Why Interview Preparation is a Liberating Exercise in Skills Recognition

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Why interview preparation is a liberating exercise in skills recognition

Congratulations, you’ve got a job interview! All that work fine-tuning your resume must have finally paid off. Now you need to sit down and repeat the process all over again, only this time it will be a much deeper self-investigation. Feeling excited?

Don’t fret, it’s easy to get deflated when preparing for an interview. There is a strong inclination to distract away and do something else instead. It could be one of your most hated household tasks, like cleaning out the fridge, scrubbing those pesky bathroom tiles, or tidying up the garage. Anything but sit down and spend time analysing yourself.

Why is this the case when it should be the furthest thing from the truth? You want the job, you’ve got what it takes to get it, what’s the problem? The whole mystery surrounding interviews is such a paradox. How many perfectly suitable candidates turn up in a bundle of nerves, with shaky hands and sweaty palms, despite hours spent memorising answers to every imaginable question?

You don’t need to learn off your answers. You don’t even need to anticipate the exact questions that will be asked. All you have to do is be yourself and demonstrate your suitability for the position on offer. The rest is common sense. When it comes to researching the organisation, or coming up with some questions to ask the interviewer, these details are in your best interest to know, right? Otherwise, you could end up working in a job you despise. You only live once, so better to make wise career choices that complement your beliefs, ethics, personality and skill-set.

When you are preparing for your next interview, use it to your advantage. Take the golden opportunity to get to know yourself and recognise all your career achievements.

An interview is essentially an encounter with a complete stranger and first impressions are everything. This doesn’t mean your knees should start trembling at the mere thought of it. The more comfortable you are in your own skin, the more confident you will come across to a person who knows nothing about you. If you can’t identify what you’re good at, how is an interviewer supposed to surmise where your specialties lie? Be prepared for common interview questions, such as “tell me a little bit about yourself…” and “what are your strengths and weaknesses?” These types of questions serve an important purpose, because they cut to the chase and allow a stranger to learn desirable things about you in a really short space of time.

Don’t even bother going down the fear route. You wouldn’t have got this far if you didn’t believe you could do it. Let your skills shine. Take a sheet of paper and write down five ways that you can contribute to the job role in order of relevance. Refresh and reflect on your own prior learning. One of the most effective interviewing techniques out there is to elicit real-world examples that prove the existence of core competencies. So what comes with the territory in this job based on your work history? It could be the ability to cope under pressure, multi-task, solve problems or manage a large workload. Imagine you were interviewing yourself for this position, what details would you make a point of finding out? If you can provide enough solid evidence, supplemented with glowing employer references, useful qualifications and samples of your work, the job is surely in the bag.

The job application process is actually pretty similar to a simple RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) assessment. It is a chance to gain official acknowledgement for your existing abilities, previous work experience and determine your eligibility for a job role or, in the case of RPL, a nationally recognised qualification.

Step 1: Skills review
The first step is to assess your overall competencies, match them to a suitable job vacancy, and then register your interest in working for a particular organisation by sending over your resume to the relevant contact person. In order to receive an accredited qualification with RPL, you will take a free skills review online by filling in a few brief details about yourself and the certificate or diploma you wish to obtain.

Step 2: Get started
If you seem like a good fit, the employer will contact you for an interview. Similarly, an experienced skills assessor will ask you to apply for a course and get started with an RPL assessment. This is your cue to conduct an in-depth skills inventory, think about some real-life examples of your skills-in-action and gather as much concrete evidence as possible to support your application.

Step 3: Submit evidence
An interviewer will want to fulfil essential criteria that are required to satisfy the demands of the job description. This involves taking a look at all of the accompanying evidence, such as your resume, employer references, work samples, certificates, awards, qualifications, etc. An RPL specialist follows the exact same procedure by ticking off a checklist of course units and modules to make sure you have enough experience in certain areas.

Step 4: Evidence review
The interviewer or skills assessor will then carefully review all of the evidence.

Step 5: Final decision
The skills recognition process is complete once a decision has been made as to whether you made the cut. If you have met all the requirements, you will be issued with a job offer based on your interview performance, or a qualification from a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) as a result of your RPL assessment. If you haven’t supplied enough satisfactory evidence to support your claim for a qualification through RPL, at least you will have an opportunity to complete gap training, so that you can still qualify. If you don’t receive any feedback from your job interview, it is good practice to ask why you weren’t deemed eligible. That way, you can work on improving those weaker points for next time.

Less stress, more success is a good motto to consider before you start biting your nails at the thought of an upcoming job interview. The process is actually really straightforward and stress-free if you allow it to be. Try and imagine it more as an exercise in self-empowerment, rather than a high pressure situation in which the interviewer holds the magic key to your destiny. If you don’t get the job, it probably wasn’t right for you anyway, so pick yourself up, expel any negative thoughts and never stop believing in yourself. There will always be a second chance.

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