Conduct a Post Mortem After Every Interview

One of the best ways to improve your performance in future interviews is to deconstruct how the past interview just went.

If you can, you should try to obtain pertinent feedback from the interviewer or recruiter.

For example, not long ago, a candidate asked me for feedback. I was able to tell her that she might consider not relying on her notes as much because she came across as too scripted during the interview. She appreciated the feedback and said she would adapt in future interviews.

I suggested to another candidate that he give fewer examples from his volunteer work and more examples from his paid work experience. I felt this would have been more effective in demonstrating his skills. He understood how this could improve his job interview performance in the future.

While you should always ask for feedback, most employers unfortunately will not give it to you.

But that shouldn’t stop you from doing a thorough self-analysis—an interview post mortem—to determine if there is anything about your answers, dress, impression, or any other part of the interview process you could have done differently.

As soon as you can after an interview, spend some reflective time and write down everything you can remember about the interview.

Record the questions you were asked and your responses. What there anything you left out? Or did you say anything you wish you hadn’t?

Might you have dressed differently? Or prepared more questions to ask them?

Here is a self-scoring tool that will help you with this analysis. For each of these ten statements, rate yourself on a scale of 1 – 10 and add any comments that will help you in future interviews:

  1. I felt confident during the introductions and icebreaker (_____ /10)
  2. I made a good first impression (_____ /10)
  3. I dressed appropriately for the setting (_____ /10)
  4. I answered their questions fully (____ /10)
  5. I asked meaningful questions of them (____ /10)
  6. By the end of the interview, I had made every point I wanted to make (____ /10)
  7. My body language conveyed the messages I wanted conveyed (____ /10)
  8. My closing, wrap-up comments were suitable (____ /10)
  9. I know what the next steps are (____ /10)
  10. I sent a follow-up thank you note (____ / 10)

TOTAL SCORE (_____ / 100)

Final note: Being completely honest with yourself will help you isolate your interviewing strengths and weaknesses so that you will only get better at future interviews.