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Successful Interviewing | Part I - Be Prepared

Updated: Jan 31

In this two part series, we'll discuss best practices to be prepared for professional interviews. This post is all about preparing to be successful before the interview starts. Our next post (Thursday, February 01, 2024) will talk about how to ensure success during the interview.

Preparing yourself for an interview can be both exciting and nerve-wracking, especially when it comes to facing interviews that can shape your career. The key to success lies in preparation. We'll explore the best practices to help you confidently navigate professional-level interviews and leave a lasting impression on your potential employers.

Research the Company and Role

Before stepping into the interview room (physical or virtual), invest time in understanding the company and the specific role you're interviewing for. Familiarize yourself with the organization's values, mission, and recent achievements. Additionally, delve into the responsibilities associated with the position and identify how your skills align with the requirements.

Demonstrating this knowledge during the interview not only showcases your genuine interest but also proves that you are well-prepared and committed to contributing to the company's success.

Know Your Resume Inside Out

Expect the interviewer to dive deeply into your resume, asking detailed questions about your experiences, accomplishments, and skills. Be ready to speak eloquently about each point on your resume, emphasizing your contributions and the impact you've made in your previous roles. This not only highlights your achievements but also reflects your ability to articulate your professional journey.

Also, be prepared for pitfalls. These come in two different fashions:

  • Maybe your resume is a bit light on key experience that the company is looking for. The interviewer should push on your experience to better understand what you bring to the table. If you know you're a bit light on the experience the job posting is looking for, be ready to address that.

  • There might also be things on your resume that make you uncomfortable to discuss for whatever reason. Maybe you left a job because the culture didn't align for you. Perhaps you've been terminated or laid off. No matter what, make sure that you're ready to discuss these things. Know what your comfort zone is and be especially prepared for the little nuggets on your resume that could push you outside of your comfort zone. In these circumstances, it's also important to set boundaries. There may be certain things that you'll address, but only to an extent. Practice reaching those limits and then honoring them.

Practice Common Interview Questions

While you can't predict every question, certain inquiries are standard in professional interviews. Develop concise and compelling responses for common questions such as:

  • Can you tell us about yourself?

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

  • Describe a challenging situation you've faced at work and how you overcame it.

Practicing these responses will boost your confidence and help you present your thoughts clearly during the interview.

Dress Appropriately

Dress per the company's culture. Research the dress code, and when in doubt, opt for slightly more formal attire. This not only reflects your respect for the company but also shows that you take the interview seriously.

If you're not sure where to find out about the organization's dress code, try checking their career page, LinkedIn page, or Glassdoor reviews.

Prepare Thoughtful Questions

At the end of the interview, you'll likely be asked if you have any questions. Use this opportunity to demonstrate your genuine interest in the role and the company. Ask about the team dynamics, company culture, or any recent developments within the organization. Thoughtful questions not only showcase your enthusiasm but also give you valuable insights into whether the company is the right fit for you.

Don't plug "questions to ask during an interview" into your favorite search engine when you're preparing for this. Remember that recruiters and hiring managers are spending hours each day conducting these conversations. Your questions can be something that helps set you apart. Generic questions aren't going to cut it; be toughtful and intentional in what you ask. Have them ready before the call and be polished in delivering those questions.

Some of my favorite questions to ask when I'm an interviewee are:

  • "When was the last time the team/the organization made a change because of feedback from employees?"

  • "How do you keep the team informed about the health of the organization and it's progress toward achieving it's goals?"

  • "What was the last big change the organization had to navigate, and how do you feel the change was received?"

  • "What's the biggest goal the organization has for 20XX and how will this team help contribute to achieving that goal?"

Mastering the art of professional interviews requires careful preparation, thoughtful reflection, and a commitment to presenting your best self. By researching the company, knowing your resume inside out, practicing common interview questions, and asking thoughtful questions, you'll be well on your way to success. Remember, confidence comes from preparation, so invest the time and effort needed to stand out in your professional interviews and take the next step in your career journey.

If you're currently looking for your next opportunity, Garnet Bridge can help, with a variety of services for job seekers. Contact us to learn more!


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