How to Prep for an InterviewAug 25, 2023
Interviewing can stress out even the most seasoned job seeker, but it doesn’t have to. By knowing the most commonly asked questions and how best to answer them, you’ll be ready to wow the hiring manager in no time.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- The biggest mistake I’ve seen people make in interviews
- The three questions you’ll almost certainly be asked
- How best to prep your responses to those questions
- Additional questions to prep
As a former hiring manager, I interviewed a lot of people. I’ve seen prospective employees make their fair share of mistakes. But after 15+ years in the business, I can confidently say the most consistent error happens before you even meet with your prospective employer. That’s right: the biggest mistake is waiting until you *get* an interview to start prepping.
Here’s what this looks like in real life:
- You get an interview request.
- You are over-the-moon thrilled. This is what you’ve been working so hard for!!!! 😃😃😃
- You look up articles like this one, and you practice. You might even practice for a few days before you actually meet with the hiring manager.
- You interview and leave the conversation wishing you said this, sorry you said that, and ultimately “shoulding” yourself for all the stuff you didn’t do because you got overwhelmed.
Interviewing can feel hard and draining and can totally cause you to Monday morning quarterback everything you said.
But here’s the good news: you can prevent this.
All you need to do is start prepping for your interviews now.
Here are the top three questions you should prep. And when I say prep, I mean prep well in advance of your interview. Ideally, you prep for your interview now before you’ve even applied to the job.
#1 Interview Question to Prepare: Tell me about yourself.
- Few minutes ONLY. Job relevant. Do NOT give the story of your life! Highlight a few key parts of your experience you're proud of that are also job-relevant. You need to nail this one, so get going. Did I mention job relevant?
#2 Interview Question to Prepare: Why are you leaving your job?
- You may or may not be asked this, but you don't want to be caught without an answer if you are. Shape an answer that shows you're running *toward* something new (not running *from* your current role)
#3 Interview Question to Prepare: Why are you interested in [role] at [company]?
- This one can be a little tough if you're applying to a ton of places. But if you have a few target companies, sort this one out now. Visit the company website, what draws you to the role and company? What are you excited about? (remember, running *toward* not *from*)
Get these three nailed down because they're most likely to come up time and time again. Then, based on the role you're going after, think about what someone might ask in an interview for that role. Often, they'll want to know things like:
Tell me about a time when...
- You had to give a customer difficult news
- You had to influence without authority
- You solved a challenge for a customer
- You used data to drive a decision
- You had a big success
- You missed a target
(Google has endless practice questions)
I get it: Adding one more thing to your to-do list may not feel exciting. And it also might not feel totally logical to start preparing for something that hasn’t even happened yet, especially when you have a company in mind that isn't even hiring.
But trust me on this one. It will feel REALLY great when you absolutely CRUSH your interview because you’ve prepped way ahead of time.