“Let’s schedule an interview.” They are the words every job search candidate wants to hear. Once the elation wears off, however, you face the daunting task of preparing for the interview. Knock the interview out of the park by conducting job research and preparation that surpasses the efforts of your competition. Because your career – and landing this job – depends on it.
One tested tactic for acing the interview, a “War Wall” can help you divide and conquer. Anthony Kaul of Higher Bracket learned this innovative, thorough and effective method for interview prep from a client.
This masterful interview strategy entails creating an interview “War Wall” which is covered with print outs of the key players’ photographs and bullet points about their roles, skills and accountabilities. He included pages with the company’s vision and mission statement, as well as the company’s primary products. He also printed out lists of questions he thought would be asked, which he prepared answers for in advance of the interview.
When it came time for the interview, he was fully prepared to respond to questions and ask intelligent ones, based on his research and “War Wall” noting relevant information.
Putting advice to the test
Facing a behavioral interview? Start the research process:
- Uncover the company’s DNA. CIO.com advises interview candidates to “learn as much about the company and the people interviewing you as you can.” Understanding the industry, products and services, mission statement and strengths and weaknesses helps you gain a competitive advantage. Then, research further to understand the specific role you are targeting. Determine the critical issues impacting the role and the core skills and experience required to be successful.
- Make a connection. You also want to create a great first impression with the interviewers. Research their backgrounds and have a few points through which to connect. LinkedIn is a great “go-to” site for your research.
- Create a conversation. The term “interview” is really a misnomer. Companies want to hire a contributor, someone who will add value to their team. Simply responding in rote terms to questions does nothing to differentiate your brand. Instead, highlight your key strengths, track record of success, and demonstrate how you would be an invaluable resource to their organization.
- Ask questions. According to the Harvard Business Review, the biggest mistake job candidates make in the interview is “not asking enough questions about the new job, its challenges and the performance expectations.” Ask questions to help you gain insight into what the job entails, key accountabilities, and benchmarks for success. Then, leverage these questions to discuss how and why you’re a great fit for the position.
Landing the job requires in-depth interview preparation and quality research to give you that edge you need. Next time you have a big interview, consider working with an interview coach to devise a strategic approach to your interview, develop targeted answers to commonly asked interview questions, and gain practice time in preparation for the big interview day.
Author: Joanne Loberg of JL Careers Inc. is a Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional. She specializes in coaching professional and executive clients and providing career advancement strategies. Copyright JL Careers Inc. All rights reserved.
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Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional