Crushing that job interview – Part 1: Before the interview

Are there right and wrong ways to prepare for a job interview? Maybe. Are there tips that can help you on your next job interview? Surely; and you can glean some if you read on. I have interviewed with a couple of companies; of those companies, some of the big guns include IBM, Google, Exxon Mobil, Alcatel Lucent, and Blackberry. Some of the interviews didn’t go very well while the others were fabulously smooth. From my experiences with job interviews, I have learnt some things that work and some that don’t (and I am still learning of course). Based on that, I’ll be sharing a 3-part series on “Crushing that job interview” – tips for before, during and after the interview.

In this article, I will begin with action tips to consider before going to a job interview. Here they are:
1. Research the company and the job posting: Once you know the company you will be interviewing with, browse their website to learn about it and the position you’ve applied for. Concerning the company, you want to find out what it deals in, who its competitors are, who its CEO is (I have been asked this before), and possibly what excites you about it (e.g.the company is one of the big players in the industry). Besides that, since you applied for the job, you should be able to demonstrate how your skills and values fit with the job requirements and company’s vision.
2. Lookup sample interview questions: Find out what kind of interview you’d be involved in – behavioral or technical interview. Some companies organize two interview sessions, one solely behavioral-based and the other solely technical-based; other companies may have one long interview session to cover both the technical and behavioral aspects. By visiting websites such as,, and other career-based sites ( can direct you to the rest), you can get actual questions asked job candidates who were interviewed for specific positions at various companies.
3. Rehearse your responses to the interview questions: Once you have garnered enough interview questions, provide your own response to them. Afterwards, rehearse how you would respond to the questions if an interviewer were to pose them to you. If possible, carry out mock interviews with a friend, family member or career adviser, where the other person plays the interviewer and you the interviewee; that will be a great way for you to get instant feedback on what to improve on. Nothing beats practice.
4. Apply the STAR technique: When practicing your responses to interview questions especially for the behavioral questions, apply the STAR (Situation Task Action Result) technique. For example, if you’re asked to describe a specific past experience e.g. – how you handled a difficult team member or how you managed to complete a complex project or assignment – the STAR technique entails that you: start off by stating the situation, define what the required task was, tell what actions you took, and conclude with the end result. This will smoothing your responses and keep you from rambling and babbling.
The more questions you rehearse, the higher your confidence level.
5. Dress for success, dress to impress: The way you dress can affect the way you think and feel about yourself. For this reason, it is highly recommended that when going to an interview, your appearance be professional; specifically business attire as it will help boost your self-image. Make sure your cloth is neat and has minimum cologne, your hair is properly kempt, your breath is fresh, and your shoes are clean. Keep in mind that you want to leave a strong first impression on your interviewer right from the moment the both of you meet; dressing professionally contributes to creating that effect.
6. Be punctual: Show up at the interview venue at least 10-15 minutes before the allotted time. This way you can calm your nerves down and familiarize yourself with the workplace environment. Also, have copies of your resume, cover letter and reference list, just in case any of them gets asked for. Finally, switch off your phone. The last thing you want to happen during the interview is for your phone to ring

I hope you find this article useful.

The next part of the article will cover tips to consider during the job interview.

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