Interviewing today is not like it used to be   If you have been in your position for quite a few years and have not been on any interviews lately, here are some tips that will ensure your success.  Spend some time the day before your interview on these five strategies.

Do Your Homework  – Never walk into an interview without researching the company, its competitors, the industry and the people who will interview you.  Learn about the company’s mission, vision, strategy, and challenges from their website and their press room.  What is happening in their marketplace?  Are there any new projects?  Mergers contemplated?

Learn about the people who will be interviewing you.  Read their bios on the company website and look them up on Linked In.  Find out about their backgrounds – Where were they before working at this company? Where did they do to school?  See if you have anything in common with them.

Prepare Your Accomplishments  – You can expect the typical questions such as, Tell me about yourself?  What is your management style?  Why did you leave or want to leave your last job?  You can expect some tougher questions such as, “Why did you leave your last (previous) job?  How did you get along with your boss?  Tell me about a failure and what did you learn from it?  Did you ever have to fire someone?  Interviewers want to see how you handle pressure.

Hone your pitch – that is the 30-120 second advertisement for you.  Not your whole life story, just enough information to tell the interviewer your years of experience, key skills, one or two accomplishments and why you want this job.  Practice your pitch so it sounds natural, not rehearsed.  Rehearse your answers the day before so that you can give a prepared and thoughtful, but not robotic, response.

Remember: This Is Not about You It’s about THEM – Candidates for positions at all levels often make the mistake of walking into an interview with the mentality of, “What can this company do for me?”  In reality you want to go in as a consultant asking such questions as, “What are the problems your company (department) is facing?” and give examples of how you solved those types of problems for other employers.

By taking a consultative approach to the interview process, you can uncover some issues and challenges facing the company and be prepared with accomplishments to substantiate your ability to solve those problems.  Ask the interviewer, What challenges will the person in this position face in the first 3 to 6 months?  What are the longer term challenges?

Prepare to talk about some problems you solved, how you solved them and the results in quantifiable terms – money saved, money earned, number of people impacted, etc.

Build A Strategy to Get the Next Interview  – Your goal for the interview is to impress them enough to go back for a second interview.  Your goal for the second interview is to get back for the third interview.  The object is to meet with as many people in the company as possible.  After each interview send a follow-up influencing letter, NOT a simple thank you.  Use that email to build the case for your candidacy and to get asked back for the next interview.  You want to reiterate the important points that relate to their issues, re-state the obvious, and remind them of something you forgot or could not answer during the interview.

Create Your Personal Story – The interview is the time to share a little bit more about you than simply your work history.  You want to be able to share the human side of your personality that cannot come across in a cover letter or resume.  Hiring managers are people too and you want to leave them with a warm impression of you as a person.

Where did you come from?  Where are you headed?  What distinguishes you from your competition?   Do you inspire loyalty and confidence?  Do you motivate your employees to be highly productive?  You want to make them interested in you and remember you. If you follow these five steps before the interview you will be prepared, confident, and ready to face the competition.


Amy Geffen, PhD