Interviews are a tricky thing – students spend months preparing, studying, networking, and in the end it comes down to a couple hours of Q&A that are totally unpredictable. Companies ask questions ranging from “What are your 5 weaknesses?” to “If you had to make a speech at your retirement party, what would you say?” and candidates must be ready to tackle it all. However, there are a few strategies I learned through interviewing, most importantly how to “tell them what you want to tell them.”
A few things that helped me prepare for interviews:
Prior to walking into an interview, it is imperative to research not only the basic facts about the company and its products, but to learn what kinds of people / characteristics the company looks for in its employees. Knowing the specific qualities that are important, whether it’s leadership, mental math or digital design, will help you tailor your story to match the company’s ideal candidate, and increase the chances that you will get the offer.
Tell Them What You Want to Tell Them
Based on research from point #1 above, match your capabilities and skills to what the company is looking for. Think about how you will present your story and experiences in a way that ties in to the job requirements. This way, when an interviewer asks a questions that seems completely random (it never is – they are always digging towards something deeper, and trying to throw you off) you will have an answer ready that not only describes you well, but highlights how you would fit in with their firm.
Tell Them Again
Any time the interviewer gives you an opportunity to speak freely, either by asking a very open-ended question such as “Tell me about yourself” or when you are given the chance to ask questions at the end, use the time as an opportunity to reiterate the themes you have already covered in the interview – namely how your skills relate to this specific job. By keying in on a few specific things about yourself, you will be very memorable and be prepared for anything the interviewer decides to throw your way!
Hope you find some of these helpful, and good luck with the interview process!
Forté Fellow & MBA Candidate 2015
UCLA Anderson School of Management