Come Prepared to Ace Your Next Critical Job Interview!

critical job interviewYou’ve perfected the resume, sent out the application, and received a response. Now it’s time to ace that critical job interview.

Fun fact: this is usually where people screw up.

Even the best resume can’t make up for sub-par interviewing skills. Confidence, communication, and ability to articulate your value are all key to moving toward the job offer. And preparation is the key to success.

Here are three tips to help you prepare for that critical job interview and deliver your best performance:

Practice Your “Professional Bragging”

One major mistake candidates make is taking too modest an approach, in the resume, and especially the interview process. A critical job interview is a time to highlight and articulate your career successes. Only then can you make a compelling argument as to why you are the best fit for the role.

Unfortunately, this type of talk does not come naturally to some. As a result, they shy away from speaking favorably about themselves. They are afraid of sounding boastful or self-absorbed. The end result? Losing out to a competing candidate with more confidence, poise, and practice.

Practice “bragging” in a professional manner by focusing on the key skills and experience you bring to the table. Then tell how those have been of value to past employers. Soon, you’ll be comfortable speaking about yourself in a marketing context, And the easier it will be to answer any interview question that comes your way.

Prepare “Stories” in Advance

Few things throw off a candidate’s confidence faster than a question that begins, “Tell me about a time when…”

Sure, it’s hard to know for sure what the interviewer will ask. So prepare a few common “anecdotes” around your professional successes. Then pull from them at the right time to ensure you’ll tell the right story.

For example, think about a time that you stepped up to a challenge. Or maybe recovered from a mistake. Or turned around a struggling client relationship, managed up, or bridged a critical skill gap. These are all common scenarios likely to come up in the interview. Then practice reciting these stories. And practice more. And more. Until you’re confident telling them in a way that paints your skills and experience in a positive light.

Practicing your script will also avoid the awkwardness of not knowing how to end your story. Unprepared job seekers often make this mistake.

Ask Yourself: “What Keeps This Hiring Manager Up at Night?”

In other words, what challenge within the organization does the position seek to resolve? Also: how can your skills, experience, and qualifications ensure your own success in that role? 

A company looking to break into a new market needs a dedicated sales person. Someone who understands that target audience, and perhaps brings an established network of connections. Without that expertise, revenue may stagnate and growth will be slow. How can you position yourself as the catalyst for driving new business?

Similarly, a small company experiencing rapid growth needs a strong operations manager to come in and streamline processes and procedures. Without that expertise, however, the company will continue to be disorganized, making it near impossible to scale effectively.

The Critical Job Interview

If you want to position yourself for success in a critical job interview, preparation is key. It applies across the board. Doesn’t matter if it’s your physical appearance. Or providing intelligent and thoughtful responses and questions. Or respecting the interviewer’s time or following up appropriately.

An employer wants to hire someone invested in the success of the company.

Prepare well for your next interview. Then deliver an impressive performance.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Brooklyn Resume Studio.




DanaAbout the Author: Dana Leavy founded Aspyre Solutions, focusing on small business development and career consulting. Her mission is to support creative and socially-conscious small businesses. She also offers career transition coaching and business consulting.

Dana has helped hundreds of professionals execute effective career plans to find and DO the work they are passionate about. She has presented seminars on navigating careers, transition and work-life balance to several colleges and universities. Her advice is featured on MSN Careers, Fox Business News, NewsDay,, GlassDoor and Follow Dana on Twitter!



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