3 Reasons Why You Still Need to Do Interview Prep. (Yes, Even If You Are a “Shoo-in.”)

3 Reasons Why You Still Need to Do Interview Prep

Job searches are, without a doubt, draining. And, given the nature of today’s shortened employment tenures, all serious careerists are in constant job search mode. The tasks that are part of a comprehensive job hunt are overwhelming.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could cut corners? Even just a little?

While I would be the first to tell you to not burn yourself out trying to do everything, the thought of skipping critical steps is a concern. Preparing sufficiently for an interview is one such critical step.

So why is this so important?

1. It will give you good talking points that will solidify in your prospective employer’s mind reasons why you are the right fit for this job.

A few months ago, I was working with a client who found out about a job opportunity through networking. The big plus for her was that, in addition to having a friend who referred her to the position, she was also acquainted with the owner of the business.

We met the day before her interview, did a mock interview, and discussed what answers were good and which ones needed tweaking. I also mentioned that there might be a possibility that she would be offered the job on the spot and how to handle it if that was the tone of the interview.

After the interview, my client called me to tell me, “I’m pretty sure I got the job! During the interview, she kept talking about what I would be doing like I already had accepted it.” She went on to say, “[My future employer] did ask me some questions that we had talked about yesterday. I was glad that we had worked on them because I could answer them well.”

Sure enough, a couple days later, she was called with a formal job offer and a start date.

Was my client a shoo-in for the position? It sure looked that way before her interview, but her preparation gave her the opportunity to completely confirm that she was the right candidate for the job.

2. Overconfidence is not an attractive trait.
Clearly, if a job seeker feels that s/he doesn’t need to prepare for an upcoming interview, there is a degree of confidence in the expected performance. Problem is, the confidence that is leading a person to not prepare could come across as overconfidence in the interview.

Are you going to get hired if you come across like a conceited diva? Probably not.

3. You might not be as much of a shoo-in as you think.

Yes, using your network to find out about openings and working your connections will all help you land a job. But unless you are a mind reader, you can’t know with 100% certainty that you will be offered a job. What if you make a really big gaffe at the interview? It happens, and jobs that have been thought to be “sure things” have been lost as a result.

You also will probably not have any idea who your competition is. Could there be another candidate under consideration who also networked his/her way in? Absolutely. Could there be someone who is an expert in this field who is also interviewing? Maybe.

The point is: there is no iron-clad guarantee that you are going to receive a job offer. Choosing to forgo interview prep simply gives a bigger advantage to your competition, no matter how much of a shoo-in you may think you are.

Image courtesy of Peachykeen103

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  1. Exactly right, Melissa. Researching and studying a company before the interview is crucial. It’s amazing how much someone is willing to study a sports team…stats, players, strategies.or for an exam at school, but don’t consider spending even half that time “studying” for their career. That means going further than just looking at the website…means researching the company’s employees, communication style, culture…reading articles the company’s CEO or executive team has been featured in, knowing their competitors and their points of differentiation, etc. Confidence is key during an interview, and confidence comes with knowledge. I share more thoughts on the topic of interview preparation on my blog here: http://pastfive.typepad.com/pastfive/2007/09/what-to-ask-and.html

  2. Melissa Cooley
    Twitter: TheJobQuest

    I completely agree with your list of items to research in preparation for a job interview. So many things to look for to ascertain good fit, what the company’s “pain points” are, and so on.

    You mentioned reading articles, and I think that is one that is missed more often because it does require going further than what is handed to a candidate on the company website. However, it is so critical because it can give a job seeker a glimpse into how the community perceives a business, how they interact with the community, what they are recognized for, etc.


  1. […] Melissa Cooley, of MelissaCooley.com, is a Certified Resume Writer, Interview Coach, Career Consultant, Blogger, and a contributor to the career book, Nourish Your Career. Her blog, The Job Quest, equips job seekers with tools needed for a successful job search and job interviewing. Melissa is also a friend and this recorded conversation is the first time we have talked person-to-person since connecting online for the last four years. Her insight into coaching job seekers is worth modeling because she goes beyond the surface practices. That is what made it easy to ask her to share her knowledge in this area. If you want to read a post from her blog that demonstrates her insight, read “3 REASONS WHY YOU STILL NEED TO DO INTERVIEW PREP. (YES, EVEN IF YOU ARE A “SHOO-IN.”).” […]

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