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It's not all about you: How to prepare for a job interview

I've heard it said that job interviews feel more like first dates because the focus is more on who you are than on what you've done.  There is some truth to that.

Perhaps you and the person interviewing you have Googled each other, or checked one another’s credentials on LinkedIn? Maybe you’ve had a serious bout of contemplation regarding what you should wear.

Interview standout

And after all that … ugh … having to wait days for them to tell you whether you’re a match.

The nerve-wracking process aside, how can you make a good impression and feel good about interviewing in general?

In this digital age, employers expect candidates to visit their website and be able to discuss the relevant aspects of the business. They aren’t assuming in-depth knowledge, but appreciate the effort and the ability to focus the interview on how you might help move the business forward.

Your research should also generate thoughtful questions about the business’s culture, the job, or the interviewers themselves. 

Some of my favorites have been:

  1. Where do you see the organization in five years?
  2. What do successful employees in your organization do differently than others?
  3. What was the last big achievement that the organization or team celebrated?
  4. What was the department’s biggest challenge last year, and what did you learn from it?
  5. Do you have any concerns about whether my skills or experience meet your business’s need?

These questions led to thoughtful discussion about the organizational culture and strategy. Candidates who are interested in the big picture and ready to engage in a discussion have a better chance of success.

Do a bit of homework and engage on a higher level. You might just get that elusive call-back.

Samantha Curran is Director of Human Resources at the Community Loan Fund.

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