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Debrief after your job interview
July 23, 2013, 12:25 pm

A debriefing session after a job interview is a method of examining what was said, versus what might have been heard, in addition to identifying any red flags. Whatever is ultimately exposed during a debriefing session, you should plan to adapt into a new approach. Changing or developing new behaviors will take time to adjust to, so it is important to discover the needed improvements and work on them, long before the next interview. 

Consider the following strategies for a comprehensive debrief of your interviews:

Access behavior and responses: When debriefing an interview by yourself or with a friend, gauge the body language of the people in the room. Was there someone in particular who kept looking down when you spoke? Did you feel rushed by an interviewer? Could you see a l ook o f boredom o n someone's face? These things are important to acknowledge so that you can begin to dissect the reason behind it. Perhaps you were rushed because the interviewer felt your qualifications did not match the job description. Or, maybe the interviewer was unimpressed with your job skills because you didn't stress your achievements or spoke in general terms instead of specific accomplishments.

Record the entire interview: Immediately a fter t he interview ends, record what happened. Write down questions the interviewer asked you and your responses. Remember it all accurately — note down only your true responses and not what you should have answered. In doing this, you will be able to pinpoint where some of your answers fell flat and the other areas you could have expanded more in terms of education, skills, accomplishments or questions you could have asked to display your knowledge of the job.

Ask yourself questions: Think about the important parts of your resume, especially what the interviewer focused on. Did the conversation revolve too much around one position you held when there were others that deserved more attention? Was it apparent that you could not think of the right answer to a question or that you were exaggerating on skills or accomplishments? Be honest about your descriptions, figuring out where the interviewer lost interest and plan to do things differently next time.

Look inward: H ow d id y ou f eel w hile i nterviewing? W hat made you anxious or particularly relaxed during the interview? Maybe you were uneasy because you wore a suit and the company culture was casual. Think about your feelings and decide to make different choices for the next interview so that you are more relaxed and confident. Your manners and professionalism are also important. Did you remember to send a prompt thank you note?

Acknowledge your strong points: Give yourself praise for a job well done. You left samples of well-written articles, a portfolio of a successfully completed projects or files relevant to the job that the interviewer can appreciate, recognize this smart thinking. Also, identify impressive moments in your interview where you spoke fluently about your accomplishments through well-versed examples or demonstrated specific industry skills. These actions deserve commendation. 

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