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How To Prepare For An Interview!

Your frame of mind is really key to a successful interview. To put things in perspective: Think of the interview as a conversation. Nothing more. The interview is NOT a test, it is NOT an interrogation, it should NOT be a stress test and you do NOT pass or fail.

You are talking to the employer to learn more about their needs (relative to the position that they are trying to fill) and to determine if the position, location, environment and employees are a match with what you are looking for. The employer is doing the same thing! If the two align an offer is typically extended.

How do you best prepare for an interview?

I recommend that you use the following strategy to answer the employers questions. The concept is taken from the behavioral based interviewing method/model.

Behavioral based interviews are formatted to get specific examples of your past experience so an employer can determine if you can be successful in their open position in the future. The interviewee's answers give the employer insight into how they performed the process/job/responsibilities in a prior role.

Use the job description as a key reference point. The objective of the interview is to relay, to the employer, how you can be of value based on their specific need/open position.

The following strategy can be used by candidates to prepare for an interview.

  1. Review the job description.
  2. Review each action point on the job description and come up with 1 or 2 examples (use your past performance/job experience) where you have done what they are looking for.
  3. Then use the following tool to get your toughs in order prior to the interview:

On the right hand margin of the job description write BAR or STAR vertically and fill in the blanks horizontally. Think of the acronym BAR, B= Behavior, A= Action, R= Result
or STAR, S=Situation, T= Task, A= Action, R= Result.

EXAMPLE:

Job Description:

  • Work with Sales and Marketing to develop season’s themes, promotional items and marketing campaigns

B= As Director of Men's and Boys Product

A= I worked with Design, Sales, Marketing & Key Accounts to research and develop seasonal marketing strategies (which included: POS, GWP, promotional kits, packaging, hang tags and advertising spots)

R= I had full accountability for the revenue in my assigned categories. My efforts resulted in a 30% increase in sales year over year, a 5 pt margin increase and a successful launch (and line extension) for the Men's and Boys product category.

This preparation should position you to communicate your strengths, relative to the employer's needs, and ultimately land the job- providing you have the KSAA's (knowledge, skills, ability, accomplishments) that they are looking for!