Developing Your Career

The Art of the Interview: Leave Nothing to Chance

By James Greenway on May 20, 2014

Develop Your Career

While your qualifications may look great on a resume, they don’t guarantee interview success. Interviewing should not be approached as a game of chance but as an art approached with deliberation. To shine, you need to be prepared.  Here’s how:

First, know thyself. Follow the advice of Greece’s Delphic oracle and engage in clear-eyed introspection. Companies want employees who understand their strengths and weaknesses and can adapt to change. Think of specific examples of how you’ve learned from experience. Consider carefully how to demonstrate your abilities as an individual and a team player.

Second, know your employer. An interview should never be just about you. Showing that you understand the company’s world is essential. Carefully consider the job description and how you fit it. Then, conduct serious research into your interviewer, the firm and its business. The Internet is a good place to start but don’t overlook your network. Reach out to any shared connections who can provide insight.

Third, plan to connect. People don’t just hire talent. They hire people they like and can work with. Ensure that you enter your interview prepared for its social aspects. Plan to smile, make eye contact and shake hands firmly. Aim to identify and discuss mutual interests. Enter the room looking for visual clues—books, award placards, degree certificates. Above all, be engaged and enthusiastic.

Once you’ve prepared on these three fronts, one last task remains—practice and more practice. Get in front of a video camera; answer some mock questions; review and repeat. Your interview will reflect the high value you offer, while making it that much more likely you’ll turn it into an offer.

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