How to prepare and practice for an
• Research the Company:
– Company website
– Social media
– Other websites
Product or services
Mission, vision statement
Social Media: Culture
• LinkedIn company page & interviewer personal pages
Questions to consider: Do the employees at that organization care about the
same things you care about? Will you get along?
Examples of things to look for: organizations where people bring dogs to work,
play ping pong in the middle of the workday, chef or free meals, shuttles, have
paid time off to do community service together.
Look up the people interviewing you on linkedin and bring up questions that
relate to their backgrounds later, or people you know in common.
• Google news, yahoo news… search filters
• Startups: Techcrunch, Venturebeat,
• SF/SJ/SV Business Journal
Look for: Financials and key figures, recent or new products or
services, any mergers & acquisitions, what makes company unique.
Current events in not only the company but also their industry.
• Glassdoor: INTERVIEW TIPS!!!
• Startups: Crunchbase
Look for: employee #s, offices, founding team, funding if startup, story of how
company was created, what its growth has been and what its growth
potential is for the future
Glassdoor: prior interview tips from people who have interviewed in the past.
• Create an accomplishment sheet
• Prepare & practice answers to most common
• Using your research, come up with ?s tailored
to the company AND industry to ask the
• Using job description, prepare ?s in regards to
• Practice interviewing with a friend
Interviewer Wants to See:
• A track record of high energy and team
• A demonstrated record of comparable past
• A strong ability to adapt and produce results
in a new environment
• Create a chart of each of your prior jobs, internships,
experiences (can include being an officer in an
• Take note of your major accomplishments in each role that
relate to this job
• Ensure you bring up these accomplishments when you are
being interviewed! Try to sneak them into your answers &
tie them to specific things found in the job description.
• Using job description, try to give examples of how you have
done each role/responsibility listed.
TRY TO MARKET YOURSELF BASED ON THE JOB DESCRIPTION!
First Impression= VERY important
• Offer to shake hands upon meeting, smile “I’m
Sarah Clifford, it’s a pleasure to meet you”
• “Tell me about yourself”
– Explain background
– Why interested in job/ company
– Focus on recent experiences/qualifications that will
allow you to excel in the job you are interviewing for
– Tidbit about you personally in order to connect on a
– Short & sweet
• Traditional Questions
– Get to know you
– Relate to your resume
• Behavioral Questions
– Past performance to predict future performance
– Require you give specific examples
– STAR Technique
• What are 2 strengths you possess? A weakness? What have you done
about it? Give example for strength. Weakness: show what you have
been doing to overcome it
• What is my biggest challenge at work? Make sure it’s not an important
essential duty for this position for which you are interviewing
• What is the most difficult thing to communicate? They are looking for
you to demonstrate leadership
• What is important in your next job? Make SPECIFIC to the job
• What is your current salary and bonus? What do you expect from this
company? DO NOT give a specific figure, tell them you are looking for
an opportunity to grow, in an exciting company, if they really hone in
on this, give a range, the recruiters job is to do the negotiating for you
• What is your 5-year career plan? 10-year etc Don’t say you will
have the interviewers job, comes across as cocky
• Why do you want to leave your current job? Try not to say
anything bad about your prior (or current job) be positive.
• Why are you considering our company? Basically what do you
know about this company, have you researched it.
• What is the most challenging project you have worked on?
Explain why it was challenging and then show how you
successfully accomplished it
• Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to
successfully convince someone to see things your way.
• Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that
demonstrated your coping skills.
• Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet
or achieve it.
• Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influe
nce someone's opinion.
• Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were re
quired to prioritize your tasks.
The BEST way to answer behavioral questions? Use STAR
What was the Situation or Task
Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish.
You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you
have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. Th
is situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience or any relevant event.
What was the Action you took
Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discuss
ing a group project or effort, describe what you did -- not the efforts of the team. Don't tel
l what you might do, tell what you did
What were the Results
What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn
Questions for Interviewer
Show CONFIDENCE & remain positive at all times. Make sure the hiring
manager sees that you want this job!
• What are the main areas of responsibility for this position? Try
and get a % answer.
• What will be the greatest challenges? This will allow you to
demonstrate how you will add value to the organization.
• Why do the people you meet like working for your company,
Why did they come here?
• Do you have any concerns about my abilities to perform this
function? This shows you are confident, interested and allows
you to address the concern with the hiring manager.
• In your view what are some of the biggest challenges which
your company faces at this time?
Top 10 Things Not to Say In a Job
1) “How much does this job pay?” Don't be the first to bring up salary
2) Don’t bad mouth your boss
3) Anything that assumes you have the job
4) “I hate my job”
5) Anything flirty
6) I have no weaknesses, just make sure the quality isn’t a big part of
the job. Show how you have worked towards improving this weakness.
7) Why have earnings dropped this past quarter? Nothing negative!
8) Can I work from home? Vacation policy? Ask after offer
9) “You will regret it if you don’t hire me”
10) “I have no questions for you”
• Be able to explain reasons for leaving all prior
opportunities and ensure that the response is
• Rather than lack of opportunity at your former
employer, “I was looking for some new
challenges in my career that were not
available” is a much better answer.
Closing the Interview
• Always ask questions
• Leave with final statement expressing your
desire for the job
• Get interviewer’s contact information or
business card for follow up
• Firm handshake and thank them for their time
• Thank you note or email due in 48 hours!
Dress to Impress
• Dress conservatively and preferably in darker
colors, pay attention to all facets of your dress
• Go to the bathroom right before to ensure you
Make a Good Impression
Sit upright in your chair.
Look alert and interested at all times.
Be a good listener as well as a good talker.
Shake hands firmly
Appear confident but not cocky
Act as if you are determined to get the job you are
discussing, even if you are no longer interested in it.
Never close the door on opportunity. It is better to be
in the position where you can choose from a number
What to Bring
• List of references, preferably former managers
or peers (3-4)
• Business cards
• Notepad & pen
Arrive 10 minutes
• Know the exact place and time of the
interview, the interviewer's full name, the
correct pronunciation and his/her title
Thank You Note
• Send out an email thank you note immediately
within 48 hours (better if 24 hours) thanking the
interviewer and reiterating your interest in the
• Use your thank you note as a way to provide
information on anything regarding your
qualifications you didn't get a chance to mention
during the phone interview.
• Try to add a personal touch such as something
you guys spoke about. Ex) Upcoming ski trip
• Breakup into partners, 1 person will be the employer & the
other will be the interviewee.
– Selects company & title
– Asks “Tell me about yourself” for elevator pitch
– 3 questions to ask interviewee. (Mix traditional &
– Presents their “elevator pitch”
– 2 questions to ask employer on company/role
Remember proper introduction & close. Then switch roles.