Under Preparation for Job Interviews

“If they don’t like me for who I am, then I don’t want to work for them either,” said the job applicant. Seriously?

Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty.– Theodore Roosevelt

Bad resume is the first mistake. The list of jobs in the standard reverse chronological order adds little value. Not getting fired is a valuable skill, but not really marketable. Hiring managers are interested in your productive skills and expertise, preferably the proof of them, not just the claim. For example, just saying you are “a Database Engineer for 5 years” is bad. “Implemented data query” is better. “Designed new algorithm to improved query performance by 35%” is much better.

What were your proudest accomplishments in recent jobs and personal life? What were your direct contributions and the differences you made? Was is your judgment, unique skills, or some of your personality traits? Can you describe them in one minute and also in five? Rehearse both the 1- and 5-minute versions out loud, preferably in front of an audience. Tell the story with an opening and end with a punch line.

If you are a manager, have several “war stories” on people management, budgeting, cross-departmental negotiation, and upward management.

It is OK to bring notes. Interviewers appreciate well prepared candidates. Everyone wants the time spent to be productive, at least entertaining.

Ask who are to interview you: name, position, his/her place in the organization. Google them, search them in social media and news, make notes. What’s the role you are interviewing for? What’re the sales, competitors, and recent announcements? Who is at the top of that business? Are you generally knowledgeable? Much preferably, do you have some insights on this business?

This may be a seller’s market and a talent, such as yourself, merely need to choose among the best suiters. Wrong! The best job in the best company always attract the best candidates and, for that, it is always the buyer’s market. You are always competing with someone equally, or better, talented as yourself. If you don’t prepare, study, rehearse, or practice, there is really nothing better will come your way. No matter how good is the job market for the talents. Remember what Roosevelt said. Does Steph Curry practice shooting? Do you know any author who does not edit his works? Or any singer who does not rehearse?

Job hunting is a skill. All skills require practicing. It’s always good to acquire skills before you need them. Whether you are “not really looking” has nothing to do with acquiring a job hunting skill.

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