Monday, December 29, 2014

How to Prepare for a Job Interview

In the last few month, I've interviewed a bunch of potential job candidates that are interviewing at LinkedIn for marketing positions. All these interviews have reminded me about what it takes to set yourself up for success in a job interview. In my opinion, here are some of the things you can do that the most successful job seekers do to prepare for an interview.

job interview meme funny

Look for warm connections. Check LinkedIn to see if you have mutual connections with the interviewers. If you do, make sure to mention the connection in the interview, especially if it's a strong contact. This will make you more memorable and encourage your interviewer to reach out to them to get their thoughts on you.

Research the company. Do you  know what the company does? How they make money? What's the latest company news? Who is the CEO? I recommend in the days leading up to the interview that you set Google news alerts on the company. Also, reading the 10k, if it's a public company is a treasure trove of company specific information. Leverage Google search, social media and friends that you might have that work there to get as much information as possible.

Prepare questions to ask. The first rule of asking any question in an interview is don't ask any question where the answer can easily be found online. Try to ask questions that only that person could answer. Questions like, "why did you come to work here?" or "what do you like best about the culture?".

Research the interviewers. Google them and focus on professionally relevant information you might find. Look at their LinkedIn, Twitter and other social profiles to see what they have shared recently. Use all that information to help you think of better personalized questions to ask each interviewer. An example could be a question like, "I saw that you have an engineering background and started out in aerospace, but are now a product marketer. I've followed a similar path, do you think your engineering background has helped you here at XYZ company?"

Practice. Role play can feel cheesy, but your answers will be much better if you do a mock interview with someone else beforehand. Practice the stories you want to tell using the STAR stories format to keep them short and powerful.

Think about the question they will ask. There are many websites, like Glassdoor, where people will anonymously post questions they were asked in interviews at different companies. Read through the questions and practice answering the ones that you think you might be asked. Also, there are lots of website that compile common role specific questions.

If you're interviewing a lot, not all job interviews probably deserve this sort of preparation. A lot of preparation though, will make a big difference in how well you perform. If there is something you think I missed, please let me know in the comments!