A quick search on Google will yield much information on how to prepare for an interview. You can find many interview questions and many guides on how to dress and even what questions to ask, but it all comes down to you wanting to spend the time to prepare yourself for the interview. Unfortunately, the most common approach to an interview is to wing it.
Sometimes people will simply not have time to prepare, others might not feel that excited about the job opportunity, so they don’t feel it’s worth the time. Regardless, you should prepare. It MAY land you a great job, but it WILL be a great learning experience. Moreover, I’m not just talking about the interview itself. The experience of preparing for it is the most significant part of what you will keep.
There is no denying the ability to captivate, excite and motivate with a presentation is one of the most valuable assets of successful people. No matter what your specialty, discipline, industry or title might be. They can make you or break you. Also, I’m not just speaking of the typical stand in a meeting room type presentation. I’m talking about everything from a 30-second elevator speech, to “I just ran into the CEO in the hall,” to I’m the keynote speaker in our industry conference presentation. Interviews included.
A few months back I was watching a Chris Rock comedy special. The special included footage from three separate presentations in three different cities. I was utterly amazed at how his wardrobe and details of the background were the only way you could notice that the scene was shifting from one venue to another and on different days. It just flowed, and it is no coincidence. Chris is known for intense preparation and attention to detail. Watching him makes you think and feel he is a master of comedy and improvisation. So he is, but what you see is the product of him being a master of performance and preparation. He tests his jokes at small venues over and over again before incorporating them into a main show. He knows when you are going to laugh. He knows where he is going to stand when he delivers the punch line. If you watch carefully, in every venue the words match his place on the stage, his steps, and the direction he is walking. Every detail is rehearsed, practiced and carefully executed in the same way regardless of day or venue.
However, Chris is a comedian, an artist. Right? He’s not an executive. He’s not a business person. Then think Steve Jobs, the master of keynote presentations.
Steve is another example of a great performer who makes it look like he is a master of improvisation and on top of his game by innate talent. However, just like Chris, what you see is the result of almost obsessive preparation. In Steve’s case people close to him might tell you to scratch the almost, He is obsessive. Both Steve and Chris take nothing for granted.
Now, how can this relate to a job interview? It’s not the job interview as an isolated incident. Take the job interview as an opportunity to perform and as an opportunity to take your presentation and preparation skills to the next level. Research the company, the culture, the business model, and their financial statements; Google interview questions that would typically apply to your position and practice your answers; Prepare your own questions and get ready to perform. Once you are done take the time to think about what you could have improved and take it into consideration in your next interview or presentation.
Take the time to do it right and you will learn a lot, polish your executive skills, and who knows, you might just land an excellent job.
Silvia Flores is a Partner and Executive Recruiter with Alder Koten in Monterrey. Silvia provides Executive Search and Project Recruiting services to clients in the Manufacturing sector.
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About Alder Koten
Alder Koten helps shape organizations through a combination of research, executive search, cultural & leadership assessment, and other talent advisory services. Our recruiters and executive search consultants bring to the recruiting process an in-depth understanding of the market conditions and strategic talent issues faced by clients within their particular industry. Our leadership consultants provide advisory services that are crafted to be collaborative, responsive, pragmatic, and results oriented. Focused on expanding the capabilities of the organization through talent.