The BEST Way To Prepare For An Interview

October 15, 2016

interview5First of all, when you land an interview, give yourself a hearty congratulations – you deserve it! You made it to the short list. My philosophy is that if they’ve called you for an interview, they like you 75% of the way. They like the facts and figures they’ve read about you. Now the only remaining factor is to see if your brand, personality and style will be a fit with the organization.


Give off a confident flair during this interview. Confidence is sexy. One of the best ways to demonstrate confidence is to approach the interview as if it’s a normal conversation – back and forth – with BOTH people {yeah, that means YOU} asking questions and giving answers. Remind yourself during the back-and-forth that you deserve to be there. Also, tell yourself this: the interviewer wants you to be the answer to his or her problem; the interviewer does not feel like engaging in a couple dozen interviews. They want to bring all this to a successful conclusion the exact same way you do.



Here’s why you’re treating the interview like a conversation among colleagues (which you are; in most cases you’re colleagues in the same industry). A conversational stance detracts from the stance most people take on: that of being under the hot white police interrogation lights – NO! It’s a volley. Every time you answer a question, ask one of your own. It goes without saying the questions should not be 100% self-serving, so nothing about vacations or flex time, etc., at least not in the 1st or 2nd interviews.


It’s important to come armed with your own set of questions. Write them down and put them on a yellow legal pad inside a nice leather (or pleather) portfolio. You don’t have to hide the fact that you have notes. Here are some perfectly intelligent questions to bring to the table:


► What kinds of processes are in place to help me work collaboratively?


► In what area could your team use a little polishing?


► What’s the most important thing I can accomplish in the first 60 days?


► Am I going to be a mentor or will I be mentored?


► How will you judge my success? What will have happened six months from now that will demonstrate that I have met your expectations?


All of those questions envision you in the role, which is a perfectly reasonable vision to articulate.


And, very important, towards the end of the interview, ask some key questions so you don’t walk out and spend the next several days wondering:


☑ Now that we’ve talked about my qualifications and the job, do you have any concerns about my being successful in this position?


☑ This job sounds like something I’d really like to do—is there a fit here?


☑ When is the anticipated starting date for this position?


☑ What is the next step in the hiring process?


☑ When can I expect to hear back?


☑ Whom should I reach out to if I have any further questions?



You’ll feel confident, like you’ve entered that particular workplace, to conduct a business meeting.


Another fantastic approach to interview preparation is to plan the key stories you want to tell. And remember: you’re there to give your message, whether or not you are asked. So, the same way you have your interview questions ready…make sure you have your key stories ready.


Pro tip: write down your stories in bullet format, not in an entire paragraph. That way, it will be easier to glance down and be reminded of what you want to say, without having it look like you’re reading.


Stories have 3 parts: beginning, middle, and end. Keeping this in mind will help you to not ramble on too long or get mired in too much detail. Your stories should tell a) the original scenario; b) specifically what you did; and c) the positive results that came from it.


Preparation beforehand is the key. Preparation puts you at ease. When you’re at ease, you come off as natural and likable. That’s a winning interview strategy.

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