Stop, Drop, and Roll " How to Avoid Your Interview from Going Up in Flames

Interview preparation tips to help you get the most out of your interview.

We all remember the saying, ‘Stop, drop, and roll.’ We were taught it as children when the fire department would show up at our school. If you were lucky, you would get to climb up in the fire truck, then go through that tiny house that fills up with fake smoke and get out. I always missed that last part, due to my asthma and that terrible smelling, fake smoke; but that’s my burden to bare.

The crazy thing is that the phrase actually applies really well to interviewing for a role. Apex has previously covered great ways to prep for interviews and does an awesome job of providing our candidates with the materials necessary to walk into an interview with all the confidence in the world. This post is going to focus on how to get the most out of your interview. It will also provide guidance for avoiding getting trapped in that tiny, fake house. This way, the firefighters don’t have to come to pull you out because you can’t follow directions that were obviously not clearly explained well enough. Again, my burden to bare.

STOP

In the name of love. Collaborate and listen. Like any pop song, sometimes you just have to take a beat. Interviews can be nerve racking, walking in to meet with people you barely know, that are going to question you about your skillsets, experience and previous work history. Discussions about previous jobs that might have ended poorly, that might have lost their budget, which might have been the best job in the world, but somehow ended.

They could ask you about your previous boss, previous coworkers, or why a project didn’t pan out, and why you didn’t save it.

They could ask you why there is a 6-month gap in your resume, when you tore your ACL. They could literally ask you almost anything under the sun, so you better prepare over and over again.

Stop having fake conversations that have not even happened in your head. Stop wondering if that suit goes with that belt. Stop looking at your resume and wondering why you picked size 11 font instead of 12.

Take a breath, go to your happy place, and remember that you already have the answers to the test. Your resume isn’t a mystery, because you lived it. You can explain it and you can nail this. Just get out of your head and stop living in worst-case-scenario scenario.

DROP

Drop your guard! One of the main reasons technically qualified candidates don’t get offers is because they are not viewed as ’culture fits‘ or didn’t mesh with the team. Candidates walk into interviews thinking they have to be this polished, professional, never stop smiling robot, because that’s what the client wants.

It’s not! Hiring managers want people they can depend on, work well with, and not dread seeing at work every day. Obviously they don’t need to know every single personal detail about you, but, they should know more about you other than your previous work experience. Do you have fun hobbies? Tell them about them, because it shows that you’re a well-rounded person and not just a more enhanced replica of the resume in front of them. If you’re a little dorky, be a little dorky.

In short, don’t be afraid to drop your guard a little, so they can get to know the real you.

ROLL

Every interview has a rhythm. Sometimes it’s hard to find it in the first few minutes, but you’ll be able to recognize it after a bit. Whether its rapid fire questions (not suggested) from the hiring manager, a team panel conversation, or even a technical test, there is a rhythm. Once you find that rhythm, don’t try to fight it.

Ride the wave and roll with it, because the easier you can find the rhythm, the more comfortable and relaxed you’ll be. The more relaxed you are, the more creative you’ll be and the easier the conversation will be. It’s like science, Relaxing Makes You More Creative.

So find that rhythm and roll with it to your next offer!

Nothing here is earth shattering information, but we often overlook these critical components because of that horrible voice in our heads called fear. Fear is often more disruptive than any 6-month gap in your resume, because it can spread through your body and lock you up. Shake the flames of fear with this throwback to your youth and remember, ‘Stop, Drop, and Roll’ your way into the next chapter of your career.