Interview Preparation

Dread. Absolute dread. That is a typical reaction to a job interview opportunity.  There must be a joke in there somewhere.  What do you want that you don’t want?

I heard or read something in 2009 that a shift had begun. The shift I am referring to is the shift from a career equaling 2, 3, or 4 full-time jobs with 1, 2, or 3 employers, to serial contracting assignments with 7, 8, or 9 employers. This was supposed to be especially true for engineers, project managers, and marketing managers. Personally I am not sure free agency work on projects would be ideal for me, but I get the point. One of the enablers for this was that finally, work like this could be done from just about anywhere. Really, who cares if the engineer lives in Kansas as long as the work is accomplished. The managers who thought that I had to see him to believe he was working, well let’s just agree there are fewer of these managers these days.

I am not a tea leaves guy, and won’t pretend to be. Your guess is better than mine on whether this “shift” will transpire or not. I do think we are all going to have to interview more than our dads and moms. (I really went out on a limb with that one!) Some advice that worked for me and helped me keep it simple and relevant was to prepare for only three interview questions.

1. How did you find out about this opportunity?

2. How do your skills fit with what we need now?

3. Why are you interested?

These are not as easy as they look. For question 1, you should be able to talk about who you have talked to about the opportunity and show that you have done some primary and secondary research. For question 2, be ready to give a specific example of how something you have accomplished can apply to what is needed for this new opportunity and can quickly bring results. More than one of these examples is even better. Long term career goals are good, but not in response to this question.  Be ready for question 3. It cannot be all about you. Make sure that you project how it will be when you are on the job and contributing and how that will help the organization improve. Connect that improvement to why you are interested.

There is so much advice for job seekers, I am almost embarrassed to add my three cents. It was on my mind today as I heard a radio story that unemployment seems to be stuck at greater than 10%. It is sad that so many adults in the US today are unemployed. I know I am so fortunate to have the job I have with the team I work with every day. If I can help you, please connect with me on LinkedIn.


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