What’s the best way to prepare for job interviews?

What’s the best way to prepare for job interviews?

SOURCE: QUORA –¬†Disclaimer: This advice is not for technical interviews. If you’re preparing for software interviews, go read Programming Interviews Exposed.

These following points are relevant for product management, investment banking, or consulting sort of interviews.

Figure out your story.
You should be able to give a 30-second pitch about who you are and why you’re interviewing for this job at this company. If asked to elaborate, you should be able to fill in additional supporting details for your main story line. Ideally, these supporting details will be corroborated by items on your resume, whether previous work experience or other activities.

Tip: Make a checklist of particular skills or experiences of yours that you want to highlight, and think about stories that convey them. Remember this mental checklist and during the interview, make sure you’re hitting all the key points. At the very end, sometimes the interviewer will ask if there’s anything else you want to say. This is your chance to talk about anything awesome about you that you intended to convey but haven’t yet.

The gist of all this is that you should be able to sell yourself.

Do your homework on the company and the position. Know what the company does and what you would be doing if you got the job. At a minimum you should look at the company’s website and review the job posting, but it’s even better if you can talk to people who actually work there. Reach out to your network — check Facebook or LinkedIn to see if anyone in your immediate network works there, or if there is anyone one degree of separation out. Don’t be afraid to ask for a coffee chat so you can ask what they think of the company, if they have any tips for the job interview, or anything else you should know. You can also ask for more references to chase; it’s useful to talk to multiple people to get different perspectives.

Do mock interviews and practice questions.
You should absolutely do practice interviews and questions. The second time you tell a story is always better than the first, because you’ve worked out the wording, the plot buildup and punchline. Your answers to interview questions will be the same way.

If you have access to a professional development center, schedule a mock interview for yourself. If not, ask a friend to interview you. You can get practice questions online or in Vault Guides, Wetfeet, or similar books.

Another good exercise is to write down all your answers to common questions. “What are top three strengths?”, “Describe a team experience you’ve had”, “What are you proudest of?”, “Where do you want to be in 5 years?”, etc.

Be well-rested.
This is one of those annoying pieces of advice that people give for all manner of things in the way of interviews, standardized testing, etc., that seems like it’s not that important but actually is. If you are well-rested and chipper, you will feel better, answer questions better, and connect better with the interviewer. In the end, it’s a pretty subjective test — do what you can to make a good impression.