How to Prepare for the Interview

Preparing for the interview is the most important task you can do to position yourself where you can land the role for which you are applying. How thoroughly you prepare will set you apart from the legions of candidates out there. It is suggested that you allot a solid 5-10 hours minimum preparing for the interview practicing interviewing tactics, familiarizing yourself with probable questions/answers, and knowing all you can about yourself and your experience. On top of that, you want to spend 3-5 hours researching the company, position and the hiring managers. Don’t wing it. A professional interviewer will be able to determine if you have done your homework or not.

What to Research?

The Company:

  • Company Website – About Us, Management, and Career Page
  • Google – where does the company show up? What is currently being said about them?
  • Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn – for current corporate culture information.
  • Hoovers/WSJ.com/Fortune.com/EdgarOnline/Dun & Bradstreet – for current news, corporate information and financials
  • Industry Specific Resources & Trade Publications

The Background of the Interviewer(s):

  • LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter
  • Professional: background, achievements, education and experiences
  • Personal: Hobbies, Family, Interests, etc…
  • What do you have in common? School? Interests? Keep it professional

The role for which you are interviewing:

  • Ask for a copy of the job description (this could be different than the ad posted)
  • Google the job title for duties and responsibilities
  • Vault.com – has interviewing tips on specific job titles/industries
  • Industry specific websites offer job responsibility information—make sure you understand what is being required for the job in terms of duties, achievements, and responsibilities.
  • Look an LinkedIn for other people with similar titles and network

What to know about YOU?

Your Resume

  • Ensure understand each bullet and term listed on your resume instinctively. Do not memorize it—synthesize it into your knowledge base.
  • Be able to communicate how your experience, academic training and talents listed on your resume mimic what the employer is requiring of the candidate hired for the job.

Your Goals

  • Write down your career goals – what you want and don’t want in a career. Be sure they are well defined and practice communicating them with confidence.
  • Be sure your goals and the related timeframes associated with completing them are realistic. Check with a trusted colleague, mentor or friend to ensure your achievement timeframe is realistic. Coming across as realistic is a sign of experience and maturity, two traits you want to convey on an interview.
  • Be prepared to discuss your motivation behind these goals. Employers want to see when things get tough, you will persevere in the job due to deep rooted motivators.

Your Characteristics and Traits

  • TELL A STORY: Have examples ready from your professional life to demonstrate realistically your desired work ethic, integrity and ambition and other traits desired by the target company. Telling a story works so much more effectively than simply saying “I have integrity.”

Your Challenges

  • Be prepared to handle challenging, and even downright negative, questions about you, your experience and your manager/co-workers. Here is a secret: We all have them…so those that can speak most comfortably and diplomatically about them and can demonstrate how they learned from these mistakes/situations win the game…are you going to win?
  • Where have you made mistakes and learned from them?
  • What decision have you made recently that did not work out as you planned?
  • Tell me about working on a project with a difficult co-worker…what was the outcome?

Knowing your background, skills and talents is the best way to communicate to hiring managers how you are right for the job. Armed with strong knowledge of yourself coupled with research about the job, company and culture, you will be able to show how you are the right match for the job. This is an investment in yourself. You are worth it.


Guest Expert:

Lisa Rangel, PHR (Professional in Human Resources), is the Managing Director of Chameleon Resumes and a graduate of Cornell University. She knows first-hand what resumes hiring managers respond to and from what interviews companies make hires resulting from her 13+ years experience recruiting for international recruitment organizations and boutique search firms. Lisa can show candidates which resume formats and interview tactics she and her corporate clients have responded to when recruiting top-notch candidates. She has written resumes, prepared candidates for interviews and performed job search coaching for professionals ranging from executive to entry-level to returning to work in marketing, sales, legal, accounting, finance, administrative, hospitality, healthcare, education, public service, human resources, technology, management, scientific and public relations disciplines spanning across a multitude of industries and corporate cultures.

Lisa is a member of Society of Human Resources Management, Human Resources Association of New York, and Professional Association of Resumes Writers and Career Coaches. She has been featured on Fox Business News, Good Morning America for Keith Ferrazzi’s “Who’s Got Your Back?” book launch, HeelsConnect.com and Mom-entum Resources.

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