Tips to Rock Your Next Interview
Whether it’s for the upcoming Job Interview CDE or your next Supervised Agricultural Experience Program Proficiency Interview, use these tips will help you wow the judges.
1. Be confident
Confidence is one of the most important aspects of the interview. If you come across as shy, quiet and insecure, the judges will be less likely to connect with you. Being confident helps you warm up to them.
2. Roll with it
“If you were any fruit, what kind of fruit would you be?” I’ll be the first to say, “Um, what???” Yes, I can say from experience that I have been asked this question a few times in my time in the FFA. The judges ask this not to literally know the answer, but they use this as an opportunity to know your personality and see how quick on your feet you are.
Pro tip: use it to your advantage. My go-to answer? Apple. “I’m versatile just like an apple. They’re versatile, and can be used to make applesauce, apple juice, apple cider, apple pie, or you can eat them plain! Just like me, I’m a versatile employee and work hard to fulfill any role I’m put in. Boom!
3. Fake it till you make it
Don’t know an answer to a tough question that a tough judge asked? Spin it! Say something along the lines of, “Although I don’t know the exact answer to that question, I DO know that video is the most commonly viewed form of social media content among the millennial demographic.” The trick here is to distract them from the fact that you didn’t know one answer by surprising them with your other impressive knowledge.
4. Master the handshake
First impressions are important! Practice your handshake with a fellow FFA member or your advisor to make sure it’s firm but not hard, and you’re sure to impress the judges.
5. Know your materials like the back of your hand
There’s a lot of information on your resume and cover letter, as well as in your entire record books. Make sure you know the dates of your last employment, and be able to recall every detail on your interview materials. This is one way to wow the judges!
6. Practice your follow up letter
Practice your follow up letter ahead of time by writing a non-timed, really awesome version, and then try recreating it while you time yourself.
Pro tip: practice your writing skills and proofread, proofread, proofread. Nothing gets more points knocked off your score than grammar mistakes.
7. Practice your answers
Be sure to rehearse answers to commonly asked questions like, “What are three of your strengths and weaknesses?” or “What makes you a good fit for this position?”
Pro tip: Make a bank of questions and answers that the judges are likely to ask. Type the questions in black, and your answers in red, and practice, practice, practice! Then ask a fellow FFA member, sister, parent, or friend to pretend being your judge by asking you questions from your bank.
8. Rock that intro
Nothing impresses the judges more than a well thought out introduction. Although the phrase, “So, tell me about yourself” is sure to induce the stress sweats, be the most prepared interviewee by practicing yours ahead of time.
Pro tip: Be sure to include your name, FFA office (if applicable), FFA chapter, SAEP area/position you’re applying for, summary of previous positions, summary of FFA experiences, and your future plans. This is a great way to keep it short, yet thorough.
9. Know your why
One way to rock the questions no matter what stumper is thrown at you is to know your why. Knowing the big picture, and knowing what drives you will help you answer those tough questions more than you think.
Pro tip: Watch this Ted Talk by Simon Sinek on how to rock your why!
Cover courtesy of The Register Herald, Ohio