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5 steps to nailing your job interview

5 steps to nailing your job interview

You’ve got an interview—congratulations! Your potential employer has weeded through a stack of resumes and pulled out yours. They’ve already committed time and energy to you and are hoping you’ll make a good fit. In other words, the employer is on your side and wants you to succeed in your interview.

So you’re starting from a good place. Now consider how these five tips can help you make a smashing presentation and bolster your odds of landing the job.

Articulate how you’ll meet the employer’s needs

Throughout your preparations, your main focus should be on articulating the contributions you could make to this employer. If you can convince them you’ll add value to their organization, you’ll have aced the interview.

Get ready for Q & A

  • “Tell me about yourself.” This is when you want your elevator pitch (a thirty-second to one-minute summary of your professional background and goals)!
  • “Why are you interested in this organization/position?”
  • “What are your long-term career plans?”
  • “Why did you leave your last job?” / “Why are you leaving your current job?”
  • “What are your strengths?” (Answer as though they asked, “What strengths of yours would most benefit this organization/position?”)
  • “What are your weaknesses?” (Frame this answer in terms of challenges you faced in the past and what you did to overcome them.)
  • What are the initial short- and long-term projects for this position?
  • Can you tell me about the history of this position?
  • How is performance measured here?
  • What are the main challenges this organization faces? What are its strongest assets?
  • How would you describe the organizational culture here?
  • What’s the hiring process? / When do you expect to make a decision?

As much as possible, try to tie the answers you get to these questions back to the value you can bring to the employer. For example, if one of the long-term projects they mention is an overhaul of the organization’s website, and you have web design, copywriting, or analytics skills, make a point of describing your experience and how it could help the project.

A note about salary discussions: While we’ve written about how to research and negotiate your salary, this is a tricky topic in the interview process. Ideally, employers list their salary range in the job advertisement, but the topic might also come up in the first interview, or you might even have been asked to include your salary requirement or history in your cover letter. In short, it’s not always easy, possible, or desirable to defer the conversation; sometimes you’ll just have to talk salary early on. Alison Green at Ask a Manager has some great advice on how to handle salary-related questions in the interview process.

Pack your interview “go bag”

Basic interview dos and don’ts



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