15 Steps of Preparation BEFORE Scheduling a Job Interview

PreparedThe term “job interview” is searched ten times as often as the term “job search”. The keywords “job search prep” is barely a blip on the Google’s search term radar.

What I often find in the job search process is that people want to chase the shiny objects they see. They want to jump to the last step in the process… the one that lands them a job offer: the job interview.

And they’re right, good job interviews do result in job offers.

However, 86% of people surveyed said that the biggest mistake they made in an interview was not preparing well enough. True that!

Here are the stories I’ve heard just recently:

  • A client went into an interview without a good behavioral story in response to a question they asked. He hemmed and hawed said “he couldn’t think of anything” (the next day they told him he was out of the running)
  • Another client hadn’t prepared a solid set of questions for the interviewer; the interviewer expressed shock he didn’t have more questions and kept prodding him to come up with some (he was notified they had narrowed the field; he wasn’t invited back)
  • A high potential mentee said he needed help interviewing because when in interviews he could feel himself wandering off and rambling while responding to a question (the recruiter agreed, he was not even in the Top 10)

When you are not prepared, in nearly every case, there is no job offer. The candidates who look good on paper, and get the interview, often go home and wonder what they are doing wrong; they get discouraged, then start to believe they are unworthy.

This is all so preventable… through preparation!

Your Job Search Is More Than an Interview

Here’s the reality: the interview is the icing on the cake… the reward received by properly preparing!

You get to participate only after you’ve put in all the pre-work and training. Kind of like the Olympic finals of your job search: that perfect performance that gets you the gold medal. That is, it’s the culmination – and hopefully reward – for all the due diligence, practice and preparation you’ve put into your job search process up until that point.

What due diligence you ask? Well, here’s a typical progression I go through with a client, before we even think about a job interview:

  1. Develop the right mindset
  2. Set up and equip a dedicated workspace
  3. Identify your overall job search goals and objectives, including timelines
  4. Clarify your Value Proposition
  5. Deal with any self-confidence issues( because all your stuff comes up when you’re in the self-promotion business)
  6. Develop your desired workplace qualities, desired industry or ideal employer profile
  7. Identify your desired Target Employers
  8. Develop your key Marketing Messages; self-intro, keywords and more
  9. Develop your Marketing Materials; resume, cover letters, LinkedIn profile, social media profiles, etc.
  10. Develop written interview responses and stories for each genre of interview question
  11. For more technical fields, explore and prepare for the questions that will be required (coding, case studies, role-play, etc.)
  12. Develop a weekly job search plan, aligned with your strategies and overall goal
  13. Conduct your pre-interview research
  14. Practice your interview delivery; self-talk, role-play, video and more
  15. Practice your interview delivery… again and again

Finally, when all 15 steps are complete… you are ready to interview.

Begin With the End in Mind

So, when you’re thinking about your job search, I know it’s tempting to Google “interview tips.” Millions do, clearly. However, I encourage you to start thinking about all the stuff that needs to come before your “interview tips” are ever needed.

Your interview is the finish line, not the starting line.

If you know someone who needs to refocus his or her job search energy, do him or her a favor and share this message. They’ll thank you later!





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Degrees of Transition!



LeaAbout the Author: Lea McLeod helps recent grads and mid-careerists navigate the job search. And once you have a job, she’ll coach you to the brilliant performance of which you are capable! Her “Developing Patterns of Success” Workshop has been deployed to help thousands of college hires worldwide do just that. She blogs at DegreesofTransition.com. Follow her on Facebook, and Twitter, too.


Thank you to ICanHasCheezeburger.com and OneAccordPartners.com for the pics!



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