6 Steps for Setting the Stage for a Great Job Interview for a Job Candidate

Blog Post created by kimberly.wilson Advocate on Mar 2, 2015

The role of job candidate is not one we play every day, but it is one that requires preparation. After all you are given around one to six hours (depending on the companies interview structure) to introduce yourself to the company and to make sure the company fits your career endeavors.


There are several things we have all been told to think about such as dress professionally, make sure to shake hands firmly, make sure to have questions ready to ask the hiring manager and follow up with thank you notes.  These are important, but they are only part of the process.


The most important roles a job candidate has are to really evaluate if the role and the company are a fit.  At the same time a job candidate needs to show they are a cultural fit to the hiring team.  As a recruiter I have worked with candidates that are not looking and those that are getting frustrated because they want to get back to work after a layoff.


Here are some things to think about no matter what category you are in. Companies have evaluated your resume and determined you have the skills needed before you were invited in.  They are now looking to validate those skills through conversation and to see if you fit in the team, and by fit I mean cultural fit.  So what traits do companies look at?


Three traits that are consistently published as the main things employers are looking for are:


  1. Professionalism
  2. Energy level-specifically high energy
  3. Confidence


So how do you set the stage that you have these traits? 


  1. The best way is to walk into a room ready to shake hands with each hiring team member.  Extend your hand immediately.

  2. Do make sure you are dressed professionally in something you feel comfortable in.  If we like our clothing we show confidence. 

  3. Be completely prepared.  Know who you are going to meet and do research on each person.  Do research on the company and anything you can learn about the area of business the hiring team is involved in.  This will be useful during your conversation. This knowledge also helps you to have the foundation to assess the culture of the company and the traits of the team.

  4. Practice! When I coach a candidate for an interview I have typically asked them many questions about their skills and motivations prior to presenting them to my clients. If you are preparing without coaching it is best to mentally prepare. Interview yourself.  Ask yourself questions that you think you will hear and answer them the way you would in the interview.  Do this in front of a mirror.  This feels unnatural, but in many cases so does a job interview. So create a simulated environment. This will instill confidence and prepare you for any question that is asked.

  5. Self evaluate your confidence.  Ask yourself what is motivating you to look at this role.  Determine how you feel about the role and what it will feel like when you get an offer.  However, if you hear that you are telling yourself you are not sure you are qualified for the job or I wonder why you got invited or surely there is someone they will pick over me, than you have to evaluate why you are self talking in a negative way. Unfortunately this will come across in the interview because it is in your subconscious mind.  This is usually our minds way of protecting us, just in case you are not offered the position. We can say to ourselves “I knew it” and revert back to what we told ourselves earlier. If you are negatively talking to yourself than it is a good time to plot on paper what you like about the role.

  6. Write down what you bring to the party that qualifies you. Even if you don’t have all the skills necessary, but you know you can do the job, than you need to focus on what you do bring to the party.  This will help you answer the question about that skill when it is asked.  This is great information to reflect on as you prepare to meet the hiring team.


With these things in place a job candidate will have a greater opportunity to show they are a fit for the role or to learn the role is not for them.  This will also help the candidate to show confidence immediately. Overall these steps will give the candidate the opportunity to worry less about the way to answer questions, create more time to evaluate the company’s culture and allow the company to learn more about how they will impact the company if invited to the team. 


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