Interviewing Secrets – How to prepare so that you stand above your competition

September 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

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Interviewing is intimidating, nerve wracking, and can make you feel like you’re two heartbeats away from having a heart attack. You only have one shot at making a great first impression so you need to make sure you’re prepared to give the right answers during your next interview.
And that is so much easier when you know what the interviewer really wants to know about you. So here are five key questions going through your interviewer’s mind…

  1. Can you do the job?
    These questions are usually very black and white. Either you have what it takes to be successful in the position or not. Before the interview, be sure to study the job description so that you fully understand the job requirements.Be prepared to talk about your skills, knowledge, and training that will help you perform the job successfully. The biggest mistake I see job candidates making is talking about their responsibilities, and what they need to focus on are the results and accomplishments they’ve achieved for their previous employers.
  2. What “extras” do you bring?
    For most job openings, a hiring manager knows about 90% of the work that the new employee will be responsible for, but not the remaining 10%. That is because they want to know, What can you (the new employee) ADD to the position?So before you go into a job interview, think about any additional skills and talents that you can bring to the position.
  3. Where are you at risk?
    Every new employee is a risk to a company. Whether it’s a specific job requirement that you don’t meet, or potentially being overqualified for the position, or a potential health risk, etc. So, spend some time thinking about where you are a risk.
    I like to beat the interviewer to the punch by stating where I’m a risk and then reassuring her why it won’t be a problem. For example, if the job requires that you need to know of a specific type of software, then I want you to sign-up for some training before your interview so that you can say that you’ve already registered for some training to learn more about the software.
    The point is that you need to be able to discuss the area(s) where you are a risk, and then immediately follow-up with what you’re doing to close the gap.
  4. Does the interviewer like you? Will you fit in with the corporate culture?
    This is an area that you really cannot take personally. Either the culture and the team are a good fit for you, or they aren’t. And believe me, it’s better to know up front during the interview, than to have a pit in your stomach every day as you walk into your new office.I once interviewed with a Sales VP at a television station. After 1 1/2 hours of interviewing, I really couldn’t tell if he wanted to hire me or not, so I simply asked, “Do you think I would be a good fit with your team?” He told me that he didn’t think so because he allows his team to vent, kick the garbage can and curse like sailors in the office. I appreciated his candor because the reality is that I would not be happy or successful in an environment like that.During your next interview, be prepared to discuss your professional style and work ethics.
  5. Will you be able to work out the compensation/benefits package?
    Be prepared to talk about a salary range that is acceptable to you. I do not recommend giving an exact salary since the benefits package almost always includes room for negotiating vacation days, stock allowance, bonus payouts, perks, etc. But you should be prepared to give a salary range that you would accept.

Those are 5 questions that your interviewer really wants to know about you! It’s not everything you should do to prepare for an upcoming interview – but it’s a good start!

If you have an upcoming interview I advise you to get professional help and meet with an interview coach! Someone who can continue giving you deeper, smarter interviewing strategies and who can fully prepare you so that you’ll ace your next interview and beat out your competition.

About Career Coach Sherri Thomas
Sherri Thomas is a leading career coach who helps professionals transform and thrive in their career. She is a leading career coach, Huffington Post writer, globe trotting keynote speaker, and the 2013 Best Career Book author of “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster after a layoff, re-org or career setback.” As a sought after media source, she has been featured in top news outlets including NBC-TV Phoenix, the Wall St. Journal, TIME, New York Daily News, Monster.com and many others. She loves traveling around the world and learning about other cultures, thrives in nature, and will always encourage you to go on what she calls a life changing Kenyan safari because the 30-hour flight journey “isn’t that bad.”


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