Job Interview Preparation Makes for Great Conversation

by Josh Nankivel
(Sioux Falls, SD, USA)

Josh Nankivel

Josh Nankivel

Come along with me on this recap of the great interview you just had, and how your preparation made it rock.

Let's pretend...

You've been keeping a list of possible interview questions and the best stories from your past history to illustrate those. The stories are very specific, crafted to leave a positive impression to the listener.

You put all these together on a continuous basis, and at times when you weren't stressed about an upcoming interview. When new experiences at work occur that make good stories, you add them to this list. Your interview preparation is very proactive!

Additionally, you list highlights and results, again being specific as possible. 130% increase in customer satisfaction scores, etc.

When you found this job posting, it was easy to pick out the highlights and results to put on your resume. You selected a subset from your master list, customized to the company and role.

Not to mention...You already had nice report covers ready to go. When they called you for the interview, it was simple to package up the specific resume and cover letters for the position.

You asked who would be interviewing you, checking spelling to be sure you had their names right and what their title is. Those cover letters for the portfolios are written specifically to them. Easy...

And you included relevant examples of your work, documentation of awards received, certifications, letters of recommendation, etc. in the packet. It only took a few minutes because you already had it ready to go, right?

You put together enough portfolios for everyone interviewing you plus 2 extra generic ones just in case.

Now it's interview time; You are relaxed. Calm.

Heck, you review these stories from your past on a regular basis. You know them like the back of your hand. You are confident that given any question, you will have a closely related match from your prepared history when it comes up in the interview.

No answers of the generic "I would do this..." nature. No way. Those are easily forgotten by a hiring manager. No, you have a gamut of real-life stories at your fingertips. When those managers think about all those candidates they interviewed, you will stand out.

Why? Because of the specificity of your answers. The way you told a story. Set up the characters and situation, relayed the challenges and how you tackled them.

Because of your awesome interview preparation, now you can sit back and have a conversation.

To get ready for the interview, you just need to come up with some good questions about the company. Not questions you could research online. Questions about the culture, about how they do whatever function you specialize in. Ask what challenges they are experiencing. Offer advice based on your expertise.

Josh Nankivel is the founder of pmStudent, a site dedicated to helping new and aspiring project managers succeed. He has over a decade of project management experience in several industries, a Bachelor of Science degree in Project Management, and is PMP certified.

Josh is also the instructor of WBS Coach, a work breakdown structure training program. Follow Josh on Twitter and Facebook as well.

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