Job Interview Preparation
Patty Buchek, executive career development coach and senior assistant dean at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, recently presented an incredibly informative webinar for CFA Institute on successful job interviewing strategies. Among other insights, she discusses how to respond to some of the more dreaded interview questions like “Tell me about yourself,” and “What is your greatest weakness?” (No, your answer to that second one probably should not be that you “work too hard and care too much”).
The main strategy for successful interviews — and this is no surprise really — is to spend adequate time preparing. After all, if you know that you are likely to be invited to tell interviewers about yourself and asked to discuss your weaknesses, there is no reason to walk into an interview without having crafted and practiced respectable responses to both.
In fact, as Buchek explains, there is quite a lot about interviews that you can anticipate in advance and go in prepared to address. Interviews are meant to assess your experience, motivation, expertise, judgment, behavior, weaknesses, and intentions, and to determine if they offer the best combination available to meet the organization’s needs and fit with the organization’s culture. Knowing this, you should be able to discuss each of these elements in depth. (The webinar explains approaches for communicating about these characteristics).
In order to confirm your suspicion (hope) that your qualities are a good fit for the organization and vice versa, you should have a slate of thoughtful questions to ask your interviewer(s). If your experience of the company through the interview process does not detract from your interest in joining it, you will also want to be ready with a concise closing analysis of why precisely you are uniquely able to help the company succeed and with a plan for how to continue the conversation beyond the interview.
While the importance of preparing for interviews is hardly surprising, what may be is just how much time the process can realistically take and when in your job search you should conduct it. Buchek suggests that preparing content that will be relatively consistent from interview to interview can involve 72 hours of work or more. On top of that, she suggests that your company-specific research can easily require eight hours for each company.
And when should this preparation take place? Before you even send out your resume!
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All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.
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