Interview Preparation and Coaching

TOP 11 THINGS TO DO PRIOR TO YOUR INTERVIEW

  • Never underestimate your hiring official and always expect the unexpected.
  • Make a good first impression – dress accordingly, wearing clean, pressed and appropriate clothing.
  • Have the name and number of the person(s) you are meeting written down or in your phone.
  • Ask your recruiter or the hiring official if there is anything specifically tthat hey would like you to prepare.
  • Have 2-3 resumes with you, just in case they don’ t have one with them and more people attend the interview than what you were told.
  • Have a clear directions as to where the interview is being held, knowing how to get there and where to park.
  • Don’t forget to bring coins or cash if you need to pay for parking.
  • Be 15 minutes early – it allows you to assess the office and calm down before going in.
  • Ensure that you research the company online, reviewing their products and services, competitors, leadership group and history – anything that you can find.
  • If they have a mission or corporate values statement, make sure you review it.
  • Make note of the “language” they use on their website or via articles you find.  You may want to use similar “phraseology” or “keywords” when you are interviewed.

DON’T DO THIS IN AN INTERVIEW

  • Don’t go off topic
  • Don’t go on and on
  • Don’t keep using the same example or accomplishment when responding to questions
  • Don’t speak badly about past employers – stay above-board and have a well crafted message about why you are leaving or why you have left your most/current employer
  • Don’t lie – it will come back and bite you
  • Don’t interrupt the hiring official
  • Don’t over embellish your current earnings
  • Don’t bring up compensation or money unless asked by the interviewer

TOP 10 INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

  1. Tell Me About Yourself?
    Have your 30 Second Commercial or Elevator Speech ready and practiced aloud. This should include an overview of who you are as professional, including a brief outline of your career history and why you are interested in the opportunity. Ensure information you share is relevant to the job opportunity and that it gives them a taste of your accomplishments. Be careful about giving them personnel information about yourself as it may inadvertently work against you. Your 30 second commercial should elevate you and set the tone for the rest of the interview.
  2. What do you consider to be your top 3 career successes and why?
    Comments regarding accomplishments and results related to the job description or ad:  IE: produced X results – provide examples that have demonstrated and do demonstrate your capabilities in this regard – quantified (numbers, dollars, %) information is very important in this regard as it is relevant and measurable vs. qualified results that are good but are also subjective.
  3. Why do you think you would be good at this role?
    Speak to the technical piece of the role, demonstrating the depth of knowledge you have for the various activities you would be performing. Additionally, you always want to demonstrate your ability to garner new learning quickly, how you acclimate to different environments and people, and generally impressing them with your understanding of your potential employer’s products and/or services.
  4. Tell me about a time you were asked to take on full responsibility for a task or project?
    Highlight your capacity to project manage and oversee an independent task or team project with a good example including providing the positive impact it had on the company you worked for. This may include your capacity and approach to the following: juggling multiple tasks and/or portfolios, your attention to detail, your organizational skills, your ability to “work smart” vs. work hard, your approach with a team, your involvement with stakeholders, consensus building, tactical and strategic approach, measurable outcomes, timeline sensitive, budget monitoring or adherence, reporting, and the RESULTS!
  5. Give me an example of how you have addressed conflict.
    Provide specific examples that demonstrate your ability to resolve issues that have created win-win results, along with your ability to think on your feet and overcome challenges. Ensure the examples you provide are detailed with a beginning (what the issue was), a middle (what your action/role was in resolving the problem) and end (result). It is important to showcase your abilities to cope under pressure and deal with different personalities. You should also be prepared to respond to where that problem and/or conflict stands today.
  6. How have you helped the bottom-line of your current/ past companies?
    Results that demonstrate how you have helped with the bottom line of your current and/or previous companies are really important – no matter the level of job you have. You should be able to state specific and quantified (know your numbers) examples of how you contributed to your company’s ability to thrive. This includes the return on investments you provided to each of the companies you have worked for, clearly demonstrating how you made a difference in each of your positions. This shows your consistency in creating success patterns.   Remember, all  companies are bottom line driven so you must demonstrate your ability to help them increase their bottom line no matter your position with the company.
  7. What would your current or past supervisors say are your key strengths?
    When developing this response, ensure that you are being strategic in your answer. Come up with 3 or 4 examples, asking yourself the following: How would you add value to their company’s team?  What sets you apart from the others they will be interviewing? Remember, you are in a competition with others – what is going to elevate you in this “contest” for this position? How do you rate compared to your peers? Your response should show your talent and set you apart from your peers.
  8. What are your weaknesses or where do you think you have room to grow?
    Okay, let’s re-frame it and call it “Professional Growth”. Do not list more than two or three points here and ensure that you are not inadvertently kicking yourself in the butt with your responses. Continuous learning, leadership progression and opportunities there-of, mentorship, education, MBA, further designations, technical training and career growth or expansion, are all some ideas of areas that may befit areas where you would like to grow.
  9. Tell me how you would transition into a new position or company? How would you approach this role in the first 3 months?
    Be prepared for these types of questions. If you are the successful applicant and receive the job, what do you foresee as being your biggest challenge in the role? What or where would your biggest learning curve be and why? How do you anticipate that you would overcome that? What would be your 90-day plan be if hired? Again , don’t give a fluffy answer here and don’t say “I would need to know the expectations of the job first.” Typically all employers are looking for responses that demonstrate your initiative, self-motivation, drive, determination, tenacity, independent thinking, sequential and logical assumption and overall risk taking.
  10. Do you have any questions?
    Have advanced and prepared questions to ask the hiring official. Often times it is your questions to them that elevate you in the process, demonstrating your depth of knowledge and winning you the interview.   What makes employees successful with your company?  What are your expectations of this position within the first 6 months?  Why is the position open?  Tell me about your management style and how you best like to work with your employees?  How are decisions made in here?  What was your biggest challenge when you started working here?  Tell me why I should want this position?  Does your company support professional growth and what does that look like?  Etc….