The Interview: Plan to get the offer not the job

You’ve landed an interview for a job you are crazy about and keen to secure.  One thing is for certain, you must prepare.  Never ever go to any interview without solid preparation and practice.

To prepare, changing your context can be extremely powerful.  Rather than preparing to secure the job, prepare and plan to be the ONE candidate who gets the offer.

1. Research

Research Yourself
Before you walk into the interview make sure you truly understand your value proposition for the job you are being interviewed for.  What are the skills, education, experience and natural talents you bring to the role?

You should be ready to answer questions on how you will add value, why they should employ you and how will you demonstrate a return on the business’ investment in you.

You should also take the time to carefully think about your motivations for the job – why do you want the job and why do you want to work for the organisation? Make sure you are able to express all of these thoughts in language appropriate for the level of the position you are applying for.

Research The Job
The next step is to find out the history of the position. Find out who was in the position in the past, their background, why the position exists and its role in the organisational structure.

Research the following group; your would-be peers, who you would be directly reporting to, and your colleagues. Find out who they are and their backgrounds. It will help you determine how the job you are applying for contributes to the strategy of the division and/or the organisation.

Research The Organisation
Now get to know the business. You should look at the Profit and Loss statements, the Balance Sheet, who owns the business, what is the vision of the organisation and what is its mission.  You should know the history of the organisation and where it is headed.

Research The Immediate Boss
The next step is to get to know the person who you will report to and the person who that person reports to. Make sure you know about their backgrounds, how long have they been in their roles and what are their responsibilities and accountabilities.

Once you have undertaken this research, you will be ready to ask questions on how you see yourself being an active member of this organisation.

2. Be Prepared – Practice Your Interview

Never wing an interview.  You should be ready to communicate efficiently and effectively. The easiest way to make sure you are articulate and have your thoughts gathered is to practice.

Find someone you trust to practice with so you can make sure you can answer questions about your skills, your capabilities and your potential clearly. It’s important that you are ready to quantify your achievements. It’s not enough to say you are good at something – make sure you have examples to back up your statements.

If you find you cannot answer a question immediately, don’t be afraid to ask a question back to clarify what the interviewer is asking. This tactic will give you time to prepare in your mind what you want to say.

3. Be Authentic – Be Honest – Be You – This job may not be the right opportunity for you!

If you spend the interview pretending to be someone you are not you run the risk of being offered a position that is not right for you. Don’t risk finding out later that you are not a good cultural fit in the role. Taking the wrong job means you may have missed an opportunity that could have been the right fit for you.

4. Ask Questions

Don’t leave an interview wishing all your questions had been answered.  Remember, you are interviewing the organisation as much as they are interviewing you!

Be sure to ask questions even though it may be hard. As the candidate, you should feel empowered and enabled to hold a conversation with the interviewers about your skills, capabilities, potential and the value you will bring to the organisation.  Employers look for good listening skills, humility, humour, technical expertise and culture alignment – asking questions of your interviewers is a great opportunity to demonstrate these traits.