Interviews: How to Prepare!

Part 2 of 2: (See last week’s blog on Interview Tips)

I am excited about this week’s blog!  Several local leaders from the Indianapolis business community graciously shared opinions and tips on interviews. To focus on their awesome tips, I decided to share my Interview Preparation Guide in a word document. Added bonus you can actually save it to your computer for future reference! (included below as well)

Preparing is critical. It’s also often overlooked. No matter how good or senior level you are, it’s important to prepare for an interview. The most qualified person does NOT always get the job. It’s often the most prepared. The flip side is preparing gives you a significant advantage over candidates that wing it. Surprisingly, there are plenty of those.

The funny thing about preparing is it’s actually not that hard. It’s not. If you 1) recognize the need to prepare and 2) block out some time to do it, you should be good to go. If you can’t or won’t do these two things you shouldn’t commit to an interview.

Here is my Interview Preparation Guide. Be sure to save to your computer for future reference:

Interview Preparation Guide

Ok, let’s hear from the experts! You’ll notice a few common themes. In particular, I love how they each explained, without prompting, why the tip is important and meaningful to them.

Julie Barker ~ Senior Director of Global Talent Management @ Appirio

Tip #1: Do your homework on the company.  Interviewers truly gauge this to understand if you are really interested in specifically being at their company or if this is just one of many jobs you are applying for.

Tip #2: Be prepared to ask questions based on the research of the company, this helps show your level of interest.

Tip #3: Know your audience for the interview. Look the person up on LinkedIn so you’re familiar with their role, how long they have been with the company and previous experience. This will help you understand their perspective and will also help you prepare for what they may dig into.

Tip #4: Make sure the time you schedule for the interview is a time that you can be in a good quiet place to talk or is a good place to take a video interview if that is required.

Jody Scott ~ Director of Talent Acquisition @ Republic Airways

Tip #1: Do your research on the Company and the person you will be meeting with.  Generally, LinkedIn is a good bet, and it’s no longer off-putting if you mention that you did this research in the interview.  In other words, “LinkedIn Stalking” is generally expected.  Meeting with anyone else?  Make sure to ask if there is a chance you will meet with others, so you can look them up as well!  To be safe, it’s best to get their full titles and relationship to the role in advance.

Tip #2: Prepare at least three career accomplishments.  There is nothing worse than interviewing someone that brings up the same example over and over again. Don’t bring your notes with you. It should be enough to run through a bullet pointed list ahead of time.

Tip #3: Don’t assume the interviewer has actually reviewed your resume, and don’t continue to refer to the actual resume in the interview.  Remember, the purpose of a resume is to get invited to the job interview.  Once you’re there, work on building a connection, and promoting the good work you do while there!

Tip #4: Close the deal…Do not leave the interview without expressing your sincere interest in the role (that is, if you want it!).

Ray Kliewer ~ Director of Human Resources @ IU School of Medicine

Tip: Ask questions that show you have really researched the organization. Asking a ‘real’ question reflects that you are interested in the organization and not just the job. (Ray shared this via Twitter DM while in Japan!)

Tim Ayler ~ Partner @ Greenwalt CPAs

Tip #1: It doesn’t do you or the company any good to be someone you really are not.  Don’t pretend so that you end up with a job that doesn’t fit you or the company six months from now.

Tip #2: Try to find out who you will be interviewing with and learn about them on LinkedIn or their company website.  If you know who you will be meeting and know something about them, you are more likely to ask good questions and be yourself in order to make a good impression.

Mike Bensi ~ Advisor @ FirstPerson

Tip: Follow-Up. I’m a big fan of using a handwritten note to thank someone for the interview. If email is more appropriate, share something that shows you’ve been thinking about the conversation. It could be an article that resonates or a follow-up thought to something you both discussed.

Katrin Gerig ~ VP of Human Resources @ VMS BioMarketing

Tip:  I really want them to be able to articulate what they think we do and then I’ll fill in the gaps…. rather than me having to give the whole spiel which could take up most of an interview.

There you have it. The experts have spoken! Between the Interview Prep Guide and insight directly from leaders in our Indianapolis business community, I hope you’ve found this helpful. If you think others might find it helpful, please don’t be afraid to share or retweet!


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