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Congratulations! Your cover letter and CV enabled you to take the first step – the interview. Now comes the important part of the hiring process, so let’s prepare you by following a few simple steps. Take this strategic path and your McKinsey Interview Cases experience will give you the best chance of success.

Great tip #1: prioritize and stay the course

Your mind thinks about everything. Your head is spinning with thoughts of competition. Her stomach is queasy with fear. It’s time to keep your priorities straight and only consider the important elements of this process. Just keep what you need to know and what you need to do to prepare.


You have one goal: focus on it so you can convince the interviewer to make that offer. Don’t worry about the competition other than to identify your greatest strengths and relevant experiences to stand out from the crowd. An interview is like a sales pitch and you want to finish the conversation – it’s called “The Job Offer”.

eliminate fear:

Simplify the process and reduce complexity by preparing yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally. This may seem simple and obvious, but preparation IS key to your ability to focus and succeed. You don’t have to do too much, but you don’t have to do too little either. Winging it is not a successful method.

Big Tip #2: You know what you’re looking for

Successful interviewers come to the table prepared. They have met the company, studied the job description and know what they are looking for. Don’t think of this process as just an opportunity to sit down and answer questions. Selling yourself is more effective when you shift attention away from yourself and back to the company and the needs of the hiring manager. Look for opportunities to ask the interviewer relevant questions. This shows your enthusiasm, interest, confidence and that you have a genuine interest in meeting their every need – a fully qualified candidate.

Do you know the company:

Finding a company is easy these days. Study their website , management bios, mission statement, and product line. Search the Internet for articles about the company, especially breaking news. If you have the opportunity to do a phone interview before the in-person interview, take the opportunity to ask anything you can think of about the position—it might point you to the hiring manager’s “hot buttons.” This way you can tell the hiring manager exactly what you can do to help them in the position and how you will add value beyond the job description.

Prepare your answers by thinking of the questions:

Check out some of the standard job interview questions to formulate your answers in advance. Then, think outside the box and plan to have some “answer ammunition” using some imagination and the research you’ve already done. Reread your own resume and think about how you could use your experience to provide some examples of exceptional achievement.

Be ready to adapt:

They may find during the interview that they are looking for someone who is a little different or who focuses on a specific set of responsibilities. Be sure to keep your ears open and listen to what they are looking for. Adjust your answers accordingly by applying your background to their needs. If they want someone to do data entry, discuss your fast and accurate typing skills. If they want a receptionist, talk about your customer service and ability to greet customers in a professional manner.

Great Tip #3: Go through the door

Some experts value the first two minutes of the interview—the first impression. Image is important in almost every position you might want to fill. So dress appropriately, be ready for that firm handshake of greeting, and prepare to be just the right person.

Successful dressing:

General rule is to stay conservative. Better to be overdressed than underdressed. If you learn it’s a casual work environment, keep the sweats in the closet and wear well-fitting, conservative clothing. Ladies: No skimpy or revealing blouses and the skirt should be able to withstand sitting in a chair. Boys: Wrinkle-free trousers, a shirt with a collar, a smart jacket and clean shoes. Understatement in perfume, eau de cologne, make-up and jewellery. Distractions like dangling earrings can bother an interviewer. Bright colors and holiday ties are not part of a successful job interview. A watch is a smart accessory (shows an interest in time management).

The firm handshake and more:

Practice your handshake with a friend. You want it firm and confident and with good eye contact. Make sure your hands and fingernails are neat and your palms are not damp. Ensure a straight posture and a slight smile – pay attention to your body language and facial expressions. If you walk in with that confidence, the space will feel comfortable for everyone.

The chameleon:

Assess the interviewer and try to adapt to their behavior. If they are formal, then make sure to sit up straight, be respectful, and stay alert. If they seem more casual, then you should put on your happy face and be more casual (not talkative). Be aware that experienced interviewers are watching you with a neutral approach and expect you to set the mood. The idea here is to keep your interviewer in their own comfort zone.

Great tip #4: Actively listen and passively lead

There are two people in the room: you and the interviewer. So you should pay attention to both. Try not to just focus on what you say and how you come across. Pay close attention to signals from the interviewer, whether obvious or not. Remember that you are there to meet their needs, not your own. This can help steer the conversation in a more positive direction.

The litmus test:

Throughout the interview, pay attention to the interviewer’s body language, facial expressions, and questioning style. If they stay focused, engage in discussions, and continue with plenty of eye contact, then they are most likely still interested in your contribution to the conversation. You want to continue on this path. However, if they are yawning, checking the clock, or seeming bored, then they are not as interested as you would like. This is when you increase your energy and enthusiasm to increase their interest. Ask a more interesting question or move the discussion back to a topic you know is important to them.

Generate positive energy:

In addition to the non-verbal signs, the type of questions you ask shape your interest. Your answers should have some detail and depth. When asked about a specific past responsibility, avoid simply saying, “Yes, I did that.” Remember that with each question you have the opportunity to share your background and experience by providing examples of “How you did it”. Describe in detail a situation that ended with some positive outcomes. Perhaps your involvement has saved the company money or saved your boss hours. You will arouse greater interest in the interviewer by using more detail in your answers.

Great Tip #5: Nobody ‘s Perfect: Flip It

Be ready to answer the question, “What are your weaknesses?” There are ways to turn this question around without trying too hard to be perfect. This is a situation that you will surely face. So be prepared to turn your weakness into a strength . Liars are the only ones who are “perfect,” and liars are unethical. Approach the interview with the intention of highlighting all your strengths, but admitting an imperfection is human and honest. Make sure it’s not something critical to the position.

Although crossing this bridge of sharing a weakness requires a brave interviewee, there are three proven ways to get to the other side. Placing the weakness between two strengths, dismissing the weakness as ancient history, and placing the weakness as part of a strength are proven techniques. This is a very important bridge in a job interview that you will surely cross. So prepare yourself ahead of time by thinking about your weaknesses, picking one or two, and practicing them with these techniques.

Bury it between strengths

You can also downplay a weakness by “sandwiching” it between two strengths. For example: “I’m known for doing what needs to be done to meet my project deadlines [strength]. Sometimes we experienced some staff turnover [weakness]. However, my quarterly reviews have shown that I am a strong manager [strength].” Or, “I am a highly experienced and effective customer service representative [strength]. I tend to spend more time striving for perfection [weakness]. But mine Customer satisfaction ratings are always high [strength]”.

It’s ancient history

When you present a weakness from the distant past, you have an opportunity to demonstrate how you turned that weakness into a strength . For example: “In my early years as a new manager, I was impatient at times and didn’t read my employees very well, leading to low morale [old weakness], but through training and coaching I’ve acquired new skills and learned better team building [strength ].” Or “When I started out as a project manager, I thought I knew how to do things better without following the project plan [weakness], but I realized that the more effective and efficient way to meet project deadlines is to sticking to the proven project steps [strength]”.

The strength is the weakness

Portraying your weakness as a strength can be powerful. For example, “I’m such a strong project manager [strength] that I’ve been known to spend too much time on the details [good weakness]” or “I want the team to be so successful [strength] that I sometimes work too hard to make sure everything is complete, even if it’s not my direct responsibility [good weakness]”.

Conclusion: Help your interlocutor to make the right choice – YOU!

These five great tips will help you sell yourself when you detail your accomplishments and effectively apply your background to the position being filled. Businessacademy1  Your interlocutor has a goal and you want to be THE one he chooses. You can do this by prioritizing and staying on track, knowing what you’re looking for in advance, making a good first impression, actively listening, and turning your weaknesses into strengths. Practice and preparation can make it easier for you to secure the job.

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