answer as many questions as possible using success stories?

How confident and relaxed were you?

How confident and relaxed were you going into the interview. How nervous were you during the interview? What could you have done differently, to reduce your anxiety about the interview?

How good was the interviewer?

Was the interviewer prepared, and did he or she manage the interview well? Did he or she describe the job requirements, listen well, and answer your questions? Did the interviewer put you at ease and establish good rapport? What kind of interviewer do you respond to most positively?

Positives vs. Negatives:

What three or four things did you do particularly well, that you want to continue doing? What three or four things did you do poorly that need to be improved for future interviews? What things did you NOT do or say, that you would like to include at future interviews?

Debriefing your interviews on a consistent basis can be challenging, because you have to evaluate your own performance – and it’s difficult to be objective. However, by reflecting on your performance in the above areas, particularly in writing, you will be focused and ready to “ace” your next round of interviews at the same company or another company!