Interview Preparation: Take the Time, Do It Right

interview preparation how to prepare for interviewYou’ve achieved a significant milestone on your path to your dream job: the interview. Mixed with elation is that nagging fear that “one rocky interview” can cost you an offer you really want.

What to do? In word: Prepare

Train Your Brain on STAR Plus

The STAR Plus interview format offers a framework for your interview that enables you to prepare in advance with a logical sequencing of information. STAR Plus creates an accurate picture of your abilities and helps the interviewer draw the conclusions you want them to.

Star Plus stands for: Situation. Thinking. Action. Results. Plus, how you applied your learnings from that experience to future situations, decisions and actions. The great strength of STAR Plus lies in the inherent logic that you can apply to your responses to all behavioral interview questions.

Once you train yourself to deliver answers following the STAR Plus sequence consistently, your mind is free to actively listen to your interviewer and focus on the substance of your answer.

Do Your Homework

To further guarantee that the interviewer will understand the full scope of your accomplishments, invest in preparing for the interview. Demonstrating that you did your homework could spell the difference between getting the offer and coming in second.

Start by gathering market intelligence, which should include:

  • A thorough store check should include both a visit to their brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce sites. This will give you a feel for the issues facing the people with whom you’ll be meeting. And our experience indicates that the person who comes across in an interview as able to understand, anticipate, relate to and help solve the problems of their business has a real advantage in establishing rapport with the people making the hiring decision.
  • Studying the company’s website for insight into their strategy, product lines, business issues, recent news about business performance, senior executive changes, etc.
  • Looking at the company’s social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Scan the popular product review and crowdsourcing sites. You will better understand where the brand stands with customers and influencers when you see how the organization engages within their communities — and observe unvarnished user feedback.

Then, use that information to put your skills and accomplishments in context.

  • Look over your resume, which is essentially all the interviewer will know about you and where their questions will start.
  • List your talents and strengths on 3×5 cards with supporting examples of how they drive your success. Tie your strengths directly to your accomplishments.
  • List your accomplishments on 3×5 cards, in a concise T.A.R. Plus format. Cross index each to the strengths that helped you achieve that accomplishment.
  • Rehearse your responses to anticipated questions to focus your thinking on selling yourself effectively.
  • Review your 3×5 cards during pre-interview waiting time.

The Most Important Question

Don’t forget to prepare topics to explore when the interviewer asks you the most important question: “Do you have any questions?”

Your questions are critical to advancing your primary objective for the interview: helping the interviewer conclude that you are the best person to hire.

The questions you ask will enable you to:

  • Sell yourself – as a thinker – with strategic, pertinent, and informed questions.
  • Sell yourself – as a doer – with questions that highlight your strengths and confirm how well you would fit with this company.

Preparing for a successful interview requires a deeper dive on all of the tips. Contact the experienced recruiters at O’Connell Group. We stand ready to help you interview like a star!