You just landed a last-minute job interview. Congrats on achieving this major job search feat! Now, it is time to get ready for the big day and prepare for your interview.
How do you effectively prepare for a last-minute job interview? What should you do if you have limited time? What tips can improve your chances of receiving a job offer?
Below are four steps to quickly prepare for a last-minute job interview.
1. Research the company, team and role.
First, you want to efficiently conduct your due diligence. If you did not already do this while in the application stage, spend time researching the company, department and position. Moreover, review the company’s website, social media platforms and recent press mentions.
Also, if the information was provided to you by the recruiter, research your interviewers and their LinkedIn profiles. You can also use Team Blind and Reddit—two of my favorite interview research tools—to get a behind-the-scenes look into the company’s culture.
2. Review your elevator pitch.
Next, you want to practice your elevator pitch, as one of the first prompts you will likely receive is, “Tell me about yourself.” Tailor your elevator pitch to both the company and the position. Additionally, call attention to your "secret sauce" and what sets you apart from other job applicants. Further, clearly highlight why you are drawn to this opportunity versus ones with industry competitors.
I encourage my interview coaching clients to record their elevator pitches, then watch them back to see how they come across. This is a particularly helpful interview preparation activity in the age of video interviews.
3. Update your START stories.
With your company research in hand and elevator pitch refreshed, you now want to craft a handful of compelling stories to share with your interviewers. I advise my interview coaching clients to use the START formula (my modification of the popular STAR method of behavioral interviewing) to outline their stories:
• Situation: What was the situation?
• Task: What was your assigned task?
• Action: What specific action did you take?
• Results: What were the results of your efforts?
• Tie: How does this story tie back to the company and position?
You should aim to outline approximately a half dozen stories that demonstrate your leadership, communication, relationship-building, cross-functional collaboration and conflict-resolution skills. Further, be prepared to speak to and share examples for any industry-specific or position-specific skills. When interviewing with big tech companies, for instance, you want to be prepared to speak to how you fit within the company’s culture and values.
4. Prepare questions for your interviewers.
Finally, use the above-mentioned research to develop a handful of questions to ask your interviewers about the company, culture, team and position. Rather than trying to develop questions to make you look good in the interview, focus on questions that you genuinely want the answer to. This will result in memorable questions and a better conversation with your interviewer.
Practice these quick tips and you can be better prepared for your job interview. You’ve got this!