Impressing a Hiring Manager Requires (a Lot!) of Preparation 

In this blog series, our mbaMission Career Coaches offer invaluable advice and industry-related news to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews. To schedule a free half-hour consultation with one of our mbaMission Career Coaches, click here.

You secured an interview—congratulations! You are one step closer to your goal of receiving a job offer, but you must take advantage of the opportunity. This requires preparation—and a lot of it! 

Your preparation should include the following steps:

  • Research the company, the industry, and your interviewers. Know about their products/services, know about their competitors, and understand the characteristics of successful employees in the field.
    • Use LinkedIn or the company’s website to learn about the backgrounds/specialties of your interviewers. 
    • Gather information from internal advocates or the HR/interview coordinator. Ask questions regarding the hiring manager’s priorities as well as nuances about the role that may not have been included in the job description.
  • Inventory relevant stories to tell about your experiences. Select stories that showcase your ability to add value to the organization and meet the needs of the role.  
    • According to David Ohrvall’s book, Interview Logic, candidates should prepare to discuss stories in the following categories: individual contribution, management/leadership, persuasion, analysis, challenges, and teamwork.
  • Structure your stories. The structure and length of your story can be as important as its content. 
    • Give your story a headline. Explain the main point of your story and how it relates to the question. Tell readers where the story will end so they have a road map.
    • Articulate your actions. Explain what you did and why you did it. 
    • Conclude with the results of your actions. Explain the impact of your actions as well as how the story is relevant to your interest in the role or what you learned about yourself during the experience.
  • Practice delivering your stories. It is not enough to think about what you are going to say; you need to say it out loud. Record yourself on your webcam or cellphone.
    • Assess your performance. Was your story impressive? Did you position yourself as somebody who has the skills/knowledge for this job? Did you use too much jargon or ramble on? Is your story believable? Did you speak with an appropriate tone and speed?
  • Identify three to five questions to ask each interviewer. Ask questions that the interviewer will have insight into and can comment upon. Consider questions that build on your knowledge of the company and help you understand more about the role and qualities that would make a candidate successful. 

After all this preparation, when you are in the actual interview, do not forget to do the following:

  • Be likeable and gracious. Create a connection with your interviewers. 
  • Make it easy for the interviewer to evaluate you. Make clear points and communicate your skills.
  • Think of your interviewer as a co-worker rather than somebody testing you.
  • Demonstrate your energy and have fun!

mbaMission Career Coaching offers hourly services for interview (and all career-related) preparation. If you could use some guidance, contact our Career Coaches for a free 30-minute consultation today! 

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