How to get prepared for your next job interview
If you have a job interview coming up and you want to ace it, I’m going to give you 12 steps that are going to prepare you for your next job interview, no matter if it’s over Skype or Zoom or it’s just a one on one.
It doesn’t matter. When you can master these 12 steps that I am going to walk you through, I guarantee, without a doubt, you will be a top contender. You’ll be in the top two or three candidates for any job that you interview.
So, if you want to be a top contender in your next interview, go ahead and tell me now by hitting the “Like” button on the video. Subscribe to my channel and ring the bell and I’ll dive right in.
So, first things first. As I walk you through these 12 steps on literally how to be the best candidate, truth is the most important thing. I want you to be truthful throughout the entire interview process. Don’t lie, don’t mislead, don’t exaggerate, but be truthful.
And as I go through these steps, if I tell you to do things that are not true for you or don’t feel comfortable or don’t feel right for you, then don’t do them.
I’m not telling you to lie. And I will never tell you to lie. I will always tell you things that have worked for me and have worked for my clients. If they don’t feel right for you, then just don’t do them or take a version of them that does work for you and that you do feel comfortable with. Fair enough?
Know your greatest strenghts
Now, first things first. Number 1; you must know your greatest strength. You must know your superpower. What are you better at doing than anybody else?
So, if this job is in accounting, what can you do in accounting that is better than anyone else? And if it’s not better than anyone else, as good as the very best, or if this job is in IT, what can you do well, better than anyone on IT. Do you know UNIX? Do you know Microsoft? Do you know how to fix computers? What specifically is your strength? If the job is in the medical field, what do you do better than anyone else?
Or if it’s a leadership position, how are you the greatest leader? What makes you the best? What makes you better than everybody else that you are competing for in this job?
You must know this. To know this — Maybe you don’t know it before your interview, but I urge you to think about it. Have a conversation with yourself. Take a walk around the block. Walk in the park. Think about what you do that makes who you are; that makes you feel good inside. And that is clearly better than anyone else. All right.
Be a solution to their problems
Moving on here to number 2: You need to understand their problems. You need to know what the biggest challenges are in this position or that this company is facing. I mean, after all, they are hiring you to solve problems. I mean, why else would they hire you?
And those could be customer service problems. Those could be engineering problems. Those could be financial problems. Sales problems. It could be anything. You need to understand why they are hiring you and what those problems are.
Now, maybe you don’t know. I mean, maybe you just looked at the job description, you don’t know. Well, read through the job description very carefully and look for areas of concern. What do you think their biggest problems are by reading the job description?
Now, if you’re still not getting an idea for that when you’re in the interview, casually bring it up saying. Say, “What are some of the biggest challenges facing this position?” And they’ll tell you. And then what you want to do is you want to be a solution to the problems and show them how you can solve their problems and help them get what they want.
And oftentimes, you can do that by knowing what your superpower is; your greatest strength. And you’ll be able to leverage your greatest strength to what their problems are to help them solve it. Kind of just the all goes in a big circle there.
How to understand the problems facing an employer
So, moving on to number 3. Now that you understand what their problems are, now you want to show them how you can be a solution to the problems.
You want to talk about how you have worked on things before; the exact same problems or similar problems. This will show them that you understand that the other challenges that they are facing and then how you can be a solution to them.
You want to talk about how you have done similar things; how you’ve worked on similar assignments, projects, engineering projects, IT projects, accounting projects, finance, whatever it is. You want to talk about what you have done before that’s related to what their needs are.
This is going to build rapport with them. This is going to show them that, you know, you have worked in the trenches before and that you are the type of resourceful individual that can step into this role and help them solve their challenges. And not just today, but for tomorrow as well.
Make the interview about the employer
Moving on to number 4: make the interview about them. Talk about the kinds of things that they are doing publicly and align with them. Talk about why you’re interested in that and what excites you about that and working this job, you know, what would fulfill you in doing the kinds of things that they’re doing.
I mean, by making the interview about them, you make them feel important. You talk about them. They get excited about that. If you just talk about you the whole time, they’re really not going to hear it. You want to talk about them and that’s going to get them excited about you. And that’s going to build rapport with them. And you’ll go much farther in the process. They will eventually start to really like you because you sound like them.
Ask the employer questions that shows you understand them
Alright, moving on to number 5; ask them questions that shows that you understand them. You don’t want to ask them just any kind of question. You want to ask them questions that are specific about the company, specific about the role, specific about what they’re doing, what their expectations are for the role.
You want to ask very targeted and focused questions that show them that you understand them and you understand their needs.
I mean, think about this for a second. If you were interviewing two people for this position and you ask both of them, “Why do you want this job?” And the first person says, “Yeah, I need a job. I need the money.” And the second person went on to say how he would do the job, how they’ve done it before. They would talk about the details of what excites them about this type of work. They would express that this is the kinds of stuff that I love doing. And they would go on and on and on and tell you about why you should hire them.
So, in the end, you’ve got one person who says, “I want the job. I need the job.” And the other person says, “This is what I do. This is who I am. This is what I love doing. And here’s how I would do it.”
Who are you going to hire? Exactly, that’s what I thought. And that’s why you want to ask them questions that show you understand them, because that’s who they’re going to hire. They’re going to hire the person who understands their needs the best.
Express why you want this job
Alright, let’s move on to number 6. And this one ties back in to number five. Share with them why you want the job. Why is it important to you that you work at, let’s say, Google or Facebook or the Ford Motor Company? I mean, maybe you have an interview at the Ford Motor Company. Why do you want to work there? What interests you about it? Are you an automobile fanatic? Maybe so. Maybe if you work at Google, you want a job there. Maybe you are a programming fanatic or maybe you’re an advertising fanatic.
Or maybe if you work at a game company, you’re just fanatical about games. Or maybe if you work in the health care field, you are just crazy about helping other people. You love helping other people in need, whatever it is.
Maybe you’re an accountant. What excites you about that? Maybe it’s the numbers. Maybe it’s about bringing the calculations in your head. Maybe it’s looking at all the graphs, the charts and making predictions. Share with them why you want this job. That is so important because employers don’t want to hire people who the job isn’t going to serve them as well.
Employers, I mean, some people think that they’re just this inhumane corporation, but they’re not. They want to hire people who this job is going to fulfill them. It has to meet their needs as well. The job has to meet the needs of the employer and the company, and it has to meet the needs of the individual.
If it doesn’t meet the needs of you, then you’re going to leave. You’re only going to work that job for six months, maybe a year, and then you’re going to get out and employers know this. So, that’s why they want to find out if this job meets your fundamental needs and if you are applying for it.
So, that’s why you want to share with them why you want it. Why is it important to you? Don’t just tell them, “I need a job. I need the money.” We all do that; that’s the very basic level for any position. But what do you really want? Let them know. Let them feel that. Let them understand that.
Match and mirror the body language of your interviewer
Alright, moving on here to number 7. When you’re in the interview. Now, whether you’re doing this over Skype. Zoom or you’re in a face to face, mirror them. What I mean by that is mirror their body language.
I mean, if they’re constantly just sitting back in their chair, you might want to take a more relaxed approach. If they’re up straight and they have very stern body language, mirror that as well. Because if they’re sitting up straight and they maintain good posture and you’re just kind of sitting back, hunched over the whole time, you’re showing them that you are unlike them. You want to mirror them, to show them that you are.
Now, as far as speech goes, if they’re really fast talkers, you might want to try to talk a little bit faster. But if they’re a fast talker and you have a tendency to speak very slowly, that is going to drive them nuts. So, you want to try to meet them maybe halfway. Maybe pick up your pace a little bit.
Now, if you’re a really fast talker and they’re really slow talkers, you’re going to drive them nuts; they’re not going to hear. They’re going to hear every other word that you say. So, that’s where you want to try to slow down your rate of speech.
So, you want to mirror. You want to mirror the body language. You want to mirror their vocal tones. You might even want to mirror some of their hand gestures. You want to mirror them to show them that you are like them. That’s a way to build nonverbal rapport. And that’s what a lot of the interview is; it’s nonverbal. It’s the expressions on our face. How we express our body language and our vocal tones; all those different things.
Be humble – always
Alright, moving on here to number 8. Be humble. If there’s something that you don’t know, don’t try to fake it. I mean, if I ask you a question about how you’ve done something or if you know a specific piece of software, hardware or whatever it is, a certain tool, and you don’t know, just tell them, “I haven’t worked with that. But here’s something that I have worked with that is very similar.”
You’re always better off to not just end it and say, “I don’t know.” Even if you don’t know, you’d want to try to meet them halfway and come close to what they’re looking for. That way, again, you’re building rapport with them. It’s okay to say, “I don’t know how to do something.” But it’s a lot better to say, “I don’t know how to do this, but I’ve done something that’s very similar.” And you go just so much farther in the interview when you try to at least meet them halfway on things.
So, be humble and show humility in the interview. And these subtle qualities are going to show them that you are the type of genuine, honest and decent person that they do want to hire.
Be clear about what you are looking for in a job
Alright, let’s move on here to number 9. Be clear about what you want. So, when they ask you why you want this job, you want to be crystal clear about what this job is going to do for you, how this job is going to fulfill you. At the end of the day, after doing this job, it’s going to make you feel a certain way.
And whatever that is, I mean, it could be working in customer service. You’ll say, “You know what? I want this job because I love working with other people. I love getting on the phone. I love solving people’s problems.” I mean, whatever it is, you want to be very clear about what you want.
And why are you looking for another job? I mean, they’re going to want to know; why are you leaving your current job to come here? And that’s where you want to tell them, “Well, my current job isn’t offering me these certain things over here. And these are the things that I’m looking for. And you guys are. And that’s why I want to leave where I’m at, so I can come over here and get what I want.”
This is one of the few times you can really start talking about yourself and what you’re looking for and you can make it about you because they want to know. They want to know why you want this job. And that’s your perfect opportunity to be more personal and straightforward and genuinely honest with them about what you are looking for specifically.
Don’t beat around the bush – give clear answers to every interview question
Alright, let’s move on here to number 10. Give crystal clear on point answers to everything. Minimize your babbling as much as you can. I know we all have a tendency to just go on and on and on and ramble on endlessly in the interview. But usually, that’s because we’re unsure of what we want to say and are unsure of where we want the conversation to go.
So, I’ve got a great little formula. When they ask you a question, very quickly, think about a time that you want to talk about and think about where you want to start the story, think about, immediately, where you want to end the story. That way you create an end point.
So, now you’ve got a story in your head and you’ve got a starting point and an end point. And all this happens in just milliseconds in your mind. Then you go ahead and tell them the story.
Now, the key thing here is having that endpoint in mind; that’s your marker. That’s to tell you to stop talking when you hit a certain point. That means everything that you told them throughout the story is going to be enough information.
Is it going to be the complete 100 percent full story? No, it’s not. It’s going to be the highlights of the story. But it’s got an end point. So, you talk about a situation where, there was a time and you talk about what you did in that situation and then you follow that up with what happened in the situation. And then you stop talking.
Generally, you can answer any question within 30 to 45 seconds. Now, the shorter your answers, the better, because the more you talk and talk and talk, the harder it is for interviewers to comprehend everything that you’re saying. When you talk for maybe 30 to 40 seconds, it’s a lot easier for the human mind to comprehend everything that you said. And in most cases, they’re going to say, “Oh, that sounds great.” and then they’re going to move on. Or if they want clarification, they might ask for some follow up.
But if you ramble on for 2 or 3 minutes endlessly about something, the human mind really just isn’t capable of comprehending everything that you said the first time. Now, if you said it over and over and over again, yes, it would. But in the interview, that’s not an option. You get to say things once.
So, minimize your babbling. Create a starting point, an ending point for everything that you want to say. This will give you a target to hit when you answer the question and you’ll come out with shorter, on-point answers that make sense to anybody you say them to.
Revisit your past experiences
Alright, let’s move on to number 11. Now, which we want to do before any interview is go through and re-remember your past experiences and skills. This is one of the things that everybody fails to do. They just think that all that past 5, 10 years of experience, they’re going to be able to just pull that out of their head at a moment’s notice in any interview.
But the problem is everybody goes into the interview. And what happens? We’re nervous. We are naturally nervous when we’re in front of other people that we have never seen before, they are asking us questions we’re not used to and they’re going to ask us questions about our past experience.
And normally, if anybody asks questions about our past experience, we might be able to pull out an answer. But in the heightened tensions of an interview, it’s a lot harder to pull those things out.
So, what happens is job candidates get asked a question in the interview and they have to think about it and they’ve got to scratch their head. And then they give a really long, rambling, babbling answer that goes on for 3 or 5 minutes. And the interviewer doesn’t even know what they said.
But had they taken the time before the interview (a couple days before the interview, preferably) to go through the past experiences, write them out; get pen and paper and write out all your experiences. Write out things that you’ve done, projects that you’ve worked on. Write out all the details.
What this is going to do. This is going to rewrite that information in your mind. It’s going to pull it from your long-term memory, can move it into your short-term memory, so that it’s a lot easier and more fluid for you to talk about those experiences.
And when they ask you a question, you’ll be able to just rattle something off in 20 or 30 seconds. It’ll be like it happened yesterday. It might have happened 5 years ago, but you took the time to remember and rewire and rewrite those experiences into your mind, so that they’re fresh. So, that you can talk about them in a very succinct manner and sum up things, sum up experiences that used to take you 5 minutes to discuss into 20 or 30 seconds.
Now, you’ll also be a lot fresher on the things that you’ve done. This will put you in a much stronger position to answer any of those questions that you’re just not prepared for because it’s going to happen. They’re going to ask questions. You’re going to have no idea; never heard of a question like that before. But taking the time to go through and a refresh and rewrite those experiences and move them from your long-term memory to your short-term memory is going to enable you to answer any type of question that they throw at you.
Even if you have to struggle; they might they might have to see you think, but you’ll still be able to give them a very focused answer that addresses the question.
Be clear about why you want to leave your job
Alright., let’s move on here to the next one. Be clear on why you want to leave your job. Now, if you’re not working somewhere, you this one really doesn’t apply. But if you are working somewhere and you want to go to another job, be clear on what that job isn’t providing for you. Be clear about what you don’t like about it. What it’s not giving you and what you are looking for in a new position.
Now, a lot of times, the number one reason people leave their job is because (and this is statistically correct) it’s because they don’t like the boss. They don’t like their manager and that’s why they’re leaving. But nobody ever wants to say, “Well, I don’t like my boss.”
The reason they don’t want to say that is because it makes you look bad, usually. I mean, because the reason you don’t like your boss is probably subjective. I mean, there’s something about them that maybe you don’t like, But you know what? I bet you there’s 10 other people in that company that do. Maybe they don’t; I don’t know. But usually, there’s just something that you don’t like about them; not that they’re a bad boss.
So, if they ask you why you’re leaving. I mean, you could say that you don’t really get along with your boss, but you want to say it in a way that you don’t get along with them on a personal level and you want to let them know that it doesn’t affect your ability to do your job. But there are better reasons to discuss or to explain or express why you’re leaving your job.
But whatever your reason is, let them know that this job that you’re at now isn’t giving you what you need in your career and what you’re looking for in a new position.
Because employers are smart. They’re more than happy to hire you away from your old job and put you in a new job, but they want to make sure that this new job is going to meet your needs. They don’t want to just take you out of there and put you over here and have you end up with the same problems that you had in your old job. And then in six months, you’re going to be leaving and interviewing for a job somewhere else. They don’t want that. They want you there long term.
So, be very clear on what your old job isn’t giving you and what this new job is going to give you. And you will make them feel a lot better about bringing you on board.