Author: Nelson Wang
I used to be terrible at interviewing. I once had four managers in a row rate me second to last out of five candidates.
It was humbling. It was also incredibly motivating.
I spent the next few years studying how to deliver the best possible interview. During this time, I interviewed at great companies and organizations like UCLA, Universal, MTV, GE, Harrah’s, Cisco, Google, VMware, Optimizely, Box, and many more. I also wrote a #1-ranked resume book on Amazon called The Resume is Dead, and have done tons of interviewing as well. I’ve also coached people in their careers, and some of them are now the heads of their departments.
Through it all, I learned that one of the best ways to find interviewing success is through preparation. It’s as simple as that.
There’s a set of five questions you’ll commonly hear in interviews. You may not always hear all five, but you usually will get some of these questions.
If you have a really strong answer to these questions, it can dramatically boost your chances of doing well in the interview and landing the job.
1. Why do you want this job?
Are you motivated by the company’s mission? Are you excited about their vision? Do you feel like you could help them grow exponentially?
Don’t give a fluff answer here. Show depth, thoughtfulness, and passion. Most importantly, be authentic. Here are some possibilities you can explore:
1. You believe in the mission.
2. You believe you can make a huge impact.
3. You believe you’ll be able to grow and learn in the role.
You get the idea. Understand your why.
I ask this question to try to find out what people really care about. Are your motivations driven by…
3. …personal development?
4. …work environment and culture?
The list goes on and on.
3. How would you make an impact at the company?
If you’ve done your research on the company, its product and services, and the role you’re interviewing for, you should be able to articulate how you’ll make an impact on the company. For example:
1. Sales: “Here’s my 90-day plan for how I’d help grow sales by 50%.”
2. Engineering: “Here’s a presentation on how I’d help deploy innovative new features. I came up with a new feature that we can implement in the app that could increase user acquisition by 25%.”
3. Marketing: “I’ve created a content-marketing strategy that could help increase inbound leads by 33%.”
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