Interviewing 101: Getting an “A” is About Smart Preparation

Big Competition

So, you’ve landed that big interview.  Good job.  On average, 118 people apply for every job, and only one if five gets an interview.  That means your resume got noticed—but it also means that, again on average, you’re now up against 11 other people vying for the same job.  How do you make sure your winning resume leads to a winning interview, and a job offer?

The key to every great interview is preperation. But what does that mean?  Here are 5 tips to make sure your preparation is thorough, and that you ace your interview:

  1. Who’s the Boss?

Employers want new employees to hit the ground running.  That means you need to know everything you can about the job, and about your new employer.  Do your research.  On top the detailed preparation you should receive from the executive recruiter you are working with…go to the company website, study products and services, learn the company’s philosophy, and read annual reports.  Google the company to see recent news and set up a Google Alert to be sure you stay on top of the latest developments.  The more you know about your soon-to-be boss, the more impressed he or she will be.

  1. Who are the Principal Players?

Knowing what a company does and what its recent history is will go a long way, but don’t forget that a company is people.  Know who they are, and pay particular attention to who’s going to be interviewing you.  When you confirm the interview, ask who your interviewer will be.  In some cases, it will be a single individual.  Get up to speed on your interviewer’s biography, which you can sometimes find right on the company website.  Check them out at LinkedIn.  If it’s more than one interviewer, redouble your efforts so you know all the principal players.

  1. What Am I Going to Be Asked? 

You don’t want to be stumped by an interview question.  There’s nothing which can sink your candidacy faster than that look of panic when an unexpected question hits you between the eyes.  You can compile a list of likely questions on Glassdoor for specific companies and types of jobs.  After you have your questions list, write an intelligent answer (as in, one which is credible and will get noticed) for each.  Commit your answers to memory, but don’t over prepare to the point that you sound stiff and rehearsed.  The trick is to sound as if you just heard each question for the first time.

  1. What Did I Say on My Résumé?

What the employer saw on your résuméis is what got you in the front door.  Don’t make the mistake of writing a great résumé, then forgetting what you wrote.  It’s pretty likely that some of the questions you’ll be asked will come directly from your résumé—figure out ahead of time what those questions are going to be.  Be very well prepared to address any potential weaknesses on your résumé, such as any employment gaps or lack of experience.  Treat your work history as a kind of narrative, a story which highlights increasing experience, responsibility and success.

  1. Am I Really Qualified?

A successful interview is about more than memorized facts and sharp answers.  It’s also about your demeanor and confidence level.  Before your interview, take the time to persuade yourself that you’re qualified for the job.  There’s nothing wrong with harboring some doubts about your own abilities (the truth is that just about everybody does)—but don’t let that come across in your interview.  Remember all that you’ve accomplished.  Think about all you can accomplish in your new job.  Build your confidence before the interview to gain an important psychological edge.

To learn more about ways to advance your security management career, and about developing a winning interview strategy, contact us today.

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