Now that you've completed the separation basics and set up your LinkedIn Account, you're hopefully getting ready to practice for some interviews or maybe even getting calls to set some up. If you're like me however, your last job interview might have been in high school, or not at all. So where do you look?
One of the best resources I found was a company called Candorful. They're a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides virtual face-to-face job interview practice to transitioning military, veterans, and military spouses (for free!). Signing up is easy and once you're signed up you'll meet with one of their senior interviewers to discuss your background and goals for the practice interviews. In my case I met with Pat Hubbell shortly after registering. I downloaded the Zoom app on my phone and was ready to do my first virtual meeting, or so I thought. A pro tip from someone who made the mistake before, when you're practicing for professional meetings, don't hold your phone in your hand and talk. Either buy a stand or better yet use your computer's web camera. No matter how steady you think your hands are, the camera will move and be distracting, plus it just gets tiring after a while. I explained my short timeline until separation and that I was hopeful to have a first round of interviews at any time. Pat explained that they generally like for you to do three practice interviews within about a week timeframe and with different interviewers. This allows you to improve the quickest while your feedback from each interview is fresh, and allows you to see several different styles and types of questions. With over 65 interviewers there's a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. I structured my three interviews so that there was only one veteran and he was from a different service than me. With my three interviews scheduled I began to do a little prep. I practiced using the PAR method (Problem, Action, Results, if you're not familiar) and made sure to have a professional outfit ready for the day-of. You'll need to upload your resume and you have the option to upload a prospective job listing (if known) prior to the interview as well. During my first interview I practiced some common questions as well as got some resume feedback. After each interview they'll do a feedback session during the Zoom call and answer any questions you may have from the practice interview. Following your meeting they will send a feedback form that rates everything from voice, body language and appearance to quality of content and follow on questions. The following two interviews helped me feel much more prepared and confident in my ability to interview. Following my three Candorful interview sessions I was contacted for an interview with a company a week later. I was able to set up one more practice interview with a Candorful interviewer who worked for that company. I was also able to send over the new job description to Candorful to better tailor the practice. I left that meeting feeling very confident in my ability. After interviewing with the HR rep and hiring manager via phone it was several weeks before I heard back (not uncommon) and they wanted to move forward with an in-person interview. During that time I interviewed with the company that I currently work for (a phone interview with the CEO, COO, and CTO) and felt very prepared by my Candorful preparation. Candorful allowed me to be ready when the right opportunity presented itself. If you're actively job searching or soon will be, you don't know when that right opportunity will come along, prepare now. Don’t wait. And don’t wait until the last minute to go through the Candorful process. Give yourself time to truly absorb your learning before you move into your real interview. But what if you've made the transition and are happily employed? You can donate to help ensure these services continue to be provided. Donate HERE. Are you very experienced conducting job interviews and making hiring decisions? Looking to help military and veteran families? Able to commit to at least 2 hours a week doing practice interviews? Reach out to Candorful HERE and see about becoming an interviewer. If you're looking for some books I recommend on interview preparation and job searching check them out on my Reading List. If you liked this first resource post be sure to let me know in the comments below and make sure to share with anyone who could benefit. Be sure to subscribe for my newsletter launching in 2021 and as always own your journey!