3 ways to prepare so you can ace your next job interview

So, you are thinking it’s time to leave your current job to see if there is something that fits you better. Maybe you want to leave because you have a manager that makes too little time for you, doesn’t encourage your learning and development, doesn’t provide meaningful feedback or is cheap with praise when you do good work. Maybe you have grown as far as you can grow in the organization because the path for advancement will move you from your high-performance abilities to those that are out of your high-performance areas. Or, maybe you’re just ready for a change.

Regardless of the reason, it’s important to prepare for your future interview. Remember that an interview is an information-gathering-and-sharing event. You share information about yourself and gather information about the possible employer. When done well, both sides have enough of the right information to determine if the role fits both of you.

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Consider these three tips to fully prepare yourself to ace your interview.

Invest in greater self-awareness to know your strengths, interests, and values

The interview is your opportunity to share who you are. This requires great self-knowledge, so take the time to really understand and articulate what you do well, your interests and what activates your best performance. You can’t wisely assess whether you have what it takes to succeed in the role if you are unaware of your abilities. Consider taking an assessment, doing self-discovery work or working with a coach to get clear about who you are. This will also help you identify the right-fit job opportunities, ensuring your time is well spent at the interview.

Create a list of what you want the organization to know about you

Though all organizations interview, there are few that are effective or good at it. That means it’s extremely likely you may leave the interview without having shared the critical and important information they need to know about you to wisely consider you for the role. Gaining greater self-awareness (refer back to step 1) gives you greater clarity about your success attributes, attributes that are critical to share during your interview.

Don’t leave the interview until you share these attributes. You may even have to say something like, “I wanted to share the three things about me (my three greatest abilities) that will show how I can add value and make a difference in this role. Would now be a good time to share these with you?” Be prepared to share your greatest attributes during your interview, even if your interviewer hasn’t asked for them.

Create a list of what you want to know about the organization, role or manager

Understand the organization and its focus, vision, and mission. Understand the role, what it does and its importance to the organization, and get an understanding of the management style and culture of the organization. Create a list of anything you need to know to be able to say yes or no to the opportunity.

Since an interview is an information-gathering-and-sharing event, take the time to really know yourself so you can be clear about what information you want your potential future employer to know about you, even if they forget to ask. Also, know what information you need to discover or confirm about them and, based on your self-awareness, know what you’re looking for in an organization – and the job – that needs to be met for you to say “yes” to the job. The goal is to have enough of the right information to assess whether you fit them and they fit you. Do your homework. Preparation is key.

As president and founder of the Forte Factor, and a certified executive coach, Jay Forte speaks to thousands of CEOs and Talent Management / HR professionals each year, introducing them to practical approaches to hiring, engaging, managing, developing and leveraging talent. He helps organizations build high-performing teams through his coaching, educating, and consulting. He is the author of “Fire Up Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition” and “The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform the World.” You can learn more about him and his services at www.thefortefactor.com.

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