By Sunny Simon

     Have you ever blown an interview? Join the club, we all have.  Do you experience anxiety at the mere thought of tooting your horn in the presence of a potential employer? You can rise above it and up your game.

     If you’ve set your sites on a new job, one caution before beginning. You must be qualified for the position. Sure, it seems I’m stating the obvious, but recruiters’ inboxes are filled with resumes from hopeful applicants who haven’t done their homework. Heed my golden rule: You must be able to aptly perform at least 80% of the job. Reread that job description carefully before you throw your hat in the ring.

     After sending your professional resume, be prepared for a brief phone screen. Once you’ve cleared that low hurdle and made a date to meet the hiring manager, it’s time to put serious thought into preparation. Obviously, practice is the best way to build confidence and calm the waves of nerves. But, nailing an interview requires much more than rote practice. Self promotion involves crafting stories that break through the boring verbal hum drum of your competition.


     Are you familiar with behavioral questions? These probes usually start with, “Tell me about a time when…” For practice let’s fill in the blanks with: You had to deal with an angry customer (or manager, or peer). Why ask such a question? The interviewer wants to hear a success story.

     Relay a challenging incident from your past. Rule number one, don’t be shy. You are not bragging when you illustrate your value to an employer. Rule number two, make your story interesting! Paint a verbal picture of how you drew upon your problem solving and interpersonal skills to turn the situation around. Bring it to a strong ending showing how you came out on top.

     If you took a shot at answering that question, how did it sound? Lame, mundane, so-so but not an Oscar worthy performance? How could you make it more interesting without distorting the story?  Work on it. It’s not only a skill, it’s an art.

     Challenge yourself by practicing with behavioral questions. A quick Google will reveal dozens of queries to work with. Once you familiarize yourself with the behavioral question pattern, it will get easier.

     When you’re ready for a dress rehearsal, ask your biggest critic to drill you and provide input. Keep reworking your stories until your chosen hard-grader gives you a thumbs up. Congrats! You’re ready for the real audition. Now go out there and break a leg! Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at