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How to Dominate a First Interview
March 15, 2018

Last week a friend reached out to me asking if I had any tips for her before heading into a first interview.  Below, I’ve posted the template I shared with her.  I highlight how to prepare for the interview, what questions to be ready for, what questions to ask, and how to follow up.  

I hope this gives you confidence as you look to make the next jump in your career.  If you want to do interview training over the phone please contact me directly at brendan@straddletheline.co and we can set a time to talk.

 

How to Dominate a First Interview:

 

1) Preparation:
  • Send a confirmation email the day before or morning of your interview to ensure it’s still on (shows that you’re proactive)
  • Stalk the interviewers on LinkedIn to look for interesting facts or connections (i.e. college, hometown, passed companies, 1st degree connects, people they follow)
    • Anything you find out on here can be brought up in the beginning of the interview to build rapport or weaved into an interview answer if it fits
2) Questions to be ready for:
  • Why do you want to leave your current company?
  • What is the 5-10 year vision for your career?
  • What is most important to you when considering your next job?
  • What type of environment do you thrive in?
  • What have you done at XXXXX company that would prepare you for this role at our company?
  • Describe yourself.
  • What are your key strengths? (have examples as to why these are true)
  • What are your top weaknesses? (explain how you’ve leaned into your weaknesses and overcome them)
  • What is a challenge you’ve faced in the last 3 months?  How did you overcome it?
  • What do you like to do outside of work?
3) Questions to ask them 

Note: You’ll want to split your questions between questions about the company in general and then about your role specifically

  • How would you describe the culture at this company?
  • What type of people are most successful at this company?
  • What is the training process like here?
  • What will the day to day be like in this role?
  • What is the growth potential that most people in this role experience?
  • I see you’ve been at this company for XX years, what do you like about it here that’s made you stick around so long?
  • How would you describe your management style (if talking to a manager)?
  • What are the biggest challenges you think I’d face when starting this job
 Closing questions:
  • Do you have any questions about my qualifications that I haven’t answered today?
  • What are the next steps in the process?  When should I expect to hear back?
Note: I wouldn’t ask about salary in the first interview…. just use this to prove yourself and express interest
 
4) Follow Up:

Email interviewers THAT NIGHT and try to do these things:

  1. Thank them
  2. Reiterate that you liked what you learned about the role (maybe one example)
  3. Reiterate why you think you’re a good fit for the role
  4. Bonus: weave in any personal reference made during interview (i.e. maybe an inside joke or something about their weekend plans)
Follow Up Example: (I used this to help get my current job) 

Hi XXXXXX,

 
Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today.  It was a great conversation!  
 
It was helpful to learn about your decision to join XXXXX and also about what drives you. I hope you were able to get a better idea of my story as well.  I enjoyed your questions and think people don’t ask “Why?” often enough even though that’s how you get the most telling answers.  
 
I’ll look for an invite from you over the next day to meet up with XXXXXX.  
 
Thanks again,
Brendan
 
 
That’s it!  I hope this will help propel you to your next job.  Again, if you want to do interview training over the phone please contact me directly at brendan@straddletheline.co and we can set a time to talk.
 
 
 

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