Monday, October 3, 2011

Six Tips For Preparing For An Interview Part I

Hi All! This week I thought I’d go back to basics and cover some things that we all think we know.  Before I start sounding like the adults in a Peanuts cartoon – please listen.  This stuff is really important.  The basics in an interview are what set the winners apart from the losers.  The reason:  If you can’t do the simple stuff right an employer will assume that you can’t do the important more complex stuff – like breathing….

So below are six tips for preparing for an interview.   Getting these right will not get you the job.  However, getting  these wrong will cost you the job!

1.  Check out Social Networking

Many interviewers look at people’s social networking to get a feel for them before an interview.  I have no doubt that this practice will increase.  Honestly, I think that you should be way ahead of the curve and have already taken all of those pictures down when you decided to look for a new job but if you haven’t yet.  

Your future employer does not want to know how fun
you were in college...

Make sure you do so before the interview.  Also – do a quick Google search of your name.  Make sure that there isn’t another person with your name out there writing horrible things.  If there is you can’t do anything about it but you can be aware of it and be prepared to deal with it. 

2.  Research the Company

This is one place where people really stumble.  Nothing ends an interview more quickly than admitting that you don’t know anything about the company.  It is not acceptable to say I meant to research you but I was too busy.  With this in mind you need to know what the interviewer is looking for.  They don’t want a ten minute report about all of the information that you found – they work there…

Organizations simply want to know that you took the time to do some research.  A good way to handle this is to make sure that you know about the company and its product.  From there look for something that interests you and answer their question with a question.


Interviewer:  So what do you know about the company?

Interviewee:  I have to say I was really impressed with your website.  You guys look like a top notch insurance agency.  I noticed that XYZ company placed a strong emphasis on your support of XYZ charity.  Why do you guys do that?

Boom!  You just nailed it.  You answered the question.  You made the interviewer happy because they get to do what everyone likes most – talk about yourself.  AND you can move on to the real point of the interview – why you are so awesome.

3.  Research the Interviewer

In most cases you will know the name of the person that you are interviewing.  In this day and age there is really no excuse to take this information and do some cyber-stalking.  Look up these people on LinkedIn and Facebook.  See if there are any common interests.  Find out where they went to college.  Find out if there is anything that you can use to your advantage. 

Use Care.  Don't look like this guy!

However, please heed my warnings.  You should keep the following things in mind:
  • It is only acceptable to acknowledge that you looked them up on LinkedIn or on their company website.  Don’t say that you looked them up on Facebook – this can weird them out.
  • Only use the information if you are given an in – don’t start the conversation by saying – I noticed you went to XYZ State University – did you like it there
  • Find a way to get the interviewer talking about themselves – people like this

Tips 4 – 6 can be found here:

Six Tips For Preparing for an Interview Part II

Please feel free to check out some of my other articles below:

As always please feel free to comment below or to send me an email at  

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