Interview Prep

Posted June 2, 2011 by Marcy Twete in Career Moves

Whether you’ve been job searching for a day or a year, effectively preparing for an in-person interview is key to nailing those Q&A’s and hopefully getting the job. But if you’ve been unemployed and interviewing consistently, prepping gets harder and harder. It’s easy to sit back on your heels and think, “I’ve done this what seems like 100 times recently, I don’t need to prep.” But you do need to prep! If you don’t, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

So what are the best ways to prep for an interview and keep yourself fresh and ready, even if you’ve interviewed a lot recently:

  • Google News is your friend! Both the day before and the morning of your interview, do a Google News search for both the company and the industry you’re interviewing with. You never know what breaking news might have emerged. What if the company announced a big merger or acquisition this morning and you aren’t versed in it during your interview? Be knowledgable not just about yourself, but about the company as well.
  • Know Who You’re Talking To. If you know the name(s) of the person you’re interviewing with, run a Google Search on them. Check out their LinkedIn. How long have they been with the company? Have they been in a similar industry for a long time? How old are they (glean this from their college graduation dates)? It will give you the opportunity to develop some targeted questions for that person. If they’re new to the company, ask how the acclimated to the culture. If they’ve been there for years and years, ask them what keeps them there. Personal Story from Twitter Guy: He believes wholeheartedly he made it from the phone interview to the in-person interview with his current position because he asked his now boss about snowboarding, a hobby they have in common that was listed on both of their Linkedin profiles. A great illustration of the power of LinkedIn.
  • Practice! Not everyone would tell you to practice answering interview questions, but if you do nothing else, practice answering this one: “Tell me about yourself.” Some form of this question will get asked in every interview you do. Maybe it’s, “Why are you interested in this position?” or “Take me through your resume.” Whatever the context, the question is asking you for your elevator speech. So practice it. Time yourself for 60 seconds and give the elevator speech, make it related to that job, make it relevant to your place in your career now. And practice it. That way, no matter how nervous you get, you’ll know you’re ready to go with that elevator speech to get the ball rolling.

There are so many other ways to prep. But these are a few that have been important to me in my career. Most of all, take a deep breath and believe in yourself. Whether you get the job or not, you can feel good about what you’ve put out there.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."