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Use this 15-minute checklist to prepare for a job interview

Confirm with everyone

It's not uncommon for hiring managers to hand you over to someone else on the team to meet you at the last minute. Send a quick email to encourage them to plan: 

Hi Kamala, I’m really excited to come in on Tuesday. I just wanted to confirm that I’ll be speaking with you and Jarrod. Could you please let me know if there’s anyone else I should look forward to meeting? Thanks so much!

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Use this 15-minute checklist to prepare for a job interview

Use this 15-minute checklist to prepare for a job interview

https://www.fastcompany.com/90200933/use-this-15-minute-checklist-to-prepare-for-a-job-interview

fastcompany.com

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Key Ideas

Confirm with everyone

It's not uncommon for hiring managers to hand you over to someone else on the team to meet you at the last minute. Send a quick email to encourage them to plan: 

Hi Kamala, I’m really excited to come in on Tuesday. I just wanted to confirm that I’ll be speaking with you and Jarrod. Could you please let me know if there’s anyone else I should look forward to meeting? Thanks so much!

The interviewer’s LinkedIn and Twitter

Skim their history on LinkedIn, then move way down to the bottom. If they have endorsements and recommendations, it can give you a feel for their management style.

Twitter can help you guess at an interviewer's personality, interests, and values.

Your “about me” answer

Your interviewer will probably open with some form of "Tell me a little about yourself.Plan your answer using a few quick bullet points to keep things brief en then commit it loosely to memory.

  • Skip your personal history.
  • Give two or three sentences about your career path.
  • Mention how you decided to apply to this job.
  • Leave enough curiosity that the interviewer becomes excited to learn more about you.

One great question

Think about the no.1 thing you really want to know. Line that question up to pose to the hiring manager. Just being curious is a marketable job skill.

For instance, the question could be about the expectations for the role, career advancement, something to help you understand the company culture, or even a qualitative question like, "Why do you see X as important?" 

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The Job Interview
The Job Interview

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A Long Multi-Round Process

If you feel there is fog ahead of you due to opacity in the interview process and the multiple rounds, you can simply ask the next steps of the process and the timeline for a decision.

If you think the employer has an elongated set of rounds ahead, request to consolidate them if possible.

Stumped By A Question

Instead of bluffing your way through a question that you are completely stumped with, it is better to be upfront and handle it with honesty and grace. Tell them straight away that you do not know the answer to this question and what similar things you have done which have been effective.

Your life experiences are unique and not identical to what the interviewer is trying to ‘slot’ you into.

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What you should not say
  • Starting with something personal like family or hobbies, or launching into your life story.
  • Sharing the problems with your current job.
  • Summarizing your resume, point-by-point....
Craft an elevator pitch
  • Spend some time reviewing the job description in the recruitment ad for the position and research the company.
  • Prepare a short script that highlights the skills, strengths and expertise you have that make you especially qualified for this particular position. 
  • Explain the reasons you’re applying for this particular job. Focus on career-related motivations.
Your purpose to the question

Your purpose to the question "tell me about yourself" is to give just enough details of yourself to spark the interest of the interviewer.

Answering this question gives you a great opportunity to spotlight the skills and experience that make you the ideal candidate for the job.

The reason for the question

Interviewers ask questions like "tell me about yourself "  to determine if you're qualified to do the work and if you will fit in with the team.

How to Answer the Question

It might be a good idea to share something about yourself that is doesn't relate directly to your career. 

For example, interests like running might represent that you are healthy and energetic. Pursuits like being an avid reader might showcase your intellectual leaning. Volunteer work will demonstrate your commitment to the welfare of your community.

The “present-past-future” formula

This is a simple formula to construct your response.

  • Start with a short overview of where you are now (which could include your current job along with a reference to a personal hobby or passion).
  • Reference how you got to where you are (you could mention education, or an important experience, internship or volunteer experience).
  • Finish by describing a probable goal for the future.

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“Tell me about yourself”

... is one of the interview questions that most intimidates job seekers and one that most interviewers assume will be easy. It sounds straightforward — but as every job seeker knows, it...

What your interviewer is looking for

"Tell me about yourself" doesn’t mean “give me your complete history from birth until today.”  It doesn’t even mean “walk me through your work history.” It means “give me a brief overview of who you are as a professional.”

Interviewers who ask this question are generally looking to get a broad overview of how you see yourself, as a sort of introduction or an icebreaker before starting to dive into the specifics. 

"Tell me about yourself" - recommended answer
  • Summarize where you are in your career, note anything distinctive about how you approach your work and end with a bit about what you’re looking for next.
  • Your answer only needs to be about 1 minute long.
  • Don’t drag yourself. This isn’t the time to explain you were fired from your last job or to confess your difficulties finding the right career path.
  • Keep your focus professional, not personal.
The Interviewer’s Perspective

When the interviewer asks you, “Tell me about yourself”, he is hoping this question will get you talking. It will give him a first impression of you, and set the tone for the inte...

How Not to Answer
  • Prepare a brief summary of the high points of each of your past positions, but do not turn it into a very long monologue that makes the interviewer glaze over with information overload.
  • You do not have to brag, but don't rely on the interviewer to see past your humble exterior and figure out how great you are. Find a way to present yourself to your full advantage.
  • This is not the time to talk about all your personal details. Focus on who you are as a professional.
  • Because this question can be interpreted in many ways, do not be overwhelmed by it. Delve right in with your prepared answers.
Your elevator pitch
You need a short summary of yourself as a job candidate. Keep it focused, ideally less than a minute, and no more than two minutes.
  • Address what your primary selling points are for this job. The number of years of experience or special skill.  Focus on the qualifications in the job description and how you meet and exceed it.
  • Explain why you are interested in this position. 

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A team player

Very few employees work in a vacuum. When an interviewer asks if you are a team player, they really want to know whether you can work with others and get along with them.

Questions About Being a Team Player

First, research the role and the company to make sure you understand what teamwork looks like at this particular organization.

Then, consider how you can best contribute to a team.

Tips for Giving the Best Answer
  • Stick With Recent Examples: Relaying outdated examples don't usually grab attention.
  • Blow Your Own Horn: Pick an experience that shows how you contributed to a team that achieved spectacular results.
  • Consider Relevance: Choose an example that's most relevant to the company you're interviewing with.
  • Add Value: Select an example that demonstrates your added strengths.
  • Focus Your Response: Highlight your story in bullet point form.

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Why Interviewers Ask It

This introductory question serves as an icebreaker to lend an easy flow to the conversation. It helps the recruiter to get to know you in terms of hard and soft skills.

It’s a great op...

How to build your response
  • Present: Talk a little bit about what your current role is, the scope of it, and possibly a recent achievement.
  • Past: Tell the interviewer how you got there and/or mention a past experience that’s relevant to the job and company you’re applying for.
  • Future: Continue with what you’re looking to do next and why you’re interested in this job.
You do not have to respond in this order. Tweak it to suit you. Make sure to tie it to the job and company.
Tailor Your Answer

Interviewers want to know how your answer about yourself is relevant to the position and company you’re applying for.

This is an opportunity to articulate why you’re interested and how your objective fulfills their goals. In order to do that, spend some time researching the company. If your answers resonate with them, it shows that you really understand the role.

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The STAR Interview Response Technique
The STAR Interview Response Technique
  • (S) Situation: Explain the background of the situation. What was your job?
  • (T) Task: What was the particular task you had to perform? If there was a particular probl...
The Typical Job Interview Process
  1. Screening call or on-site interview: lengthy when done by HR and short when it’s someone technical, also not a good time to fire all your questions.
  2. Technical interview: ...
Questions For Your Screener

Have an introduction and a concise story to tell about your work history. Stack questions are mostly inappropriate here but you can ask the following:

  1. What is the hiring process? Be suspicious if they are asking for too much in one of the steps.
  2. Tell me about the tech team. Find more about the company’s hierarchies and the people who compose them.
Asking Questions On The Technical Interview

Prepare well for this. At the end of the meeting, they should ask if you have questions and you can ask as many as you need to help you decide to work there or not. You can use that to build rapport if the interview was a little off.

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Conduct the Effective Job Interview
  • Prepare your questions based on the attributes of an ideal candidate,
  • Reduce stress level. Tell the candidates in advance the questions you plan to ask.
  • Involve enoug...