Prepare Yourself for the Interview


Leverage your past for future success

Preparing for the interview is either considered a daunting task or taken with little seriousness.  However, one of the top 10 errors candidates make, per Gallup Poll, is little preparation about the company, job and industry.  To show your interest and to get prepared try the following steps:  

·       Research the company, the industry and individuals you may know or have connection to within the organization.  This also includes checking out individuals that may be on the interview panel or contributors in the process.  For those you know invite them to coffee to get further intel about the organization.  Learn the good, bad and ugly before you go in if you can make these determinations. 

·       Know what the “must haves”, “requirements”, “will be responsible for”, or other key parts of the job description mean.  Be able to tell a story that will show your success and activity in each area. 

·       Develop your stories in a RATS format so that you hook the listener with the Results first, develop the story on the Actions you took, then follow through telling about the Tasks and Situation that led to this success.  Practice each story and edit to 2 minutes or less.  Focus the story in telling the Why, What and How verses the Who, Where and When.

·       Know the history of the company from start to finish, including owners, stock price, down-turns and up-turns in the business.  Prepare questions on significant up-turns so you are viewed as a candidate with real interest, not just in for an interview. 

·       Know the Values, Mission and Vision of the organization.  It is vital you can denote what each is and how your values meet with the organization’s.  If you do not understand or buy-into the mission and vision you will be uncomfortable which may lead to failure or at least an unhappy work place.

·       Have your “Tell me about yourself” answer ready to go.  It is best to have some very key info in this statement which will peak interest about you and your past successes.  Be prepared to tell two things about yourself that is significant and likeable, tell two or three results of success you have achieved and then be prepared to ask a question.  A sample question could be, “Tell me what two things I would be required to do to be successful in this job?”  The point is to get the interviewer to tell you something that will allow you to turn the interview into a conversation whereby info is more easily exchanged. It also gives you key parts the interviewer thinks are significant for success.  You can then keep bringing up your strengths and past successes to drive home the point that you are the right person for the job.

·       Make sure you are dressed for success with clean, unwrinkled clothes.  Shine your shoes, make sure your clothes have not tears or missing buttons.  Get a haircut and for men… please shave unless you have an established beard.  Look sharp and act energetic. 

·        Be brave and be bold.  No one wants to hire an Eeyore so cast off the feelings of being unsure, uneasiness, sadness and self-doubt.  Put on your gear to go into battle for this new job as this is a true battle and you must prepare for the fight to the win. 

Good Hunting,

Kathy Goodin-Mitchell, MS, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Career Leverage Advisors