How to set yourself up for success for your next interview
What makes for a great interview is less of what you do during the interview and more of what you do ahead of time. As a recruiter, part of my job is spending time helping my candidates get in the right mindset before their interview, remind them of what they already know and help them to focus and bring the best of themselves to an interview.
Below are some of my best tips to help you prepare for your interview to land your dream job.
#1 - Organize yourself:
Your space, your resume, your appearance, your ‘tool kit’ for prep so you can pivot to interview mode. Carve out time to create your unique template. I
coach my candidates to be ready to answer these questions at any given time from anyone who asks.
Create a Cheat Sheet and bring it with you or memorize what's on it at all times so you’re ready for the impromptu call from a recruiter, HR manager, or hirng lead. You want to be ready for anything at any time.
Typical checklist of questions/topics that are covered in addition to the above:
-What title role are you looking for and does title matter to you?
-What career paths are you considering?
-Are you open to hybrid or only remote or both?
-What is your ideal salary range?
-Are you open to traveling and if so how much?
-Where are you based geographically?
-Have you ever interviewed or engaged with or have any type of history (job related) with the company that is calling you? If you’re not sure and think you might have, let the person know you aren’t sure but can look it up.
Whether you’re having a formal interview or you meet someone at a social event who introduces you to someone.
#2 - Get a clear picture of your strengths and areas for development.
You want to be clear on your top three areas of value and you want to be really clear on how you want to grow and develop.
Ask for feedback from trusted resources
Look back on your performance reviews
Look at yourself as honestly as you can.
Figure out potential setbacks/areas of growth, be aware of them and tend to those areas if necessary.
Why? Because you will likely be asked this question in some form or another whether it be with the recruiter, or during another interview throughout your process. I like to ask the question “what would people say about you if I asked them what you’re really good at, your hit the ground running high impact skills”. Usually the top three that come to mind are your differentiators. Which leads me to your differentiators:
#3 - Differentiators:
A differentiator to me is what makes a candidate unique. Every candidate has their unique set of strengths. When people tell me about their strengths, I love when they are really insightful and convey that they know themselves and have taken the time to reflect on these things for themselves and also have reflect on what they have been told are their strengths (and areas for development). Sometimes people don’t want to brag and are a little uncomfortable with his question. I often advise they think of their performance reviews, or when they received an accolade, what was it for and why. With differentiators, I like to see a combination of soft and hard skills. For example, a soft skill might be the ability to read a room and address client concerns in an insightful way. A hard skill would be the ability to apply strong analytical and strategic skills while leveraging depth in quantitative statistics and writing creative briefs or narrative to share with clients ot address their marketing problems (flesh this out more with an example).
#4 - Practice Your Pitch
An interview is your personal pitch of yourself to a potential employer. It's an opportunity to share and show your best self. If you fumble this pitch, it makes you appear that you're not being authentic. Practice as much as you can so on the day of, it just flows smoothly for you.