Are we talking about practice?

For all of you basketball fans out there, remember the Allen Iverson interview?  It was funny and a great video clip, but what is practice really about?

That’s the question I’d suggest more people should think about as they practice for an interview.  After all, interviewing is all about preparation, and some would say, “practice”. But practicing is too often viewed as rehearsing for a performance.

That’s where people at all levels miss the opportunity…and that’s what an interview really is.  It’s an opportunity. We don’t rehearse for an opportunity. We prepare for it, and yes, thinking about how we’ll answer questions is good preparation.  We’ll be asked about why we left one company and joined another. We’ll be asked about our accomplishments and how we achieved those things. We may even be asked why we’re interested in the job and what we’re good at.

But all too often, the most important question isn’t asked, and when it is we miss the point.  Have you ever been asked, “What do you want?” If so, you may have thought to yourself. “Well, I want a job!”  Or, “I want to make a lot of money”. Or maybe we thought, “It’s not about what I want, it’s about what I need.”  Sometimes the question gets asked and sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s always a question we need to answer.

What do you want?  If you can’t answer that question in an authentic and compelling way, what does that say about you?  Do you know what you want? This is the question to answer that transcends all of the interviewing practice.  Think about what you want and what you are prepared to do to make it happen. Think about how that translates into the role, the company, and the people with whom you will work, and why that matters.

If you know what you want and why, take it a step further and think about how that matters to the interviewer.  Be honest and empathize, and remember the interview is an opportunity. It’s not about practice; it’s about knowing ourselves and not being afraid to tell the truth!