How to Prepare for an Interview
April 02, 2017 | Mike Sweeney
Here are a few tips for preparing for a job interview. These are an amalgam of insights I have received throughout my career from many different sources. I've done mock interviews on video, over the phone, and in-person to find the keys to success. These tips have helped me transition from the US Army to a boutique winery, from a 25 person family-owned consulting shop to an organization with over 5000 people in 50 countries, and from heavy manufacturing operations to IT. The tips have helped others land jobs they never thought they could get. These are my cliff notes.
Step 1. Conduct Online Research (Company)
Research the company, main competitors, and the industry so you get a little background. Come up with a question or two that you can use or things you can weave into to the conversation. Use Google, Glassdoor, the company name with “in the news”, and any financial data you can find. The research is up front effort, so do it when you feel like the job is likely to be a fit. It goes a long way if you're aware of the major industry players and some of the key issues they are facing.
Step 2. Conduct Online Research (ROLE/COMP)
Review the job description and look for the 3 main things needed for success in the role. Think of this as a 3 legged stool that provides support for success. The idea of the 3 legged stool will come in handy later during the interview. Look at the compensation range from a few similar positions on salary.com and similar sites. Keep looking until you know that the range you want is valid. If you can’t make a case for the range, you're going to have to take a less aggressive negotiating stance. It shows respect if you’ve read the job description a few times to get a sense of the role. Look on O-Net to see what they say about required competencies.
Step 3. Prep the answers to the obvious questions:
Step 4. Prepare for the BBI (Behavioral Based Interview)
These questions start with "tell me about a time" or "can give me an example when". There is a fool-proof formula to nail these questions in 2 ½ -3 mins.
- State the accomplishment (measurable).
- Outline the situation/challenge.
- Give credit away (to team, luck, peers, etc.).
- Explain your role - what you did and how you did it. Keep this organized and on point with at least one of the 3 legs of the stool.
- Restate accomplishment at the end to bookend the response with the accomplishment.
Step5. Prepare the closing
Use the 3 legs of the stool as the final bookend. Reiterate your strong interest, thank them for their time, and explain how your experience in X, Y, and Z will help them [INSERT BIG RESULTS].
Works every time...
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- Mike Sweeney, www.sabercoaching.com