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What’s the best way to prepare for job interviews

I find the best way to effectively prep for an interview is to have answers to the below five questions. Having good answers to these questions will ensure that you have done your research adequately.

1. “Walk me through your resume.”

Have a succinct answer to this (2-3 minutes). You can start with the “headline”. e.g., “If you look at my experiences to date, you’ll see that I’m very focused on building exciting, user-focused products in a scalable way.”  Make sure your answer has some interesting stories.

2. “Why do you want this job?”

A good way to structure this answer is to answer in two parts. “So first let me talk about why I am passionate about [company] and then I’ll explain why I think [role] is an ideal gig to set me up to make a massibecinrricutiom.”
Major point of advice:  Do NOT play too-cool-for-school. be passionate about the company. I’ve seen a lot of talented friends get dinged by not showing a sincere level of enthusiasm. Why is this so important to get right? First, it’s flattering to the interviewer (who already works there). Second, it is absolutely going to be a check mark in the process. It doesn’t matter if the company is pursuing you every step of the way, you need the interviewer to like you and most often the person interviewing you won’t know all that context

3. Why should we hire you?

Once again, they won’t ask you this, but helps you tell your story. With examples.

One effective structure for an answer goes something like this: “From what I understand about the company and role, it seems you are looking for someone with x, y, z. If you look at my experience and interests, I think you’ll find strengths in all three of these areas. For example…”

4. Give me some example of when you have done [exactly the skill they are looking for] in the past.

People are so skewed to wanting someone who has done this before. Like exactly this. It hugely decreases the time you’ll need to get up to speed, and decreases the chance that you’ll completely suck.

Prepare 2 or 3 interesting stories about when you’ve demonstrated a similar  project in the past. Make sure they are interesting. People see past success as a huge indicator.

5. How would you go about doing [thing you need to do]?

Eg for a PM: tell me some product ideas? How would you change feature x?) (eg 2 for a Brand Marketer: “how would you write a creative brief?”) (eg 3 for BD;: What’s the most impactful BD we can do next year? How would you get it done?”

5. Do you have any questions for me?

If you haven’t already, get the interviewers background. Have two or three insightful questions about the company, which demonstrate why you are passionate about the place. Then end with one of these “what are you most proud of since you’ve started working here?”, “where do you see this team/company in 5 years”, or the best: “how would you describe the ideal candidate for this position?” (if they remotely like you they will describe you.)

The Night Before

Listen to 2-3 videos of the CEO talk about the company. You’ll pick up verbiage unique to the company (for example- do they call the people who use their service users? Customers? Riders? Pinners?) which will make you seem like you speak their language. Subtle but powerful.

How to Dress?

Dress comfortable and when in doubt look at the executives on the about me page. Dress like that.

  • Things to remember (before, after, and during the interview):
  •  Be passionate about the company. This is so important. Resist the urge to be aloof and cool.
  • Be interested in the interviewer. 
  •  Be positive.
  • Be honest. (I’ve often asked candidates for BD: “I noticed you were CEO of [blank], but did you actually do deals?” “Yes, definitely.” “So you drove the deal and signed if?” “Yes.” “What’s an indemnity?” “[stunned silence]”
  • Relax and have fun.
  •  Be thankful for people’s time.
  •  Write thank you notes. I know, I hate those too. Most people don’t care, but 1/10 is offended. Not worth it, just write it. That night or <23 hours.
  •  Remember that all you can do is give it 100%. If you try as hard as you can and still don’t get the offer, that’s life.

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