Preparing for a Job Interview

What attributes are you seeking from an employer?


Kyle Tothill—co-founder, partner and managing director of eHire—shares his tips for how leaders should prepare for a job interview. 

“The first, most important thing that people need to understand when they're interviewing for a job is what are the attributes that they won't accept?” asks Kyle. “What are they actually seeking in the next opportunity?… Developing those attributes is a very really good preparation point to making sure that you're getting what you want out of the next step.”

Watch the video to learn more about how you can prepare ahead of an interview.

Leaders can prepare for job interviews, for external opportunities or internal opportunities, by preparation. No. 1, the first, most important thing that people need to understand when they're interviewing for a job is what are the attributes that they won't accept? What are they actually seeking in the next opportunity? I'm seeking a growth company or a company that's an aggressive sales organization, or I'm seeking an organization where they consistently have a track record of leading and developing people or mentoring people.

So developing those attributes, four or five testing attributes, is a very really good preparation point to making sure that you're getting what you want out of the next step, and you can test for that in a conversation. And by the way, that creates a lot of balance in an interview. It's not just the interviewer asking, you know, the candidate, you know, do you do this or this is what we want, but you're also pushing back on, "Here's what I'm looking for. Do you have these attributes? Can you describe that?"

So creating an equilibrium and looking for opportunities to create equilibrium in an interview is a really good preparation point. And doing the research to say I'm really seeking these three or four or five things is critical to making sure that you spend good time.

The second piece is preparation. So I like to prepare my candidates and my leaders to think like a consultant before they go into an interview. I like to have them have five strategic questions prepared in advance about the opportunity, the company, the leadership, what I call kind of business 301 questions that are more focused on broad-level strategy questions about the company, the product direction, the marketplace to have a substantive business conversation. And then prepare five or six questions that are what I call tactical questions about the job itself. How will I be measured, what does success look like, what is the current state, and making sure that you're having a robust set of questions.

A lot of those questions will get answered in the interview process,OK, but making sure that you do that homework really helps you prepare for the meeting, and ultimately helps you prepare for pushing back, again, creating that equilibrium in the process.

So preparation is ultimately the key. Preparation on who you're interviewing, having a line of questions that you're preparing before the interview really helps you think critically about the opportunity, and you have dedicated preparation time. If you're writing 10 questions, trust me, you're thinking about that opportunity in detail. And generally that creates a much better experience for the interviewer and the candidate and allows both parties to really understand where they are at the end of that interview process.

And I'll add this, make sure you close. Most people don't close interviews. Closing an interview is akin to closing a deal, but it really is ultimately about kind of carpe diem, knowing where you stand when you leave that interview. I recommend that people ask the interviewer if they have any concerns that would prohibit them from moving them to the next step in the process. And the reason they should ask that question is because 90 percent of the time a lot of the objections the interviewer might have ultimately could probably be easily answered if they get them out on the table, OK? And if they don't get them out on the table, they kind of set overnight. Once the interview is over with and those objections aren't answered, they tend to be very difficult to remediate, and so it's a lost opportunity.

So making sure that you're asking the interviewer, "Hey, what type of questions or concerns do you have that would prohibit you from moving me forward in the process?" really helps that conversation get better. And if you can get that endorsement, you know where you stand and then the power is back in your court. There's no guesswork.
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Kyle Tothill

Kyle Tothill is co-founder, partner and managing director of eHire, LLC. Kyle is a proven entrepreneur, sales leader, and talent-acquisition and career-management expert. He is considered a growth-enablement professional focused on he...

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