I just received this email from a good friend asking for my best advice on how one of his friends should prepare so that she could nail her interview for her dream job. Here is what I sent back to him…
I wanted to reach out to you to see if you could provide any insight and/or advice for me in regards to a very good friend of mine and her current professional situation. My friend was referred by a well-respected colleague for a coveted role at the local office of a Fortune 500 company. The role is a Sr. VP and she is awaiting her 3rd interview; the 1st was a phone interview w/ Corp HR, 2nd was in person w/ hiring manager and the 3rd will be a panel interview w/ hiring manager/Local Market Manager and 1 other. We are currently doing research in hopes of giving her the best possible chance of landing her dream job. Do you have any recommendations, insights and/or resources you can pass along that might help us with this process?
It sounds like you are doing a lot of things right. Here are just a few ideas for your friend…
1. Create a very thoughtful list of key questions to ask the interviewers. These should focus on job duties, culture, career path, opportunity for learning and professional growth, opportunity to contribute to the company in a meaningful way. Ask questions that demonstrate drive, proactivity, an “ownership mentality,” professional focus, desire to make a positive contribution, desire to collaborate and work with others.
2. You are already doing this… but be extremely well-prepared and researched for the meeting – know everything you possibly can about the company – think of it as a final exam where your entire grade is at stake and study appropriately. You should strive to know as much or more about the company as the people interviewing you!
3. Write a proposal. After you do all of your research, write a proposal or outline of places where your you feel like you could add value. What ideas can you offer already, what key questions would you ask once you got the job – give them an example of your expertise, experience and thought process. Add in data, charts, examples, benchmarking ideas – anything to show that you have given the position and the company a lot of thought.
4. Be 100% yourself – do not hold back or act differently than you would if you worked there. Act exactly the way that makes you comfortable – because, if you act differently than you really are in the interview and they hire you for how you are in the interview – you may not fit in once you act completely yourself at work.
5. When I used to interview people for senior positions I would ask them only ONE major question: “Please take the next 30 minutes and tell me everything you know about our company, our top three competitors and where you see our industry in five years.” If they could not talk intelligently for at least 20 minutes, the interview was over. So, how would you answer this question about the company you are about to interview with?
That is all I can think of for now, hope you found this helpful.
*** I welcome and encourage my blog readers to add your best advice and share this blog widely so others can offer even more ideas! Thanks — John