Keys to Job Interview Preparation

Avoid These Mistakes Preparing for Job Interviews

It’s easy to overprepare or underprepare for a job interview.  Here are 4 mistakes to avoid if you want to properly prepare with the least amount of stress.

Mistake 1.
rying to prepare answers to all the questions you can imagine.

There are no end to questions.  Some are common–tell me about yourself.  Where do you see yourself in 5 years…  Others are not.  If you look on websites with helpful lists of questions, you are likely to find 20, 30, 50 or more questions–most pretty good.  But forget about that.  Instead, focus mostly on preparing a few, solid, relevant stories that can be used to answer lots of questions.  Just make sure there are stories for key categories of questions.

Mistake 2.
Not having questions to ask about the specific company

If you can’t name the company’s products or services and come up with a few questions about them or about the company, your apparent lack of interest will result in a very real lack of job offers.

Recently, a client of mine mentioned a few key points about a tech company’s key product.  The interviewer then proceeded to quiz her to see if she could answer questions about the product that a customer might ask.  She knew it all.  She got the job. It wasn’t a very hard thing to do.  All she had done was read through the company’s website.  Not too much to expect from a potential employee.

Mistake 3.
Thinking it’s all about you.

The opposite is true.  Yes, you want to come off as wonderful.  But wonderful means you are meeting the needs of the people in the company.  That’s right.  It’s all about THEM.  What do they need?  How can you benefit them more than the other zillion applicants?

This relates back to overcoming mistake number 2, knowing about the company so you can say how you will help solve some of its problems or challenges (backed up by proof using one of the stories you prepared as mentioned in how to overcome mistake number 1).

Mistake 4.
Thinking interviews are all about having the right answers

Your resume and cover letter probably had enough of the right answers in the sense of showing you possess the right requirements.  Now is the time to focus on making a strong, positive connection with your interviewers.  If you can answer all the questions intelligently but seem distant or disinterested, you won’t be hired.  You need to relate to the people as people. The  content, while very important, is still secondary to showing you are a person who people will want to be with and work with 40 hours a week.


Keys to Job Interview Preparation — 2 Comments

  1. Excellent article. So many job hunters have misconceptions about the entire hiring process, and all 4 points hit the target on what they’re doing wrong. I think #3 is especially important, because it seems counter-intuitive to candidates preparing to answer interview questions about “me.”

  2. Thanks, Bonnie. Yes #3 is a tough one for people, counter-intuitive as you say, because the entire mindset of many people is to promote themselves as the most skilled person–while their skills are only meaningful as they solve the problems of the hiring organization. Plus, what may seem like an obvious connection to the job hunter often needs to be spelled out to the interviewer–just why is your experience doing X applicable to what we do here?