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Career Change Guide: The Interview

If you didn’t read part A of our guide, please start here. Otherwise, if you have an interview coming, grab a cup of coffee and let’s continue in the journey for your dream job!

The Interview

After such a great work in part A and landing several interviews it is the time to realize how to crack them. Since there are numerous guides over the web on how to prepare and crack an interview, I will focus on the really important stuff that nobody talks about and I learned by interviewing and being interviewed many times.

The Call

You will get a call from the HR representative of the company inviting you for an interview. Nowadays, most companies want to schedule first a phone call interview (before an in-person one). If you were invited for an in-person please go to the next section. For a phone call interview, schedule it for next week at the earliest as you need some time to prepare — don’t worry it would not affect your chances of being hired, to the contrary. Before you hang up don’t forget to ask her who will be on the other side of the call and what her position is.

Preparation

Now it is the time to go back to your notebook where (I hope) you already have some information about this company (do not apply to companies you know nothing about) and expand it. First, write the name of the HR that invited you for the interview, you might meet her again later. Then, check the LinkedIn profile of the person who is going to interview you. Yes, they will see that you checked their profile and you will get many points on doing so because other candidates most likely are afraid to do so. Try to learn the person the best that you can, each piece of data is important. For example, if they volunteer in the Vegan association try not to joke about the great steak you ate last night. Another important example, if they spend more than 5 years in each job position, don’t brag about the fact that every 2 years you change a company 🙂

Preparation for the real thing

The first question we liked to ask in the in-person interview was what do you know about our company? You would be amazed how many candidates knew almost nothing. Think about it — how ridiculous you look when you waste all that time and you do not even know what this company does — what is their mission in life. So, don’t be that candidate. Write in your notebook what this company does, what the services or products that it offers, who are their customers, etc. Clearly, focus on information based on the position you are interviewed for. For example, if you are going to be interviewed for sales position make sure to know what type of customers they have, what are their marketing channels, maybe even look for the other sales managers in the company (through LinkedIn for example). It goes without saying that you should be sales expert by this point, using previous steps.

Your Own Story

I can’t even count how many times I interviewed candidates who did not know how to tell their story. First, be prepared with your background story; make sure it is compelling, interesting, touch the important stuff and takes no longer than 4 minutes to tell. Second, prepare 3–4 short stories that show your unique skills. It is much more convincing to hear a story that shows how fast you learn than to hear you at the end of the interview, “I just want to say that I learn very fast”. Third, prepare 4–5 questions; about the company, the specific team and about the position. It is very important to see that you thought before you arrived, that you have your standards.

Read more about it in our networking guide.

Ready to Play?

Ok, you have arrived to the big moment — the in person interview. If you completed all the previous steps as explained, it should be a piece of cake for you. Arrive with confidence, dress well — don’t forget, you can’t have a second first impression. Handle the interview according to what you prepared, don’t stressed out, if you totally don’t know the answer for something it is OK to say I would love to think about it later or have a different question. Just do not do one thing — stay quiet. That is the worst thing to do in an interview.

After the interview, write to yourself what went well and what was not exactly as expected so you’ll be able to learn from it for the next one.

Results and Next Steps

If you passed the interview — CONGRATS! You have just did a big step towards your next job, amazing!

If you did not pass the interview — CONGRATS! This is a great opportunity to learn what you need to improve. Try to contact the person that interviewed you and ask for a feedback. I always do it and 7 out of 10 times I get a very useful feedback that help me to crack the next interview.

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