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The Essentials for Preparing for an Interview

The Essentials for Preparing for an Interview

Always be prepared. Yes, I know the Boy Scouts have the market cornered on this one. But I can’t help but agree with them — especially when it comes to interviewing. Preparedness is the key to a successful interview.

With over fifteen years working in HR and recruiting, I have interviewed thousands of candidates (yes, thousands) for positions in almost every industry. I can resolutely say that if you don’t prepare, you won’t get the job. Here's what you need to do to fully prepare for an interview (and ace it).

Review the Job Description in Advance

Before you get on the phone or meet with someone in person, know the exact job they are hiring for and what they want from a candidate.

Know Your Resume

If your memory is a little fuzzy and you can’t quickly recall what happened “that one time at band camp…” then you need to review your resume, STAT. You should know your resume inside and out. But go beyond what is written on the paper — make sure you take the time in advance to think about each position you’ve held, remember key aspects of that role and what you did specifically, and how that relates to the job you are interviewing for.

[Related: The Three Steps Career Changers Must Take Before Even Thinking “Résumé”]

Be Prepared to Ask Questions of the Interviewer

An interviewer wants to know that you are a serious candidate who is truly interested in the position and the company. The best way to convey your interest is by asking questions. While I believe the best questions usually come from insights you gain during the course of an interview, I also recommend creating a list of questions in advance. These questions can be about the organization structure, culture or management; or particular points on the position, including scope, responsibilities, or expectations. Whatever you do, don’t say, “No, I don’t have any questions.” And if you really don't have any questions, ask the interviewer about their personal experiences with the organization, the team, etc.

Be Prepared to Answer Questions

Do yourself a favor: don’t wing it! Today, interviewing is formulaic. To ensure that you are ready to give the best answers possible, by thinking about potential behavioral interview questions in advance. Most importantly, prepare STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) responses to those questions! Be sure to practice your answers with someone in advance of your interview. The more you practice the easier the interview will be.

Don’t let yourself become apart of the 95% of interview candidates that don’t make the initial cut. Ensure that you progress through the interview process by taking every interview seriously – put in the time to prepare and it will pay off.


Vivian Garcia-Tunon, the founder of VGT Consulting Group, is a premier executive and performance coach, who specializes in building high performing teams in fast-paced growth organizations.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.


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