Mastering the Art of Interview Preparation

Job interview prep can be daunting. Many candidates find themselves at a crossroads, unsure of where to begin. Everyone has a different approach, but a little prep could be the difference between getting the offer and coming in second place.

Crafting Your Narrative: A Concise and Compelling Pitch

At the heart of effective preparation is the ability to construct a brief yet compelling narrative. In a span of one to two minutes, formulate a pitch that captures the interviewer’s attention, weaving together your personal and professional journey. The ubiquitous question, “Tell me about yourself,” is not an open invitation for lengthy self-discussion or linguistic stumbling. Instead, it’s an opportunity to clearly articulate your identity, motivations, and notable achievements.

The STAR Method: A Structured Approach to Behavioral Interview Questions

The STAR Method is a valuable tool to prep and give your interview a structured approach, without feeling robotic. You can prepare a few responses that can be tailored to different questions in how you deliver.

  • Situation: Describe a specific situation, problem, or event concisely.
  • Task: Outline the end goal you were working towards.
  • Action: Detail the actions you specifically took.
  • Result: Emphasize the outcome, showcasing personal successes or lessons learned.

Thorough Research: The Foundation of a Well-Informed Interview

Explore the company’s website, scrutinize its social media platforms, and conduct a recent news search. Familiarize yourself with the job description, aligning your experiences with the nuanced responsibilities. Investigate the profiles of the interviewers on LinkedIn and peruse the company’s “About Us” section.

The Art of Asking Thoughtful Questions: A Two-Way Street

Asking thoughtful questions is a crucial aspect of the interview process- this is where you can shine. Quality surpasses quantity, and a lack of questions can convey unpreparedness or disinterest, potentially impacting your candidacy. Aim to be curious about the role, the company, and the interviewer. Engage in active listening, and weave aspects of your experience and achievements into your questions.

Here are a few thought-starters:

Specific to the role:

  • What does success look like for this role. How is it measured?
  • What will the first 60-90 days look like in this role?
  • What are the most important projects this person will be responsible for?
  • Would you recommend this role to a friend?
  • Is there anything specific in my resume that caught your eye that you would like me to tell you more about?

Specific to the team:

  • What are the biggest challenges you are currently facing? How can this role help?
  • For a managerial role: What areas are most important for the team’s development? (Be prepared to discuss your management approach as well).
  • What has turnover been like on the team in the last 3 years?
  • Is the team collaborative or more focused on their specific areas of expertise?
  • What cross-functional relationships are most important to this role?

Specific to the company:

  • What are you most excited about in relation to the company’s future? (feel free to get more specific here related to a new product launch or upcoming change)
  • What types of people thrive here?
  • How does the company support professional development?
  • How do you acknowledge employee success?
  • What is your employee review process and cycle?
  • What is your onboarding approach for your new team members?
  • Can you provide examples of the company commitment to DEIB?
  • Can you provide examples of how you support WLB and employee wellbeing?
  • Has the company changed significantly since you joined?

Interviewing can be stressful, but a little prep goes a long way.

We’ve all interviewed. We’ve crushed interviews, we’ve flopped, we’ve crushed it when we thought we’ve flopped, and everything in between. You might get a question that throws you off and you think you blew it. You can get back on track!

The prep time is not only intended to help you shine, but also remove some of the stress and give you the confidence you need to go in and crush it.