Preparing for Interviews

Interview Prep is like Lifting Weights

There are people who (successfully) fly by the seat of their pants day in and day out for most of their adult lives. While we don’t recommend it, it works for some folks. These folks may thrive off of the insecurity of knowing what’s next, and how they might be able to adapt on the fly.

Needless to say, when it comes to interviewing for a new job, this is rarely a good idea.  Preparation is critical. You could look at interview preparation like lifting weights - you have to get your body in shape for the event first.


Think of it this way, the things you can answer most effectively (as a job seeker), are based on familiarity and comfort/expertise in the areas you know best.  If you’re not familiar with something or as comfortable, things don’t always go so well. Answers tend to have a lot of ums, ahs, and ‘I don’t knows.’ Not the picture of confidence (in the interviewer’s eyes or ears). Candidates who prepare for interviews generally go through steps such as the ones below.

  • Research the company you’re applying to. Get online and visit their main sites, perhaps even subsidiary sites. Look into the “About” and “Meet our Team” type of links so you start to get a sense of who they are. Certainly understand the basics of their products and services.  If you have to understand their competition (for understanding), that will be helpful, but probably not essential for the first level interview.
  • Review the performance duties and responsibilities for position. Think of successful situations where your previous experience applies directly to those duties. Make sure these aren’t just one-off situations where you did something here or there. The employer is listing it as a core responsibility, so you should certainly have multiple occasions to draw on.
  • Prepare questions to ask the interviewer.  You may not get through all of them, but you should definitely go into an interview prepared to ask questions.  We came across these 10 Interview Questions You Should Never Ask (and 5 You Always Should) (written by Kristine Solomon of LearnVest) recently and they provided a nice background on things to consider.  Some of them are left to interpretation, but they all help you consider what the interviewer is thinking. The point is, you should think about the interviewers perspective on what comes out of your mouth (question or answer) vs. what you think it says about you.
  • Rehearse. You hear about sales people, or public eye people, practicing their statements in front of a mirror – it’s not a horrible idea.  Knowing what your facial expressions or body language says about you can be very helpful.  For example, when you sit – are you a sit back and cross your legs person, or sit up attentively with great posture.  What do you think those say about a candidate sitting down with a potential employer?

All of these are food for thought as you prepare yourself for interviews in general. Whether or not you think it’s completely necessary, the company you’re interviewing with thinks it’s necessary. They expect to see someone who’s done their homework, prepared, and comes in showing that. To them, it’s a great reflection of how you’ll handle your workload for them. Remember, this interview is about their need to fill a position, not your need to find a job.

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