Interviewing can be a stressful situation for anyone especially for those in the Autism Spectrum. However it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips, which I call the 3 P’s of Interviewing, you can use when preparing for your next interview.
Most people don’t prepare for an interview. Preparing for an interview means figuring out the logistics before the day of the interview. As soon as I find out the details like time, date, location, and person I’ll be meeting with, I start preparing. I make sure I clear out my calendar a couple of hours before and after so I won’t be rushed, I figure out how I will be getting to the interview (uber, drive myself, get a ride, or take bus), the best routes to get there, and start doing research on the job, company, AND the person I’ll be meeting with. Many people forget that you need to build rapport with the interviewer so having a good idea of who they are, how long they’ve worked at their current company, and their career history (all things easily found on LinkedIn) can mean the difference between an offer letter or a rejection email.
Which brings me to...
A quick Google search can help you find interview questions that you can use to practice. All you have to do is search “Interview Questions” + “Name of Company” and you’ll find the most common interview questions asked by that company.
The next step is to write out your answers. Most people “practice” interview questions in their heads, however they never develop the answer. This gets them in trouble during the interview because all they practice were the high points and not the details that make up a good answer.
Once you’ve written out your answers, practice out loud with a partner. This can help you figure out if your answer makes sense and if it gets the point across. Your interview partner can also give you feedback on your body language and tone of voice.
Don’t worry about memorizing a “script”. You should focus on making sure your answers portray the real you and match up to the job description.
Positive (as in “Stay Positive”)
A “No” doesn’t mean “Never”. It just means “Not right now.” Use this opportunity to reach out and ask for feedback from the interviewer to learn where you can improve. Most companies will provide feedback if you use the template below:
Send it directly to the people who you met with.
I've used this same exact email several years ago and I still think this last interaction with them made such a good impression that they called me back to offer me a new position literally 30 days later.
You can use that feedback when you prepare for your next interview. When you receive the response, a simple "Thank you for the feedback. I'll take this into account as I prepare for my other interviews." shows that you appreciate their input and that there aren't any hard feelings further cementing in their brains that you're a great candidate.
“Thank you once again for taking the time to meet with me yesterday. It looks like I was passed up for the NAME OF ROLE at NAME OF COMPANY, which is unfortunate but there is always a way to make a situation into a learning experience. As such, I would please ask that you provide me with any feedback you may have regarding our meeting and how I can improve in order to make a better impact either with NAME OF COMPANY or any other company I interview with in the future. I look forward to hearing from you.
When they respond, reply with this:
“Thank you for the feedback. I'll take this into account as I prepare for my other interviews
Remember, finding a job you love is making sure you find something that fits your needs as much as them finding someone that fits theirs. Make sure to test different approaches to find the one that best fits your skills and abilities.