Nailing the job interview is “simply done” by making sure you come extremely well prepared and know in advance how to use your knowledge and experiences in your favor. The structure of how to prepare for nailing the job interview is more or less the same regardless of what position you are applying for. In this first post on this topic I will go through step by step how to prepare and why.
In the second post I will focus on how to handle the actual interview, however the preparation you do prior to the actual interview will most likely be the determining factor as to whether you’ll be offered the position or not.
These interviews will have a massive impact on your life (and the quality of it) and as such you should prepare more for them than almost anything else in life! When you learn how to always nail them, nothing will stop you and money will never be a problem because there will always be another firm interested in the value you can bring to them. Yes, I assume that you won’t be just nailing the job interview but actually deliver on your promises and show outstanding character and work ethics (recommended reading here are all of the principles by Napoleon Hill).
When your interview is confirmed
This means you have successfully sent in your CV and personal letter (well done) and they have contacted you for a first interview which is great! You now know that they are interested in your profile (based on how you formulated and structured your CV and cover letter) and now it’s time to prepare for nailing that job interview. When you meet with them, they should know that you are “the one” for the position.
Start by going through all the information and the research you did on the company, the team and their staff prior to writing your application. (I assume you did your homework to ensure your application would be a success and that is why you now have an interview!).
The company website
I would start by updating myself through the company website to get a feeling for the language used, the structure of the organisation, the size of the company, their competitors (maybe read their annual report if available). I do think one should know the company’s vision and strategic goals when going to an interview as this lets you talk about how you can add value to the team which is in line with the strategic goals of the company. Your language and what you say of course has to be in line with your competencies and experiences as well as the scope of the position you are applying for but regardless, you can always show a keen interest in the business.
I might phrase it along these lines: “By using my previous work experience and applying it to your team, I am sure we will be able to contribute to the company’s strategic goal of xxxxxx” In this sentence I am able to highlight my competence and how my previous experience and skills will add value, not only to the team but to the overall strategy of the company. At the same time I am showing confidence by saying we (as if I am already a part of the team) and clearly showing that I have done my homework by knowing the strategic goals of the company.
Even if not the first step, this is probably the most important one for nailing the job interview. That is to contact your closest friend(s) who works for or used to work for the company, for a competitor or just knows something about the company and the business from the inside. The easiest way to do so if you don’t know anyone by heart is to check your LinkedIn profile and see if you know anyone there or anyone who has worked there before and might still have friends working there. LinkedIn is a great tool in this regard and I would happily use it and invite that friend or even acquaintance for lunch or coffee to have a chat/discussion, as well as a general catch-up of course.
“Inside information” is better than anything else as you can use that unique knowledge during the interview. This will clearly show that you are well prepared and understand the company and their business. By asking about as much detailed information as you can, you will understand so much more about the company, the business and your future position and what will be required for you to become a valuable asset. By getting this information first hand, you will be able to find so many more angles of how you can add value in a completely different way compared to if you had only used the company website.
By understanding the staff, the culture and some specifics about the team and your future role, it will be easier to prepare and it will enable you to ask intelligent questions and also refer to that friend or acquaintance of yours (given that you have their ok to do so). By using them as a reference, you make it clear that you have done your homework and that you are keen on the job.
Use our friend Mr Google
To get some more information on the company I would also suggest you Google it. If it is a bigger company, they might have been in the news recently and I would for sure want to know this. Again this is to show that I have an interest in the company and their business. It also gives me a feeling for their online reputation and what is being discussed around the brand and the company.
If there are some good articles about the company or their products, I would make sure I mention it during the interview and at the same time ask some questions around the information mentioned in the article. This of course has to be adapted to the person interviewing. Basically don’t ask questions which the person interviewing you clearly won’t be able to answer, that will just be awkward and put you in an inconvenient situation.
Find something in common with the interviewer
I would then try to find some information about the person who will do the actual interview. This is just to get some info about that person’s background, level of knowledge, interests etc. Some might find this a bit weird and you should be discrete. If you know someone who knows that person, great, then ask them. Else, I would use the internet to get some color.
I do this to make sure we have something in common to talk about early on during the interview to guarantee that we hit it off from the start. It might be that we are both parents, like football, cars, trekking, traveling or what ever it might be. It is always good to start a discussion about something you have in common with the person interviewing you as it allows them to relate to you and the commonality will make the person like you even more. Who knows, maybe you will spend a lot of time talking about your common interest and if you do, that is great (try to use your ears more than your mouth though!)!
Common interview questions – know your answers by heart!
Now you should know a lot about the company, their culture and hopefully the person you will meet. I would then use Mr Google to find some common interview questions and learn how to answer some of them perfectly. When you know how to do it, you can most likely use the same answers to other questions as well. There are quite a few common questions and if you know what message you want to get across and how to say it, that same answer should cover many of your skills or competences.
When answering a question you should of course make sure you do it colorfully to enhance the impression of you. Unfortunately these standard questions often tend to get in the way of nailing the job interview. One of the worst things ever is interviewing someone who can’t even answer what their strengths and weaknesses are (if you can’t figure out what to say, ask a friend and then work on your answers!!), please don’t be that person…
Use the language used in the specific business
I would then spend some time focusing on the language used on the company website as well as in the job description and in the sector/business in general. During the interview, I want them to think that I am already very comfortable with the lingo/jargon in the business by simply using some of the most commonly used words and phrases. I would use them in a discrete way but still make sure I use them to show that I am comfortable with the language spoken in this particular business. This is my turf, this is where I belong…
Show your brilliance!
I would also recommend you to prepare at least FIVE episodes of your working career that clearly highlight your strengths (make sure you use their language) and try think of some that are in line with the job description. These are extremely important for nailing the job interview. You have to know them inside out and of course you have to tell true stories! Learn them by heart and make sure they ALL include several strengths that you know will be appreciated and suitable for the company and the specific role. By having a handful of these stories at hand, you will never be taken off guard but rather the contrary. You will always have something appropriate and well thought through to answer (you are then driving the interview the way you want)! These stories don’t have to be from work experiences only, if you have other stories clearly showing your qualifications and strengths, you can of course use them too.
Remember that if you do this properly once, you can most likely use them for life just by making some small alterations. Using episodes or incidents which you have experienced will make answering the interview questions quite easy. It is much harder to come up with great answers in an instance but if you do this properly, I am sure you can use these stories in different ways and to different questions by just highlighting different parts of the story. By doing this, you are able to tell a great story, which clearly is you and also shows several of your skills and characteristics.
So what are your strongest skills and competencies?
What are your absolute strongest competencies and personality traits which you must make sure you tell them about? Go through this in advance and think about how you can include them in your “story telling”. If you just say “I am good at this and that” you will have a tough day compared to if you can give them real examples and also tell them how these skills or competencies will add value to their company. Again, by a bit of structure, you can answer the generic question of “what are your strengths and weaknesses?”, using one of your prepared stories! You are not only answering a very basic question but you are also painting a picture of who you are, what you are made of and why you are so suitable for this specific role.
Practice the whole interview process
Practice the whole interview process again and again and again (you can never prepare too much if the position is the job of your dreams!). This means you entering a new room, greeting the interviewer, introduce yourself and run through everything you want to say. You do this again and again and constantly refine any and all of your answers until you think you can handle the real interview to perfection and with confidence, ease and charisma.
Then, you call a friend and ask them to read the job description and act like the nastiest person ever interviewing you. When you nail that practice session, you are almost ready for the live one!
Do you want the job or not?
If you think this is too much hard work, then maybe you are not the right person for the job or the job is just not that important to you. None of the efforts you put in here is wasted as, apart from nailing the job interview, you can use these skills again and again during your lifetime. If you do this and take it seriously it will be worth many tens of thousands of dollars!
The only limit as to how much money you can make on these skills are how you show up at work and how/what you deliver but if you ALWAYS deliver more than expected, with a smile on your face and with enthusiasm and dedication, there are NO LIMITS!
You have to be truthful, authentic and come through as a pleasant and nice person so the personality you are showing them is instrumental. You want the person to think of you as their friend with whom they would love to work.
Remember that you will be rewarded publicly (getting the job) by the work you have put in privately (preparing yourself to nail it)!
The day before the interview
The day before the interview, I would again rehearse the most important information about the company, about the person interviewing and have a look at the language they seem to use. The key answers/stories and how to tell them should also be imprinted in your mind (so that you could tell them with enthusiasm and conviction even in your sleep).
Decide what to wear for your big day (always better to over dress than under dress!) and how to get to the company. Plan this so that there is no stress getting there, you want to arrive well before time and relaxed so that you can compose yourself and mentally rehearse a bit before the interview.
Then the only thing missing is a great nights sleep before one of the most important days of your life so go to bed early and do some journaling before you fall asleep… Then wake up fresh and go nail that job interview!
Actions to take:
- Interview Day – how to nail it!
- Powerful body language – a game changer!
- Think and Grow Rich – Principle 11: The Subconscious Mind
- Autosuggestion works – we become what we think about!
- Creating a Winning Mindset!
- “Brainwash” yourself to success!