Preparing For The Job Interview

According to a Harvard Business Review study, 90% of hires are based solely upon the interview.  In fact, 63% of hiring decisions are made within the first 4.3 minutes of the interview (courtesy SHRM). So, the interview is probably the most important part of the hiring process. And that’s why you need to spend time with your personal recruiter to better understand whom you are interviewing with and the issues that you will be talking about during the interview.

None of this is rocket science, and you’ve probably heard it all before, but most candidates agree it is a good refresher on basic skills, since most of us don’t interview often enough to keep our skills sharp.

Before the Interview  

  • Get a fresh, crisp original résumé.
  • Do your homework – Review the company’s website and make a list of 10 questions (five regarding the position, five regarding the company).
  • Appearance: 1) Wear a dark, professional suit; men, have your shoes shined and wear solid socks.  Get a fresh haircut, and remember, a beard is a high-risk factor. 2) If flying to the interview: Pack an extra shirt, tie, and blouse. Bring an energy bar.

During the Interview – You Must Market Yourself!

  • Be prepared for behavior-based questions (see below)
  • How to be marketable:
    • Education, including Continuing Education and Certifications.
    • Appearance and personality
    •  Professional track record and accomplishments
  • Attitude is everything!  Smile a lot, but don’t be phony. Be enthusiastic.
  • Behavior: Mention his/her name often.
  • Compensation question: I am currently making ____.  I have done my homework; I understand what others are paying for this role and trust that you will put together a fair and equitable offer commensurate with my experience.  

For Telephone Interviews:  

  • Walk around, don’t sit, you can hear it in your voice projection
  • Give interviewer a warm feeling, tell him or her:
    • I fit in…”; “I didn’t know that about you…”;
    • “I’m very impressed with…”; “It sounds to me like…”;
    • “I really like the scope of responsibility (or area, warm climate, new technologies, customer base, etc.)”   

Identify Problems

  • When introduced, make sure you are on the same page:
  • Expectations for the conversation;
  • Problems that need to be solved in this position;
  • Expected challenges in the hired person coming up to speed?
  • Make a written list of all Hiring Authority’s problems: Respond to each problem by weaving in your experiences throughout the conversation
  • Interview must solve the company’s problems, or fill a void.  Use achievements and accomplishments to prove beyond a doubt you can solve their problems
  • Collect business card from each party you meet with 

Pre-Close: 5 Step Close  

  • Sing the praises of the company
  • Sing the praises for a win-win opportunity
  • Sing the praises of good chemistry between you and Hiring Authority (why it’s good for you, for them).
  • Ask whether they have any concerns moving forward in the process.  Let them tell you what their concerns are, and then address them.  Often the concerns are unfounded, and can be addressed and resolved immediately, using a real life example of a time you didn’t have all of the skills, but you learned them and still delivered on time, under budget, etc.  If you do not ask about their concerns, you may not move to the next step in the process because the employer does not understand all of your capabilities.  Plus, they will appreciate the fact that you are proactively handling their concerns.  
  • Ask for the job.   


Seek Talent. Seek Leadership. Seek Advancement. Seek Balance.