In this episode, I teach you the exact formula I have used with every candidate on how to prepare for any interview.
I wanted to go really deep and practical for you and to teach you how that you can use every time you face an interview situation.
I am always stunned at how few job seekers do their homework leading up to an interview if I am completely honest. Lots of people tend to overlook the interview prep because they might have multiple interviews happening within a short space of time. This is not a good enough excuse in my book!
Interviewers also look for candidates who truly understand the role they are applying for, so reading up on the essential skills and delving deep into the job description (if you have one) is also a great idea.
One thing that so many candidates tend to forget (or simply don’t do a good enough job of ) is to sell themselves against each of the requirements of the role. This can be done by preparing some examples in advance of the interview of how you meet the criteria, or where you have had the specific experience they are looking for.
And lastly, make sure you go into the interview with some really well thought out and intelligent questions for the interviewers.
This can really set you apart from every other candidate they meet and leaving a very positive, lasting impression on them. You can do a good job in the final part of the interview by asking some insightful questions. This will get the interviewers talking about you in a positive way and that can only be a good thing!
Check out Episode 5 of my weekly vlog series, Job Search TV below, where I teach you each of the 4 steps you need to take on how to prepare for any interview:
Was this helpful? How do you normally go about preparing for an interview?
Interviewers like to know that candidates have done their interview preparation as it demonstrates a passion and enthusiasm towards the prospective employer as well as the role itself.
Having spent time on interview panels in both the Public and Private sectors, I can say from first hand experience that it is very easy for interviewers to pick out the candidates who have done their homework.
There are some very important areas in particular to focus your preparation:
The first thing to do is to make sure you know as much as possible about the company (the prospective employer). The best place to do this, is of course, the company’s website.
Their website should tell you a lot of information about what they do as a business, how they started out, who is in charge, where they are located and how many staff they have etc.
I would recommend taking some notes here as it will make it much easier to condense all of the information into more manageable chunks. It will also give you the opportunity to re-read the key points in the days leading up to your interview.
Most interviewers will ask you what you know about the company. Understanding your prospective employer is the best way to demonstrate that you have bought into the idea of working for their business. It is also the easiest way to impress the interviewers by letting them know you have done your interview preparation early in the interview.
Aside from the company’s website, you can also see what you can find by ‘Googling’ the company. Another great source of information is LinkedIn. You can do some reading into the company here as well as the types of roles they have, where they are located and what type of employees they have.
Also, remember to double check where your interview is taking place and ensure you leave yourself more than enough time to get there!
The next thing to prepare is your knowledge of the role you are interviewing for. Try and get your hands on the job description for the role. If you do not have the full job description, a copy of the advert your responded to should suffice.
If you do have a copy of the job description, check that it is up to date and accurate (the last thing you need is to prepare for the interview based on incorrect information).
Just like you did with the company website, take some notes from the job description and make sure you list all of the essential skills as well as all of the desirable skills they mention. This will provide the backbone to preparing the answers to some of the more general interview questions you are likely to face.
As well as the essential and desirable skills, make sure you pay special attention to the behavioural competencies if they are mentioned anywhere.
This will take the shape of behavioural / competency based interview questions so do not overlook these. I will cover this in depth in a separate post as it is a completely separate subject in its own right!
Now you should know exactly what the role entails and what the interviewers are looking for in their ideal candidate. You have done the hard work! The next step is the single most critical part in the whole preparation process – The Synergy!
I am always amazed by how many job seekers fall down in this area. It is absolutely imperative that you draw some synergy between what the interviewers are looking for in their ideal candidate and your own experience. This is where you really sell yourself against the essential and desirable skills in the job description.
Have a read over the notes you made around the role and the job description and for each point prepare an example of how you meet the criteria.
Do this for the behavioural competencies as well and by the end of this exercise you will have put some serious thought into answers to some of the questions you are likely to face at interview.
You will always ensure that you are actively selling your skills and experience against the criteria the prospective employer has laid out in the job description.
At the end of most interviews, the interviewers will often ask the candidate if they have any questions. This is a fantastic way to leave a lasting memorable impression on the interviewers and cement your place at the front and centre of their minds.
It is also extremely important because when you leave the interview room, you want to be fully informed about the role and what it would be like to work for the company.
Remember that the purpose of the interview is also about you finding out if the company and the role are right for you, as it is for the company to find out if you are the right person for them!
As part of the interview preparation, I would recommend preparing four or five questions around the role and the company, as well as one question that is completely unique that you think no-one else will ask.
This will require some thought, however, if you get this right you will have created a talking point amongst the interviewers and this will make you all the more memorable as a job seeker.
So, just to recap here is how to break down the interview preparation:
Know as much as possible about the prospective company
Know as much as possible about the prospective role
Draw synergy between what they are looking for and your own skills & experience
Go into the interview armed with 4 or 5 really good questions
This will ensure you have nailed the interview preparation so that you are as prepared as possible in the build up and should also mean that you are much more confident when the day of the interview finally arrives!
How do you normally prepare for an interview? Leave me some comments below…
There are certain universal unspoken objections that exist when considering whether or not to hire a Baby Boomer. You need to know what they are so that you can deal with them without them manifesting into an insurmountable problem.
Self-talk, at times, can be a wonderful thing. It can persuade us all to be more positive, it can lead us to achieve greater things, to step outside of our comfort zone and to do things we did not think were humanly possible.
Self-talk is not only a power for good, however.
Negative self-talk is built into the fabric of each and every one of us. We make negative assumptions about the world around us in every way imaginable. We talk ourselves out of great things. We look for ways to discredit. We find faults in everything. We do this every single day of our lives. Anyone who tries to convince you otherwise is a liar! It is an inevitability that negative self-talk will happen in the mind of every recruiter or employer when considering whether or not to hire a Baby Boomer. To make matters more complicated they exist only in the minds of the recruiters or potential employers. They will NEVER admit to them or say them out loud.
These are the top 5 unspoken objections to hiring a Baby Boomer:
UNSPOKEN OBJECTIONS #1 – You are Tech-Averse
Amazingly, 28% of the US workforce are technology averse.
These people are the 16% who have a cell phone but have not yet graduated to owning a smartphone. These people are the 20% who do not have wireless internet in their homes. These people have little or no social media presence whatsoever. You know who you are!
Being tech-averse is something that immediately makes you stand out from the rest of the workforce for all the wrong reasons, especially if that tech-aversion extends to you having a fear of all things social media related. The way that recruiters and employers directly source for candidates has changed forever. The first thing a recruiter does in the morning when they get to work is open their email, their database and their LinkedIn page. It is now embedded into almost every sourcing model. Having a LinkedIn profile is a must, regardless of your age. If you do not have a LinkedIn profile, you need to get one NOW!
UNSPOKEN OBJECTIONS #2 – You won’t get along with younger members of the team
Lack of culture fit.
If I had $1 for every time I have heard this as a reason for not hiring an older applicant, I would be rich!
Older people tend to have more in common with older people, that much is obvious. That said, that does not stop older people from working well in multi generational teams (something that employers are beginning to see the benefit of more and more). A great way to convince an interviewer that you will work well with younger team members is to give them an example of a time when you formed a friendship with somebody much younger than you and how you built a great working relationship with them. If you can really make the point that you can give them all of your wonderful experience whilst at the same time engaging and communicating with rest of the team, that will really help to put the interviewers mind at ease.
UNSPOKEN OBJECTIONS #3 – You are stuck in your ways
A common misconception is that the Baby Boomer generation are set in their ways and not open to learning new things.
In my experience, interviewers automatically jump on the ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ bandwagon when considering Baby Boomer candidates. To combat this, offer up some examples of what you have recently learned something new. This doesn’t have to be work related. Try and demonstrate that you have not reached an intellectual plateau and that you can easily pick up new things quickly.
UNSPOKEN OBJECTIONS #4 – You are too expensive
Inevitably, the most experienced workers in the workforce are often the most expensive.
Remember that you are competing with other candidates who will be a LOT less expensive than you in terms of salary. The best thing you can do to handle this, in my experience, is to state your openness and flexibility (to an extent!) when it comes to your salary requirements. I have lost count of the amount of time I have seen Baby Boomers lose out on a job simply because they were unwilling to lower their salary requirements.
UNSPOKEN OBJECTIONS #5 – You are too negative
Now this may (or may not) come as a shock to you, however, there are a huge amount of Baby Boomers out there who have a very negative outlook when it comes to life in general!
This can be a huge red flag for any interviewer. It is your negativity that stopped you getting the job, not your age. Try and be as upbeat as you can and avoid telling negative stories at interview. Smile and try and steer your answers in a positive direction! Also, reiterate your openness to trying new ways of working. This in itself can have leave a hugely positive impression in the minds of the interviewer.
The only way to deal with these unspoken objections is head on!
You need to get them into the conversation somehow, whether that is face to face in an interview or simply over the phone. Tick them off in your mind one by one as you go along. If you manage this, you will have done as much as is humanly possible to erase the negative self-talk that exists in the mind of the interviewer and will improve your chances of landing the job exponentially!