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How to Conquer the Interview, and their Skepticism

Written By Bart Cleveland | Oct 22, 2015

The foremost reason people blow interviews is that they don’t realize an interview isn’t an interview. An interview is the “What’s-Wrong-With-This-Person?” meeting.

Employers do everything possible to prevent a hiring mistake. This includes heeding “red flags” during an interview. Ill-preparedness is how these flags are waved. To avoid this fate, take these steps to prepare for the interview, nail it, and get the offer.

Know the company and the job

This is a deeper assignment than it seems. Knowing the company means knowing everything that can be known, from the mission to the people. Do more than skim a website. For example, study articles by or about the leadership of the company and others you will be meeting. The more insight gained, the better you will display an understanding of the company’s culture and accomplishments.

Knowing the job also requires research. Create opportunities to gather information. By networking, you can learn about the position from HR, or another employee, before the interview. The more information you have, the more you can demonstrate that you’re capable of doing the job.

Speak as if you’re already doing the job

People who get promotions typically take on the associated responsibilities before they’re granted the role. During your interview, apply past work experience to describe how you will succeed in the new position. This will instill confidence that you are able to step in and make contributions immediately.

Use your ears more than your mouth

If you really want the job, rehearse. The night before, get a friend to play interviewer and practice every answer. Interviews never go exactly as rehearsed, however, so listen carefully to what’s being asked. Take a moment to consider the unforeseen question. A pause to think never takes as long as it seems. Contemplation is a sign of professionalism and confidence. That pause allows you to find the answer and state it succinctly.

Leave on a high note

Start on a high note too. Everyone should find you positive and professional throughout your interview. As the meeting comes to an end, you will be asked if you have questions. This is your chance to shine. Ask what they hope you will accomplish soon after starting, or what you can do to prove you are the best candidate. Leaving on a high note includes what you do after you have left. Within a day, send thanks via email. Follow up with a physical note soon after.


I have interviewed dozens upon dozens of people. Many had put countless hours into developing a strong portfolio but it seemed only a few minutes into preparing for the interview. Many times, the result was a face-first fall at the finish line. Realizing the importance of interview preparation will keep you from a similar fate.

Bart Cleveland has developed branding for a broad range of companies, including: Coca-Cola, The Ritz-Carlton, CNN, DuPont, International Paper, Carter’s Baby Clothes, Applegate Organic Meats and James Hardie Siding. In 2012, Bart founded Job Propulsion Lab to help people entering advertising plan and manage successful careers.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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One Comment

  1. Cindy Bennett

    Know the company and the job! You hit it out of the ballpark with that one – or fall on your face. Use every way you can think of to research the company.

    Pretend you are building a family tree and fill as many of the branches as you can. Then learn as much about the people you anticipate working with as is possible, without stalking.

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