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You got invited to an in-person interview…

Now what…?

Well – for starters – congratulations!   That’s a really big deal – and you should take a minute to celebrate it.  There are so many candidates for each role anymore – that making it to the on-site round is actually a HUGE thing.  It means you have a fighting chance to win this role. 

You are IN THIS.   So – this job is yours to lose – OR – win.   A good share of this – is now in your head – via your preparation and your attitude.

You aren’t going to prepare for an interview with an article – not long enough.  And there are so many different interview styles – that one article can’t possibly cover them all.  No – sorry those of you who don’t like to read – but truly preparing for an interview – requires a book, a mirror and a really good friend.

My favorite book on interviewing is “Sweaty Palms – the Neglected Art of Being Interviewed.”  It’s an old book.  Very Old.  Written by a trial attorney of all things.  The best way to get it anymore is via Kindle download from Amazon.  It’s so old you should ignore anything on how to dress and PLEASE ignore the entire section on Thank You Notes – dated and I would argue – wrong headed.

BUT – this book is great for giving you sample questions, helping you understand the perspective of the interviewer, and contributing to your self-confidence.   Some people still do practice stress interviews – a technique LONG out of favor – and a quick skim through that section before an interview process always reminds me of overall techniques and strategies just in case it comes up.  Sure enough – that practice came in handy when I ran into a former GE person on an interview panel – who trained in the stress interview in the ancient past – brought it out.

I like the book because it doesn’t tell you to lie.  Some interview books will suggest that you fib and there is NOTHING and I mean nothing – worse than that in an interview.  Don’t lie in an interview.  There are always going to be things in your past you are less excited to talk about – this book helps you have those conversations without you feeling compelled to fudge anything.  This is critically important since a great recruiter can always smell a lie.  Once your recruiter smells a lie?  You are finished. 

A great recruiter will go back and tell the hiring manager that they will live and die on the hill of “No Offer Under any Circumstances” to you as a candidate if they smell a lie.  They might not be able to articulate what you lied about or why the warning bells are going off – but the best recruiters have relationships with their managers and will tell them – “You are just going to need to trust me on this one – something’s wrong.” 

So – get the book.  Read it.  If you don’t get this book – get a book but read the reviews about it carefully before you do because there is a LOT of snake oil interview books out there. 

Whatever interview book you get – practice your answers.  First in the car to and from work.  There is something about the silence of drive time and no one around that allows you to hear your own answer – and it makes you play and replay it – until you get the bones of your answer – just right.  Next – start practicing your answer in front of a mirror.  You may well be surprised that you have interpersonal communication tics you did not know you had until you watch yourself in the mirror.

Lastly – borrow a friend.  When you have practiced in your car and in front of a mirror – borrow a friend who’s judgment you trust – to do a mock interview of you.  Ask them what they think of your answers.  Tell them not to sugar coat it. MEAN it when you tell them that.  They don’t do you any favors by sugar coating.  If you don’t get the job  because you didn’t improve – it wasted everyone’s time. 

In a period of time where you have to fight a huge field of candidates to win your way to an on-site interview slot – don’t waste that slot.  Prepare for your chance.  Treat it strategically.  Go win this job.  I assume you really wanted it in the first place.  You know why you are the right person for the job.  Now go make sure the Hiring Team knows why you are right person.   You are IN This.  You want it.  Go get it.