Interview Prepartion - An Essential Lesson

A $200,000 Private College Degree + No Interview Prep = No Job Offer

Essentials of Interview Preparation

A friend of mine whom I greatly respect was interviewing a recent college grad for his hot newly public company.  The company offers high growth, great culture, equity and cash compensation for everyone, and a fun and energetic place to work.  This job will be a dream position for a new college grad.

My friend was frustrated with the outcome of the interview. The candidate, although academically prepared with natural talents and good energy, did not prep and failed the interview. Failed miserably.

So that you don’t find yourself just there…You need to invest one day for an upcoming interview, roughly 8 hours, minimum.  If the role has the potential of you making a career investment and you didn’t invest in preparing for the interview, don’t go. Failing to prep is not fair to the recruiter.  Time is precious and you’re wasting theirs.

If the job opening is a great role and many are seeking it, expectations from the interviewer are high.  High caliber alternatives are crossing their path during the search.  You are ALWAYS competing for a role.  Just as an athlete would not show up for a game unprepared without a plan, so to must you show up prepared.

My friend in frustration wondered who to blame for lack of job search knowledge. The university, the parents, the applicant? The realistic answer is the applicant. Your parents, teachers, and professors have completed their job duties: now you are running the show called your life.  Great job opportunities demand your A Game to seize them.

Steps to Prep:

  1. Begin immediately when you know you are in play
  2. Do research on the company or organization that has the job
    1. Google search
    2. Research industry competitors
    3. Find out what they say about themselves
    4. Read company reviews
    5. If it is a commercial venture view
      1. Industry analysts
      2. Financial analysts
    6. Scan news articles on the company written in the last year
  3. Check your network to see if you have contacts in that role or industry
  4. Set Google News Alert
    1. For the company you are interviewing for
    2. For their 3 top competitors
    3. For a key industry analysis for their sector
    4. For a financial analyst who follows the company
  5. Arrive at the interview with:
    1. A knowledge of what the company and organization is (be prepared to tell them what they do if asked, many times you will be)
    2. What they are trying to accomplished
    3. What this role does
    4. Why you are appreciative and excited for the interview
    5. Why are you great for it
    6. Three GREAT questions
    7. How you are going to close and follow up
  6. Set Google Alerts for key items that you have discovered so that it will send information to you
    1. Prior to the interview
    2. And give you reason to follow up post-interview (follow up is critical)
  7. If they ask, let them know how you prepared, they will be impressed

Remember, the hiring organization always wants you, if you are qualified to want the role, and as the applicant, you always want the offer, or at least a chance to advance through the next gauntlet of the interview process.

Make sure follow up is part of what you are preparing for.  That is a game changer, which often is a key part of the hiring organizations’ final decision.

If this sounds like a lot of work, you are right.  But beyond being prepared, it will allow you to be confident, ready, and begin the due-diligence necessary to see if this is the optimal role for your search.

Now seize the job and the day.