Interviewing Part 2: It's all about your conversation

Haven't interviewed in awhile? It's time to get back to basics. Here's how you handle the conversation.

Know the job and the role - This is an interviewing pet peeve of mine. I can't take a candidate seriously if they haven't bothered to read the job description and review the company site in advance of the interview. Even if you were sent by a recruiter, you should always do your research.

Before any interview, read up on the company, check out their website and read the latest industry and company news. Be ready to ask a few questions related to what you learned.

Know your resume - Go through each point on your resume and pretend someone asked you a question about it. Say your answer out loud. Then, go through your resume again, and pretend someone asked you to give an example. Say your answer again. Now, go through those about eight more times and have 2-3 answers for each question. Next, practice in front of someone you trust, who will “tell it like it is,” and get their feedback.

Know the basic interview questions and have a couple answers ready - Do a quick online search for common interview questions in your industry and then practice those. Check out sample answers, and think about whether you would like that candidate’s response.

The toughies - Next, search hard interview questions and practice those. Be ready for situational questions, such as “A client is angry due to a mistake that you made. What do you do?” I was once asked: “Let’s say we were on a camping trip together. What would your role be?” 

Why these questions? People, want to know how you would respond when there is a challenge. They want to know, how you think on your feet and whether you possess integrity. 

One favorite at a company where I used to work was: “Tell me about a time when you failed.” This was a great question to gain insight as to how someone handled mistakes. We would learn if the person would take ownership of the problem and the resolution, or if they would be quick to blame someone else. We also learned whether they would try to hide the mistake. It was a solid weed out question - the interviewee who placed the fault with someone else or refused to admit they ever made a mistake would not make it back for a second round.

Free Time - Be prepared to answer a version of “What do you do in your free time?” Have a few different answers ready. Note: “I don’t have free time” is unacceptable. Make sure to read up on current events (especially related to the industry) and also be ready to talk about a couple books you read recently.

Interviewing is hard. It takes a lot of practice and skill. My recommendation is to start practicing before you have an interview lined up. Being a good interviewee will not only set you up for job opportunities, but can also help you make a better first impression during networking and off the job as well. 

You Are Not Alone

Interviewing Part 1: It's all about attitude