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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

5 Ways to Interview Like a Pro

Everyone wants a perfect interview score! After all, many do say that the pageant is won in the interview room! So how can you interview like a pro? Here's just 5 suggestions to help:

1. Memorize concepts and ideas, not words.
You will sound over-rehearsed and fake if you memorize words and try to spit them out when asked. Instead, work on learning concepts, ideas, and themes and try to bring your responses back to your main ideas. Even if you know everything there is to know about the Middle East or alphabet soup, do not rehearse what you will say. Focus on the concepts and you feel about the topic - instead of giving the judges a rehearsed presentation, you can give them the natural you, with natural body language, responses, facial expressions and more!

2.  Chat it up!
Prior to interview, do not just sit quietly in a corner. Get someone like mom or your interview coach on the phone and start practicing some questions! I would much rather you go into an interview already warmed up than cold turkey! It takes everyone some time to warm up, so instead of hitting your comfort zone 5 minutes in to the interview, hit the comfort zone as soon as you walk into the room! A warm up is key to a great interview!

3. Be relatable.
From the time you could understand something, your mom or dad told you a story. Stories teach us lessons and ideas. If you've learned and grasped ideas in story form since you were little, don't you think your judges have too? I mean, haven't we all learned not to take things from strangers from Snow White? After all, they could be offering you a poisoned apple!

Think about the stories you can tell the judges to create a visual in their mind and to really in tune with them. Even though you cannot bring a poster board or powerpoint into the interview room,  you can still hook your judges in with a good, relevant can shout 'relatability' when they can connect with you and your story. But please, make sure your stories are 20-30 seconds max and do not tell the judges, "ok, I have a story for you"...did mom ever start her stories that way? No.

4. Flip your mindset/understanding of the interview.
You can completely take the pressure off of yourself by remembering that the judges actually do want you to succeed. They do not naturally want to make you fail or cry. It is your job to provide them with the information that says "she is the role model we've been looking for" or "she's the perfect girl to be Miss X". It is your job to provide the judges with ideas, perspectives, concepts, and examples. Focusing on being helpful and conversational can help you to relax. By changing your mindset of "this is a test" to "this is a fun chat about me...and who knows me better than myself", you can flip the interview in your favor!

5. Be clear.
Prior to interview, you should make a chart of some sort. Organize what your main messages are and how you'd like to relay them. Organize what you really want the judges to know about you and figure out how you'd intertwine them in interview.

You can only tell the judges who you are and what your purpose is when YOU are clear on it. You can only express your messages, concepts, passions, and ideas when YOU are clear on them. You can only be passionate when you truly believe in and understand your message.

If you have not organized your messages and ideas prior to interview, you will end up trying to do it IN the interview and you'll start fumbling over your words and really, just embarrassing yourself. Take the time to organize and prepare for the interview like you would prepare for a school test - you'd outline, organize, practice, and then take the wouldn't just jump right into the test, right? I hope so!