There are a lot of aspects in regards to preparation for an interview. If you search on the Internet or at your local bookstore, library, etc you will find plenty of written material in this topic. As somebody who has interviewed (phone screening as well as full interviews) close to thousands of people and made direct or influential hiring decisions for a chunk of that number, I would like to share the below information.
A job interview could be modeled as these 3 high level tasks as the interviewer being the actor:
- Interviewer to capture what knowledge and experience the interviewee (candidate) brings
- Interviewer to understand the capabilities of the interviewee aka what the interviewee can do in the future if he/she joins the team/company
- Interviewer to find out if the interviewee will be a good cultural fit for the team/company
Interviewer's perspective: Sometimes these tasks are assigned to different interviewers one by one or each interviewer has to assess all three of them or a combination thereof happens. A significant percent of the time, the interviewer gets lost and perform none of the above during an interview.
When looked from the interviewee's perspective this interview model does not change. Just the actor changes - namely the interviewee becomes the actor. As the actor, the interviewee needs to help the interviewer to capture all the above:
- Interviewee to communicate clearly what knowledge and experience he/she brings
- Interviewee to explain his/her capabilities aka what he/she can do for the team/company in the future if he/she joins the team/company
- Interviewee to demonstrate with their attitude during the interview and with past examples if the he/she can be a good cultural fit for the team/company
Interviewee's perspective: From above it is clear that during the interview the only thing the interviewee can do is to maintain a clear communication. Everything else (experience, knowledge, etc.) has already been said and done before the interview. In addition as an interviewee you should also assess the culture of the team/company you are being interviewed by. After the interview ask yourself if you would like to work with the people that interviewed you.
Granted, as the task number increases the task becomes less of a science and becomes error prone. There the number of interviews you have done will help you become better at them. Perhaps I will tell more about these latter tasks at a later post.