You got the call, now be prepared. While we unfortunately can’t read minds, we’ll give you the next best thing: a list of the best interview preparation steps that you should know before walking into an interview. It is important that you are able to RISE to the TOP in an interview and stand out from your fiercest competition to land that job that you have dreaming about!
While we don’t recommend having a canned response for every interview question (in fact, please don’t), we do recommend spending some time getting comfortable with what you might be asked, what hiring committees are really looking for in your responses, and what it takes to show that you’re the right person for the job.
Read this 5 step guide that explains key ideas that you must prepare for any interview to show that you are the ready for that next role and are the perfect candidate for the position that you have always wanted.
Rise to the TOP in an Interview In 5 Easy Steps
Always the Opening Question: “Tell Me About Yourself…”
This is by far always the no.1 question that you will be asked, either as an actual question or just in genuine politeness to get the interview started. But this is the one question that you must prepare for and really shine. In preparation, go back to the beginning of your interest or experience in field that you are applying for. List out every position that you have held and analyze what you did to promote yourself to the next rank (no matter how small) and what you learned to get there. Create your opening response by starting with that first position and then leading the interview committee through a journey of your experience and how you grew in each role. Employers want to know that you are able to LEARN and GROW in the job, so share authentically share that journey and how it brought you to where you are today and why you are interviewing today. Most of the time, this journey conversation can answer a number of future questions that the interview committee might have and you will easily be able to provide natural reference using this answer to any of those questions.
Tell a Quantitative Story: The Numbers Don’t Lie!…
One of the most important things you can do, is speak truth and share the quantitative story about the measures of growth in your current or previous positions. It doesn’t matter what career field you are in, there are always data points that can be discussed. Make sure that you have this data and are able to EXPLAIN what the data means and the impact that you had on it. This quantitative story should be evidence for your proven success and/or areas that you want to have a greater impact in. These numbers will solidify your journey explained in the first step. Bring to the interview reports, graphs, data to share with the committee highlighting the most important numbers.
Speak Clearly & Articulate: Success does have a formula.
So you know your quantitative numbers, but can you clearly articulate the steps that you took to get to those numbers? Every data result has a formula. A process that was implemented…meaning…what was my goal? What steps did I take? What was the end result? Be able to ARTICULATE your proof and think about if you can replicate those steps again. Success does have a formula, so think about your action plan and how it could be applied to other scenarios with the organization that you are interviewing with. Organizations want to know what you can bring to the table…a successful results process or formula that you can articulate that they don’t already have in place.
Know & Own: Share Insightful Strengths & Weaknesses
You must be prepared to answer a question(s) about perceived strengths and weaknesses. Think about what these are before you go to your interview…be THOUGHTFUL and INSIGHTFUL with your response (not canned).
So let’s start with the strengths…when thinking about strengths, determine what they are, but also research the mission and vision of the organization and how your strengths support these goals. Think about sharing an example of when this area of strength supported you or the organization in your current role. Organizations are always looking to find candidates that they feel will “fit” into and respond positively in the climate and culture- your reflections on your strengths should support this notion.
Now for the areas of weakness, or the term that I like to coin, “areas to grow or improve”. Reflect and choose one or two areas. Use some of these sentence starters, “I struggle with…” or “I would like to continuously improve at…” Don’t use canned responses like “I work too hard” or “I care too much”- these are not reflective or insightful as to who you are and show no real capacity for growth. When sharing a weakness or an area to grow, not only should you identify what it is, but also outline what you have done to OVERCOME it…share a process of how you have addressed it and what you are currently doing to improve.
Know Your Worth: Be Confident but not Conceited
Before your interview, spend time researching the organization. Search its website, website reviews, and social media to truly understand what the organization stands for. Read and understand the mission and vision of the organization. Think about and be able to articulate the value that you bring to the organization. Based on research and history, how do you fit into what they would be looking for? On a less broader perspective, be position specific. Read back through the job profile that you are interviewing for. What VALUE will you bring to that role and what do you want to do in that role? Simply saying “I am a hard worker” or “I have always been good at…” is not enough. Be prepared to wow by sharing one or two objectives that can be qualitative, quantitative or team-related that you would bring should you be hired. This will show the interview committee that you have thought about the role and know how your value fits into improving the organization.
There are so many ways you can prepare for an interview. Outside of these prep ideas, you also have to think about what you plan to wear, what to bring, interview etiquette etc. But a prepared candidate will always outshine an unprepared candidate. This will be potentially your one shot to make that lasting first impression.
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Let me know in the comments some of your best interview preparation tips that have worked for you.