Ten-Step Interview Prep Guide

1. Do Extensive Research on the Company. Make sure you have an educated answer to the question, “what do you know about us?”

You should thoroughly research the company you are interviewing with, as you want to make sure you understand the business and anticipate the kinds of questions the interviewer may ask. Proper research would include the following:

  • Do a Google search on the company.
  • Review the company’s website (especially the “About Us,” “Team,” and “Products” sections of the site).
  • Review press releases from the company.
  • Read over the company’s blog if it has one.
  • Review press articles available about the company.
  • Review the people who are interviewing you online/LinkedIn
  • Review the company’s LinkedIn page.
  • Review information about the company’s competitors.
  • Tap into your network of contacts to gain company insight

2. Anticipate Questions You Might Be Asked

It’s important to think early on about the types of questions that may be asked of you. Prepare an articulate and polished response. You don’t want to be caught off-guard by any questions.

These types of general interview questions are often asked:

  • Can you tell me about yourself? What do you know about our company?
  • Why are you thinking about leaving your current job?
  • What interests you about this job? Can you describe your work style?
  • What do you consider to be your greatest strength? What do you find to be your weaknesses?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What are your salary requirements?
  • Is there anything we didn’t cover that you want to add? Do you have any questions for me? (always have questions)
  • Why should we hire you?

 **You should not bring up salary, but if you are asked about it, state “I am open to a fair offer based on my experience and the requirements of the position”. Talk to your recruiter about what to say if this response is met with more interrogation.

3.  Conduct a Mock Interview

Consider doing a practice interview with friends or family members (especially if they have experience interviewing employees themselves). The practice will be helpful and give you more confidence. Ask for feedback on your answers, your body language, and your preparedness. Have the mock interviewer ask both common questions as well as unusual ones to see how well you can think on your feet.

4.  Use the Company’s Products or Services

If you can, you should test and use the company’s products or services—no matter what role for which you are interviewing. This will help you prepare for any questions about these products or services that may come up in the interview. It will also show your interviewer that you went an extra step in preparing for the interview.

It might also be useful to check-in with customers of the company, to see how they view the product or service and take note of any constructive feedback they might have.

5.  Ask Insightful Questions

Ask goal-oriented, big picture, problem-solving type questions. Avoid the “what’s in it for me” type questions like salary or benefits. Be a problem solver.

6. Dress Appropriately for the Interview

You want to dress appropriately and professionally for the job interview. It usually won’t hurt to dress more formally for your interview than you would on the job. If you have a contact who works for the employer, ask them about the general dress code. Show up neat and groomed. When in doubt, go more professional than not. A dark, sharp, conservative suit is ideal.

7. Arrive Early and Prepared for the Interview

Make sure to arrive at the interview on time (you don’t want the first impression of you to be of a person who can’t be on time)—download directions in advance. Anticipate traffic delays, get there early (but don’t show up on the company’s doorsteps more than 15 minutes early). 7 to 10 minutes early is perfect. Make sure to turn off your cell phone, so it doesn’t ring or buzz during the interview. FOCUS on the meeting, not your phone!

8.  Bring Enough Copies of Resume

You should bring enough copies of your resume for each person you might meet and then bring two more. Have references handy but you can wait to see if they ask for them.

9.  Get Business Cards and Close

Ask for cards from everyone you meet with. Close each meeting, go after it. Ask for the next step. If it is a decision-maker, explain why you are a fit and why you are interested and ask what the next step is. If the person is not the main decision-maker, explain why you are a fit and why you are interested and that you look forward to working with them.

10. Follow up within 24 hours.

Send an email to all interviewers in a separate email for each. Please make it a personal, one to one email and a) thank them b) mention something they mentioned during the meeting c) explain why you are interested d) explain why you are a fit e) say you look forward to the next steps.  

 

The 4 A’s to interviewing

Appearance: Dress for success and conduct yourself in a professional manner

Attitude: Stay upbeat, high energy, great attitude, say nothing but positive things about any employers or coworkers you have had. Be a breath of fresh air

Aptitude: Ask meaningful, goal-oriented questions about their goals and needs. Then draw a correlation toward these needs based on how you can help them.

Ask for it: Go after it, ask for the next step. Make sure they know you want it.

 

Call your recruiter after your interview and be prepared to answer questions about your interest level and obstacles.