How To Prepare For An Interview

Hi Everyone,

I hope this message reaches you well. This post is probably the most important post I’ve had on the site. These tips have helped hundreds of people get their dream job. I hope it helps each one of you. One of my business partners & good friends wrote a great article about Interviewing & Preparation. His name is Brett Cotter & his company is called Stress Is Gone. I strongly recommend that you take a good look at what he can do for you. They are on the cutting edge of stress relief & specialize in coaching people to get through stressful times in their lives….

Their website is

Here is Brett’s article regarding interviewing & preparation :

How To Prepare For An Interview

Being prepared helps you do a great interview. When answering questions be simple, clear, and stay on track. Two to four sentences can provide a clear answer, just choose your words wisely. If you can quiet your mind to actually listen to the complete question (most of our minds nervously start thinking of an answer before the interviewer finishes the question) and deliver a clear answer calmly, you are 10 steps ahead of the game. Over prepare days in advance. Then when you get there, clear your head and be yourself. The right words will come.

General Preparation:

Prepare and rehearse the answers to the below questions until your answers flow clearly, confidently, and calmly.

1. For each bullet point in your professional experience section prepare a clear and concise answer (of approximately three sentences) to the following question, “Tell me exactly how you did this?” Make sure you explain the situation, your action, and the result.

2. For each line in the job posting prepare a clear and concise answer (of approximately three sentences) to the following question, “Tell me exactly how would you approach doing this?”

3. If you are asked to provide an example of a situation you have encountered at work, ALWAYS use a recent example that directly applies to the question and include three steps to your answer. One; the situation. Two; your action steps. Three; the result. Allow 2 sentences per step.

4. Be able to answer the following question effectively, “Tell me a little bit about yourself?” Just mention 3 things from your professional background and 1 or 2 things from your personal background. Make sure what you mention relates to the job somehow. Points you can mention: years of total professional experience, years of relevant experience specific to the job, years of industry experience, certifications, any awards or career achievements, place of birth and place of residence. Basically you can speak from your resume’s summary section with adding a personal touch to it. Keep it simple, clear, short, and sweet. Do not ramble on. The purpose of this question is to see if you are prepared, are going to babble endlessly, or bore the interviewer to death. So be prepared.

5. “What are you looking for?” Mention 1 or 2 things that you are looking for which directly relate to the job you are interviewing for. Example: If you are interviewing for a programmer position you can say, “I am looking to further develop and grow my programming skills in a company I can lay my roots in long-term.”

6. Effectively answer questions about aspects of the job posting that are not in your background. Do 20-minutes of online research on these areas and take some basic notes. If asked about these areas you can say something like, “I haven’t done that hands-on yet but from what I understand xyz is very important to keep in mind.” If the interviewer says something is missing in your background that they need for the job, provide an example of how you learned a new responsibility quickly on the job. Express a simple 3-step process of how you went about it, and site one or two areas from your resume where you did this successfully. Finally you can say something like, “I understand I don’t have all the skills, all I can say is I don’t leave until I get the job done and I’m a fast learner.” If you get the job, be ready to put the work in, and deliver.

7. “What are your 3 to 5 year goals?” Mention realistic attainable goals that should be reachable for someone doing a good job in the role you are interviewing for. Avoid having the interviewer think you will want to move out of the role in less than 3 years. Avoid lofty short term goals and goals that imply no ambition. Saying something like, “I would like to really hone my skills throughout the next three years in this job, and as time goes on I would hope we could figure out how I could add more value to the organization.”

8. “What are you looking for in a base salary?” Say exactly what you are making (or if unemployed what you were making in your last job) in terms of base salary and bonus, then follow-up with something like, “… I am looking for a fair offer but what’s more important then money to me is working for a company that can be a long-term fit.” If you know the range of the position never say anything higher then the range and never increase your expectations above what you previously entered in an online or written application for that company. Expectations that are unrealistic or increase as time goes on during the interview process are extremely frustrating for hiring managers, HR people, and recruiters. Stay consistent. Identify the money range you are willing to accept before stepping out on interviews, do research, and keep an open mind. Ultimately, as in real-estate, the market dictates what you are worth by the offers you receive.

9. “Why are you looking to leave your current employer?” or “Why did you leave your previous job?” Never say anything negative about current or past employers. Steer away from answers based on money, being called by a recruiter, etc. Acceptable answers have to do with excessive work travel, a daily commute over 90-minutes each way, the company is unstable, changing business model, laying people off, has been acquired, etc. It’s always good to start off your answer with a smile and say something like, “I love working over there, the people are great, but unfortunately the company started laying people off, and it’s the right time for me to find something long-term.”

10. Prepare two good questions to ask the interviewer. Ask questions if the interviewer provides the opportunity towards the end of the interview.

For Human Resources – Does the company offer any long-term benefits for employees that stay for over 5 to 10 years?

For HR or the Hiring Manager – What is the potential career path for this position if someone is dedicated and does a good job for 3 to 5 years?

For HR or the Hiring Manager – In this position, how do I best add value to the team?

For the Hiring Manager – What types of behaviors do the most successful people in this role exhibit?

For the Hiring Manager – What is the most important quality you look for in a person?

TIP: Research the company to find out what their business is, what’s going on in the news, and a little bit of the history.

TIP: Prepare for an HR interview by knowing the dates and addresses of your previous employers and educational facilities, have the emails and phone numbers for three confirmed professional references ready to go, be able to have a clear calm conversation about money especially having your previous salaries handy, let them know you are interested and at least 3 reasons why.

TIP: Have a recruiter you trust check your references before handing them to a company. One or two may not be as good as you think, and weeding that out early is better. Only supply stellar references to companies.

Phone Interview Preparation:

1. Ideally take the call on a land-line. If not, make sure you are located in a place that has great reception. Make sure your phone is charged. Plan your call so you are in a place with zero background noise.

2. Have a positive upbeat tone in your voice. Do your best to get your energy level up for the call. Avoid being monotone or flat. You want to come across well spoken, professional, and interested. Plan to take the call in a place you can speak loud and clear. Do not take the call in a place where you need to keep your voice down and hide the fact that you are interviewing. Many employers screen for a confident tone of voice during the phone screen.

3. Show Interest and enthusiasm. The perfect time to do this is after the interviewer explains something about the company, job, or project. Always follow-up with, “That’s very interesting to me”, “That’s something I’d like to be involved with”, “That is what I am looking for”, “That is very important to me”, “Great, that’s exactly what I’m doing now”, etc.

4. If the interviewer asks a general or vague question such as, “Tell me about your database programming experience?” Do not try to explain all your projects. Provide a well-rounded summary answer like, “Well I have 10-years experience with database programming, mostly Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and MySQL within the finance and healthcare industries. I am very strong with writing T-SQL and stored procedures.” To confirm you gave the interviewer what they wanted you can always ask the follow-up question, “Is there any part of my answer you’d like me to expand upon?“

5. If the interviewer asks a very specific question provide a very specific answer. If your words are to the point, you should be able to answer mostly any question within 4 sentences. To confirm you gave the interviewer what they wanted you can always ask the follow-up question, “Is there any part of my answer you’d like me to expand upon?“

TIP: Always search for the person you are interviewing with on LinkedIn and Google.

In-Person Interview Preparation:

Things to Prepare a Few Days in Advance

1. Your best blue or black business suit.

2. Map out your travel agenda giving time for traffic/public transportation delays.

3. Print up copies of your resume to bring with you, in a leather resume folder with notepad and a pen.

4. Practice the General Preparation tips.

Day of the Interview

1. Bring your resume folder and photo ID.

2. Plan on arriving to the site 30 minutes early and get comfortable in the environment.

3. Let reception know you are there 10 minutes before interview time.

Upon Arrival

1. Attitude – Show you are happy to be there by saying so.

2. Energy – Show you are in a positive state of mind by smiling.

3. Presence – Show you are confident through eye contact, openly initiating handshakes with a smile, etc.

4. Whenever filling out an application complete it accurately especially; dates/$ for employment, education details, etc.

5. When handling money on an application, prepare to enter what you were making at your last 3 to 5 places of employment (exact base + bonus or hourly rate if you were contracting). Under desired salary write in “open” or “flexible” if you are.

While Interviewing remain in report with the interviewer

1. Always greet and say good-bye with an authentic smile, a confident handshake (don’t wait for the other person to extend their hand, extend your first) and say “thanks for having me in.”

2. Be aware of your body language; keep your arms and legs relaxed and uncrossed with your resume folder in your lap (if sitting in front of a desk) ready to take notes. Confidently and attentively sit up straight in the chair, use your hands to express at times. Keep from touching your face, fidgeting in the chair, crossing your arms, or avoiding eye contact by looking around the room. Make sure when someone is talking there is eye contact and smile.

3. Show Interest and enthusiasm. The perfect time to do this is after the interviewer explains something about the company, job, or project. Always follow-up with, “That’s very interesting to me”, “That’s something I’d like to be involved with”, “That is what I am looking for”, “That’s very important to me”, “That’s exactly what I like doing”, etc.

5. Let the interviewer decide when the interview is over.

6. Always Always Always end with a solid handshake and an authentic smile.