Job Interview Preparation

Published on 14 March 2011 by 360JobInterview in Interviewing, Job Search


Interviewing with any company can be intimidating but preparation will help chase away some of the butterflies. Remember it is unusual for a company to hire a candidate who fits the job description 100%. View the position advertisement as a dream sheet. You should have a majority of the traits but just because you’re missing a few parts of the experience does not necessarily knock you out of contention.

Without trying to be too traditional, here are some interview thoughts gleaned from hands-on experience.

iStock 000004966817XSmall 300x194 Job Interview PreparationBefore the Interview

Learn all you can about the company – This is much easier in our era of mega-search engines. Look for names, facts, figures, news, anything, etc.

  • What are the recent big news items?
  • What are the company’s major services or products?
  • What are their guarantees?
  • What are the approximate revenues?
  • What are the customer service trends?
  • Who are the big names?
  • How do competitor companies look at your interviewing company?
  • If you know somebody at the company, quiz them about the organization.
  • If appropriate, see if you can make an appointment with someone at the company for your educational purposes (be careful with this one).

Play stump the dummy – Nothing personal … but prepare a list of the toughest questions you can create based on your intimate knowledge of your own profile. The idea is to train hard to make the actual interview seem easier. Be as tough as you can on yourself during the preparation and you will find yourself more confident at the real event. Here are a few starter questions and you can think of more.

  • What is your core message related to the position?
  • What are your top 3-5 strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses? How do you manage around or offset them?
  • What will be the most difficult areas of the new job for you?
  • Why are you unique?
  • How would you interview yourself if you wanted to paint the most complete picture?
  • How will you make up any shortfalls in your experience as it relates to the ideal job description?
  • What will you do if you are not selected for the position?
  • Do you like the company enough to apply for more positions?
  • How will you respond if salary comes up early?

In a future post, we’ll talk more about how to maximize your time during the interview.  To summarize, focus any nervous energy you have on preparation. Write it, say it, and think it (or any combination thereof). This will help with the actual interview and keep anxiety in check. Remember too that a little nervousness will help you be sharper in the interview as well. All the best!

And if you have any thoughts or ideas, take a minute and share your best ideas or experiences in the comments below.

This post was written by Michael Friesen, a coach at  He is the author of Expected End: What Culture Is, Why It Matters and How to Improve It.  He is a leadership coach and a former CFO and Budget Director for the U.S. government.  You can schedule an interview with Michael on his coach page.

Photo iStockPhoto © Ken Kan

One Response to “Job Interview Preparation”

  1. [...] use your nervous energy before a job interview in preparation, studying the company and yourself (view that post here).  In this second part, we’ll focus more on tips for the interview [...]