You know how champion athletes train extensively to prepare for a competition? Well, that’s sorta how I prep for an interview.
I try to get in my “flow”.
Why do I think I’m qualified to provide you with interview pointers? Here’s some background:
I’ve been working since I was 15 ½ (Gold’s Gym was my first gig), and I’ve experienced answering controversial questions confidently with a big smile wearing a bikini and five-inch pumps on stage with girls who are prettier, taller more “dazzling” than me, et cetera…and I’ve scored better than they did in interviews. I landed my internship with a cold call. Between my part-time jobs, volunteer jobs, and full-time work, I’ve probably been interviewed and sized up by at least 25 hiring managers (and actual judges).
I can honestly say I’m comfortable during interviews.
While the interview isn’t my weak spot, I’m aware I’ll be speaking with big-boys (and big-girls) in first-rate companies. These companies are not “Mickey-Mouse” organizations; they demand a certain level of professionalism and respect. If the person you’re interviewing with also screens executive candidates, then they’re probably pretty good at judging character. So, don’t B.S. them. A hiring manager isn’t going to be forgiving if I’m less than par because I said “sorry” in a sweet voice. These are professionals with a job to do and my job is to make their job easier by being prepared, honest and cooperative (unless I don’t want the job).
So, I bring it.
If you’re a true pro, you understand what’s expected. At the bare minimum, you must do your homework.
There’s no such thing as being too prepared – only unprepared.
Besides, I owe it to myself to behave like a high-level professional and not like a rookie because that’s who I am. Also, recruiters and managers are less forgiving about my small mistakes because I have years of experience and they expect me to know better. And, they’re right! Step up or get off the plate!
What’s your homework? An understanding of the organization, its history, values and culture. And, more importantly, an understanding of the job you’re being considered for. You might think this is inconsequential because you’ll be learning about the company from the recruiter, but trust me, they notice and they appreciate someone who takes initiative. Not only that, but jumping into an organization without understanding what the culture is like is just plain silly.
If your values don’t align with the people you work with, you’ll never advance in the long run at that place.
I do my research on the person with whom I’m interviewing as well as the company itself. I also have a checklist that I complete before the actual interview. Within this checklist is a rating system to gauge how much I truly want the job with the company.
This is a two-way street afterall, and I’m interviewing companies just as much as they’re interviewing me.
I have tons of experience and a lot of talent to offer, and I’m not willing to settle for a something that is not a good fit. Also, there’s no way I can single-handedly change the culture of an organization to suit my style no matter how much passion or tenacity or drive I possess.
I know my weaknesses.
Knowing that a good fit is vital to my career trajectory in the long-run, I have to first understand what I want from an employer then be honest about whether they are willing to and have the ability to provide these things for me.
Keep in mind: this is a negotiation.
If I accept the job, I’m making a commitment to do my absolute best to provide the company with as much value as I can in the manner by which I’m able and within the context of my formal role. By accepting a job offer,
I’m obligated to do what’s expected.
Not the very minimum. Not what I can get away with. I’m in it all the way. It’s a big deal and a formal commitment. And, because I take what they asked of me seriously, I expect their investment in me as well. I call this, “healthy relationship”. This reminds me of what my friend tells his three-year old when she doesn’t want to do something she’s supposed to,
“You wanna be a big girl? Then, act like a big girl.”
Mind you, I’m not always a big girl. Sometimes I get lazy. Other times I’m tired, or immature. I find it tough to be on point 24/7. I like being goofy at times. And, I appreciate the different roles I have in life. However, when the situation calls for it, I come through. I have to. Not behaving like a 'big girl' during situations that call for maturity and commitment cause major problems. Stay on point.
(BTW, I got a second call back and booked a second interview immediately after the first interview today. The proof is in the pudding. =)