One common issue many candidates face in an interview is forgetting what they want to say. Essentially, the candidate's mind goes blank. All the great answers they had prepared just disappear.
This can be a huge hurdle to overcome, and it can lead to you missing out on roles that you are a great fit for. However, there is a way to beat this blankness. The first step is to understand that you aren't bad at interviewing. Rather, you're simply dealing with nerves – and you can get past them.
Researching, practicing, and taking notes are the best ways to combat your interview nerves.
Making Your Cheat Sheet
We start with all the normal research and preparation that you would do for an interview:
Research the company
Research the role
Review your resume and experience
Practice telling stories about your experience
Think of questions that you would like to ask in the interview about the role, company, and culture
Take notes as you are doing your preparation. The trick is to have all your notes on a single piece of paper that you can bring to your interview. Don't write in paragraphs; you want short bullet points you can glance at quickly to jog your memory during the interview. If you write out full paragraphs, you may end up reading your answers straight from the page – which isn't very engaging!
An example of how you could lay out your cheat sheet would be:
Interviewers: The interviewers' names and positions
Company: Why you want to work for this company
Role: What interested you in this role
Work History: Achievements and challenges you have overcome that are relevant to the role
Questions: 2-3 questions you would like to ask during the interview
Making a cheat sheet will only add a few minutes to your pre-interview preparation time, and it will help you get through the interview and past the dreaded blank mind if it does occur.
If you find yourself getting nervous during the interview, take a moment to compose yourself. It can be very helpful to stop and take a few breaths, rather than rushing out a sub-par answer.
Even if you don't suffer from interview nerves, having an interview cheat sheet on hand is a great way to review your research and answers while you are waiting for your interview to begin.
In short, everyone can benefit from an interview cheat sheet.
Stacey Gleeson is the founder and job search/interview coach at Primed Interviews. If you have a question about your job search, send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.