Having a great personality, work ethic, work expertise and experience that perfectly matches what a potential employer needs to sustain and grow her/his business, seems to be the perfect list of ingredients to “ace” an interview and to get a job. Yet, we are left to wonder why they so often select lesser “qualified” candidates. There are of course many valid potential reasons, and sadly, it may be because the more qualified candidate did not interview well. In this section we go beyond the obvious guidance, for example: “be confident, know as much as you can about the company and position, good eye contact, positive attitude,” because the obvious is not enough. You must take a deeper look at: 1-possible “self-sabotage,” 2-how you establish rapport, and 3-how you demonstrate your value. There is so much more to being prepared, confident, and showing up well than exists in the guidance you will find among friends, human resources, networking groups, or recruiters. 

It is helpful to consider three phases to your preparation for interviewing: 1- preparation and mastering your interviewing tools, 2 – practicing mock interviews and learning from each practice, and 3 – following up each interview with specific action items. Please join us at our Josephs People Chapter Meetings to get more insights and answers to your specific questions regarding how you prepare for your interviews.   

Preparation and Mastering Interview Tools  

There are many interviewing tools that you want to not only develop, but master; know your tools inside and out so that you actually use them during interviews.   

Written Tools

  • Resume, summary of your accomplishments and the strengths that were keys to success.   
  • A well-crafted introduction that you can use in networking and interviewing conversations, part of letters of introduction, transmittal letters that accompany an application, and even used in thank you letters following networking conversations and interviews.
  • Your networking structure (filing, tracking, planning) networking cards, resume, other material that may be associated with demonstrating your value:   references, portfolio of work, publication list, letters of recommendation, certificates and licenses.
  • Research summary: e.g., what you know about company, title/roles, and industry.

Verbal Tools

  • Your greeting, introduction, and how your relate to others
  • Your questions on connectivity and requests for warm referrals during networking conversations
  • How you express your accomplishments and value – impact you created, what you enjoy, your strengths, and what you are exploring
  • Your responses to anticipated interview questions and the questions you ask during interviews
  • Expressions of gratitude and appreciation
  • Practice – Practice – Practice active listening and listening for “How you can help”

Practicing Mock Interviews

  • Practice “walking through interviews” and get accustomed to hearing yourself introduce yourself, answering and asking questions, and reflecting on how much value you demonstrated in the mock interview
  • Record yourself, watch and learn, it takes many practice runs to become competent in interviewing, and that is how you build confidence
  • Find someone who will play the part of an interviewer and repeat practice runs.

Interview Follow-up

  • After each interview, while the experience is “fresh” write out: 
    • What information did you glean from the interview?
    • What value did you express during the interview?
    • What questions were asked and their answers, by them, by you?
    • On a scale of 1 – 10, what are your impressions of working for the organization and similarly, how well do you think they related to you, how valuable do believe you would be to them?  
    • Did anything come up specifically that you base your ratings above?
    • Were there anything that came up that might get in the way of you joining this organization?
  • Mark on your calendar what the next steps are and when?
  • Write and send thank you note to those who you met during interview

Interviewing and Interviewing Skills