“Train hard, fight easy” is an expression that military members across Canada, and perhaps even further abroad are familiar with.
The expression means that if you train for as many likely possibilities as you can imagine, then when it comes time to put that training into action in real life, you’ll be ready. So ready, that the real life experience will seem easy by comparison.
You may have noticed this during your studies. For example, when taking math class in high school. The more of the practice questions you complete while taking a math course, generally the easier it is to write math exams. This is because math teachers will often save themselves time and effort by selecting questions from the text book for their exams. If your practice included doing more questions than assigned as homework, chances are you’ll have completed some of the exam questions ahead of time.
Preparing for job interviews is the same thing! If you practice answering potential interview questions, then it will be easier when it comes time to answer strangers during the actual interview.
Many interviewers, like math teachers, pull standard questions from their portfolio, when preparing for interviews.
Here are four tips to help you get the most out of your interview practices:
- Research common questions for the types of job you aspire to have
- Draft answers to these common questions, using “So What?” stories as much as possible
- Practice with someone who can give you live, instant feedback
Researching potential questions on your own can give you insight into why these questions are being asked, and what sorts of answers the interviewers are likely looking for. Here are a few resources which can help you find practice questions.
Worktable has many fabulous articles to help, such as https://resources.workable.com/tutorial/faq-interview-process
Glassdoor Canada includes a section called Interview questions
You can also use Boolean search strings, to help narrow down you search for questions.
Sometimes employers ask questions they shouldn’t, this article gives great hints on how to respond https://globalnews.ca/news/3515774/6-job-interview-questions-potential-employers-are-not-allowed-to-ask-and-how-to-handle-them/
Even though you may have read answers during your research, take the time to draft your own answers. I recommend using “So What?” stories from your lived experience, at work, in volunteer roles, and your education. This can also include your experience playing sports or enjoying your hobbies. All your experiences contribute to your ability to problem solve and bring value to your workplace.
For tips on “So What?” stories read Job Search Tips #3
Once you’ve drafted your answers, practicing them on your own will help. Practicing with someone else asking you the questions, and then responding to your answers live (phone, video, in person) is even more effective!
You can practice with a friend, a family member, a colleague, your current supervisor, or a professional career coach. The more interviewing knowledge and experience the person you practice with has, the more effective their feedback will be.
Remember “Train hard, fight easy?” The more you practice, the easier it will be when it’s time to complete your Job Interview!
When you apply for different jobs, do additional research to find more appropriate questions, draft answers for those questions, and practice answering them with a live person, for immediate feedback.
Closing Thoughts and Gratitude
I’m grateful for the opportunity to share networking tips with military members and their families as they prepare for life after military service.
This blog was inspired by the chat during a virtual SCAN seminar held at 8 Wing Trenton on Tuesday October 5, 2021.
I offer career transition advice as a service. Later this Fall, I’ll also be launching an online accessible on demand course to help people help themselves through career transitions.