For today’s #takemebacktuesday, we revisit a few thoughts on successful interview preparation.
Candidates often ask us for interview advice. There is a wealth of good advice available everywhere these days – just try googling “interview advice” and see how many links pop up! Here are 3 valuable ideas anyone can use to prepare for an interview.
1. 30/60/90. If you are meeting with the hiring manager you might get a question about what you would do during the first months on the job. Take hints from the job description and recent company news to prepare what your 30, 60 and 90 day plan might look like. Some people find this a difficult question because they feel they don’t have enough information. However, not answering would look really bad. The interviewer is just asking you to give it your best shot, not commit to a business plan.
2. Working with Leadership. If you are applying for a job that is a clear step up in your career, you might be asked about the amount of exposure you’ve had to senior leadership. If you have acted as an advisor to executives, then the answer should come easily. But if you are at an earlier stage of your career, or have worked in organizations with inaccessible leadership, you will have to be more creative. Think about projects or events where your work might have had direct contact with senior staff, or perhaps you worked with C-level people in an association, alumni organization or as a volunteer. The interviewer wants to know that you have the self-confidence to work effectively with senior management.
3. Industry Experience. If you’re applying for a job in a new industry or at an agency with a different set of clients, you’ll probably be asked about the relevance of your experience. Make sure to research the company and the industry carefully and find all the connection points between you and them. They might come from a course you took in college or even from volunteering. The interviewer just wants to feel comfortable that you’ll be able to perform in their space.
Question the questioner.
Don’t forget that basic rule of interviewing – ask questions. This is your opportunity to interview the company as well. Prepare smart, strategic questions in advance and listen for the answers during the interview. Those answers will help you frame your responses and gain information about the opportunity and the company. Don’t be shy about asking the interviewer to elaborate when something comes up that you want to hear more about. It will not only get you the information you need to make a decision, it will also show that you have strong interest in the role and the company.
Interviews make many candidates anxious but they don’t have to. If you prepare, you will have set yourself up for interview success.