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Expert Advice from Focused Consulting, LLC: How to Prepare for Your Interview (Step 2 of 4)

In last week’s post we introduced Barbara Sucoff, President of Focused Consulting, LLC. Barbara has shared with us her four step prep process for the interview candidate, and each week this month we’ll highlight the details of one of the steps. This week is Step 2: Get Set.

ICYMI, review Step 1: Get Ready

Interview Prep Process: Step 2

Why is this step important?

Step 2: Get Set is about knowing who you are as a brand so that you are consistent in all your interactions. You have to be prepared because if you’re not, someone else is. It’s a competitive landscape out there.

What are the activities associated with this step?

First, answer these questions:

  • What brand do you want to portray? What this means: let’s say it’s a busy day, the interviewer is interviewing 7 candidates – they’ll all blur together. If you’re candidate #3, what are the things, the qualities, you want the interviewer to remember? Those qualities are your brand.

    For example, my brand is passionate, prepared, direct. The expectation is that I’m going to ask a question, I have something to say; I’m thoughtful, curious, etc.

  • What are the 3 things you want an interviewer to know about you? Note: this is different than the qualities you want the interviewer to remember. These are tangible facts or characteristics you want to make sure you get across in the interview.


Next, Do your research:

  • Research the company and people you’re meeting with: Do a Google search on the company and people; check the LinkedIn page of the interviewer. If it is a public company, check the investor section on the website and listen to the last earnings call.  

  • Review the job description: While reviewing the job description, identify the competencies of the job. The interviewer will ultimately be trying to determine if your skill set matches those competencies.


Then, prepare talking points:

  • Develop 5 questions: These should be questions that cannot be found on the internet – make them thoughtful! They should also build off of the research that you have done. For example, “I noticed on the website that you have grown through acquisition. How has that impacted your culture?”

  • Create 3 STAR stories to emphasize your brand: ‘STAR’ represents Situation, Task, Action, Results. Use these STAR stories to emphasize your brand and to demonstrate how your experience supports the competencies that you identified when reviewing the job description.

    For example, if a competency is Leadership, you might say, “I was on a team with 2 other classmates. We were tasked with creating a new template for a project.  I took the lead by setting agendas for each meeting, timelines for each task and a grid that tracked completion dates.  As a result, the team stayed on task, with minimal stress and/or confusion about roles and responsibilities.”

When should I have this step completed?

Give yourself a few days to think through this and fully prepare. At the very latest, you should complete this step 24 hours in advance of the interview.

How important is this step, really?

Woody Allen once said, 80% of life is just showing up. This is not best applied to interviews! You can differentiate yourself from the competition by showing you are prepared. It’s guaranteed that someone is going to ask you a question you dread, or a difficult question; if you’re not prepared then you’re not going to be who it is that you want to be in that moment.

Completing this step allows you to feel confident from the moment you walk into the office to the moment you get home.

Key takeaway:

Preparation is not a last minute activity: You must be prepared. Don’t wing it. Tweet this tip!

Have questions on Get Set, the second step of interview prep? Leave it in the comments below! That way everyone can learn from and contribute to the discussion. Ready for more? Continue to Step 3: Go!


Focused Consulting, LLC is a corporate training and coaching consultancy that specializes in professional development at all levels of an organization. To date, the Focused Consulting team has trained over 100,000 business professionals globally, across a variety of industries. As expert communicators, it’s guaranteed that the Focused Consulting team provides engaging, interactive, and fully customized solutions in order to achieve the best possible results for their client’s professional development needs. 

Curious to learn more? See how Focused Consulting, LLC has helped other organizations, or contact Barbara directly. 

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