Preparing for a Successful Job Interview: Tips and Strategies for Job Seekers

Interviewing takes preparation and practice. The following are some of my tips. Although it takes work to do this, you can reuse many of these items.

1. Solidify your resume. A few quick tips:

• Ensure every line demonstrates how you added value.
• Use clear, concise language.
• Read it out loud to yourself. It helps to hear what you’ve written.
• Have someone else proofread.

NOTE: I recommend documenting everything that follows. Practice until you’re comfortable telling your stories. Save the documents you create after you get a job and add to them. This way, if you are looking for work unexpectedly, you are ready at a moment’s notice.

2. Have your elevator pitch ready to answer the “tell me about you” question in 3-60 seconds or less.

3. Be ready to talk about what you’re looking for in your next position.

4. Be ready to describe why you’re passionate about what you do. Why did you choose your field?

5. Be ready to describe yourself. This is related to the previous question, but answers more about WHO you are. For example, in the previous question, you might say that you enjoy liaising between business and technical professionals. To answer this, you might describe your passion for collaborating with colleagues in various geographies and why that excites you.

6. Be prepared to discuss your strengths and weaknesses and be REAL about them.

7. Prepare accomplishment stories. Think about times when you had to resolve a conflict or show initiative to solve a problem. Document the situation, obstacles, actions you took, and the results. Practice telling your stories. Today, this is known as the STAR method. I wish I’d coined this as I’ve been doing this for years. NOTE: When describing your accomplishments, use “I” and not “we”. Employers want to know about your personal accomplishments.

8. Be able to answer what motivates you.

9. Research the company, and the interviewers.

10. Ask good questions.

When you interview, remember, it’s a conversation for both parties to get to know each other. Be calm and confident. If you don’t get the job, it’s ok. If you aren’t excited about the job, it’s ok to walk away. The goal is to find a great match.

P.S. Be honest about yourself but don’t overshare and use things that might be used to cut you from the competition. For example, don’t say you got burned out. Understand the position and values of the company you’re looking to join and make it fit. For example, “Due to our small team size, we were all stretched thin. I enjoyed that for a time because I learned a lot. However, it helped me see where I want to focus. That’s why I believe I would be a great fit for this position doing xyz.”

See post on LinkedIn.

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