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Interview Preparation

Interview Preparation

interview_preparationYou’ve begged for the interview now you’ve got the appointment.  An interview can be daunting and the more you want the position the more you want to be prepared.  If your support team is missing in action or you need more prep than they can give contact us and we’ll guide you through the preparation steps.  Here are tips to get you ready to shine in the moment!

Interview Preparation
In short prepare for the interview and show up.  Period and there is no other advice needed but only if you want the job.  If not then don’t waste your time or theirs.  Interviewing is about the relationship you want to develop with your new employer.  What you want to show is how you’ll perform for them.  How will you come to the table as an employee?   Will you be the kind who needs to be lead to the next step?  Or are you inventive with a lot to contribute, wants to dig in and get things done.  If you’re the former then show up.   If you’re the latter then do your homework.


  1. Be able to answer questions
  2. Show them some of your work
  3. Research the company
  4. Research the position
  5. Be prepared to ask questions
  6. Get your three talking points
  7. Ask for the job

Be able to answer the questions
Get someone to ask you questions you need to be able to answer.  Then listen to the answer and do another one.  I had a group of engineers who hadn’t looked for work in decades form panels to interview each other when their program ended.   They all landed jobs or segued to the next stage in their career.

Use a format that you can remember.  An example of a model includes; situation, action and results.  That means for every question you’ll need an example of how you have done that type of work before.  And in that work you find a situation that needed your attention, the action you took and the results you or your team realized.   This is definitely needs preparation.  Do it.

Make notes on the question so you can track back to ensure you’re answering the right question.  Ask permission to take notes.

Oh and here’s the glitch, don’t go on and on.  Be succinct.  But tell them enough.  That’s why you have to practice.  So you listen to what you’re saying and can affect a directional change if need be.

Show them your work
People love to look at something besides you.  Now if you’re a graphic artist showing them your work is simple because you’ve been building a portfolio your entire career.  If you do marketing show the logos of brands you created or affected or product you influenced or power point prezzos or well, you get the idea.  If you’re financial you may want to give them a feel for the complexity or intensity or dynamic nature of the spreadsheets you manage.  Put some effort into this to show them you have skin in the game.

Do NOT give out proprietary information regarding competitive information or ideas or data.  Nobody wants their information shared.  Use the right discretion with other people’s data.

If you’re stuck on what to show them, make a one sheet on you.  Ask us for an example.

Research the company
They’ll know if you don’t know much about the company.  People inside an organization think everything they know is public domain.  Go figure.  So if you want the job go on the website and study their mission, vision, values, initiatives and anything you can find out.  If you have time set up a google alert to get information sent to you.  If it’s a public company you’ll find a lot of good stuff out there.  This process could take a couple hours so don’t short change your opportunity by skipping this.

Research the position
Get out the job description.  Read it.  Now read it and circle key words.  Make sure you have examples of how you handled those issues before.  If you don’t have experience in that particular challenge or job task, think through how you would approach the problem with a clear path.  Think about how the mission, vision or values of the company might impact your approach

Be prepared to ask questions
Make a list of questions you would like to know.   Add questions that they would like you be interested in and questions that show you know the industry, company or position.  But don’t be a dope about how you ask the question.  And don’t touch controversial issues unless they bring it up.

Get your three talking points
In panic mode when you’re winding down a path and you’ve forgotten where you were going.  You’ll need to regain your composure by going back to these three talking points.   The truth is no one wants to interview prospective employees they want them to magically appear and do the work.  Guide them to what you’re offering.

Know your strengths.  Period.  Tell them your strengths.  Three is memorable in any situation.  And each time you practice touch the corresponding finger to that strength.  That will help evoke the strength when you’re stumped.

How do you identify talking points?  Ask yourself what do you love doing?  What’s your favorite contribution to the team?  What could you do all day?   What does your team count on from you to contribute?  Make sure these are work related and have value to the employer and ideally they are specific to that role.

Ask for the job
Might sound corny or stupid but they want to know that you want to be there working for them in their company doing their work.  Nobody needs one more complacent employee waiting for something to happen.

Tell them about your excitement.  Ask for the job.   At least ask to identify next steps in the process.  Ask if there is any additional information that you can provide.   Ask how you can follow up with them.  Then do exactly as they say unless they say do nothing.

No matter at what level you’re interviewing, employers are hiring because they have problem they need solved.  You could be the solution to that problem so give them enough information to make the right decision for them and for you.

Now get to work!

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