Interview Preparation


It’s judgement day for a very good friend of mine…

And while he is as nervous as he would be facing down a hoard of terminators, I think I may just be as nervous for him.

You see, he is heading for a job interview today, but not just any job interview.  This is an interview for the job of his dreams!

A senior position for which he has to not only answer the panel’s demanding questions, but also present his own ideas. They want to be exposed to his personal philosophy, and his plans for how he will run his sector.

Daunting, would you agree?

He isn’t alone in this at the moment; in the current climate there are an awful lot of people changing employers or looking for that next step up. Many, perhaps you, are seeking the extra responsibility that will solidify your position in your organisation.

But when I say I’m ‘nervous’, I don’t think I actually mean that.

My friend has put a serious amount of effort into his preparation for this interview, both for the interview questions and the formal presentation.

And why shouldn’t he put serious effort in? After all, he’s planning on taking the role very seriously when he wins it.

My friend, Steve, has run his presentation to a test audience at least four times, welcoming genuine feedback every time. I’ve been lucky enough to see Steve’s presentation improving every time I’ve heard him do it.

He has been clever in where he has sourced his feedback from; there’s myself, who specialises in coaching individuals in presentations and interviews for a living.

Steve also tested it out on a senior individual in his current organisation that often conducts these interviews himself. And he’s consulted someone in one of the departments he plans to be running.

Steve is so ready for this interview.

I, for one, will be surprised if he doesn’t impress the panel and end up being offered the role. So, I’m not nervous…. I’m rebranding it…I’m excited for him and this opportunity he has today, to go and meet his future.

Have you been in this position? Did you get the job? Or are you still chasing your ideal role?

Get inside the minds of those on the panel, by considering it from their point of view:

  • What do they need you to demonstrate?
  • What are their concerns about you?
  • The future of the role and what this might mean for their company?

And by preparing answers to these questions – that relate specifically to you and this particular opportunity – in your presentation and interview answers, the panel will feel secure and reassured.

They will know that if they pick you, they’ve put the organisation in safe hands.

That’s a feeling that I’d like to leave any interview panel with.

And that’s how the panel listening to Steve today is going to feel.

And how will you be feeling? Not nervous, not with this level of preparation, you can afford to feel excitement on the way to your interview.

5 top tips:

  • Empathise with the panel: what are their biggest concerns in appointing you, specifically, in this role? Prepare positive responses to these concerns.
  • If you are including a presentation, ensure you ‘pressure test’ it on someone who can give you honest and constructive feedback.
  • Rehearse your answers to potential questions you might get, ask trusted advisers to provide constructive feedback on your answers.
  • Back up everything you say you can do with real life examples of you in action.
  • My top tip – take it as seriously as Steve. Rebrand your nerves as excitement, by being as prepared as you can possibly be.