How to prepare to be interviewed

Many people go to interviews – whether for new job, assignment, project or promotion – assuming their personality and enthusiasm will be enough to get what they want. Wrong. There is a need to prepare well beforehand, anticipate tough questions and to be able to put your best points forward.

BUT – attending an interview should be part of your career strategy.

Some moments of reflection…

  • Is it the right job?
  • Will it help your career?
  • What will it do for you in five years ( you juts might be asked that question)

If you can’t address these and other questions you should consider conducting a career audit and check where you are on your career trajectory, then try our career goal quiz


Strategies for doing well in job interviews:

Do your homework on company/job/project – be diligent

  • research to get clear understanding of business, unit, key people: sources include personal contacts, library hard copy and on-line searches, financial analysis, trade/professional press
  • look at their annual report, or accounts if they are a small company
  • use information gained at key points in interview


Rehearse interview questions

  • aim: to develop answers to as many questions as you can anticipate
  • Look at list of top 50 traditional questions and the top 50 behavioural questions – if don’t know what behavioural questions are, or, what STAR stands for – get in touch to get some coaching!    
  • think through questions you may be asked; the obvious (‘what can you bring to this position?’) and not-so-obvious (‘what if you have to sack your best friend?’)
  • record and play back your responses; keep answering questions until you look and sound convincing and confident
  • Then go through a mock interview with two friends or colleagues who know how to interview and can give you honest feedback. Or, get us to help you with your preparation!


Describe previous business relationships cautiously and creatively

  • everyone has stories of problem bosses, but in interviews better to attribute problems to differences in expectations or structural changes rather than personalities
  • gaps in ‘conventional’ employment e.g. sabbatical, redundancy should not be hidden, but explained positively

Aim to steer interview in advantageous direction

  • assume interviewer has not carefully read your CV; aim to mention your plus points in it as well as other relevant points
  • look at interview as selling opportunity (yourself); let interviewer (‘customer’) know benefits to hiring you; pass on useful information

Establish personal bond with interviewer

  • make interviewer feel comfortable with you personally; convince them you share their company’s ethos and their values, and that they won’t have made a mistake by hiring you
  • know when to let the interviewer ramble on; feed their ego, show you are interested
  • interviewers will have an opinion on you within the first few minutes – good, indifferent or bad.
  • Check your body language and theirs

Make it clear you really want the job

  • towards end of interview, go over reasons why you want job
  • strike balance between being seen as eager vs desperate

They will be thinking – can we work with this person, will they fit in, will they bring a new dimension to our business, do they have the skills we seek, is it worth training them

But remember, beggars can’t be …

However, ask them a few straight questions – but not when can you take your holiday