Expert Advice from Focused Consulting, LLC: How to Prepare for Your Interview (Step 3 of 4)

On October 4th we introduced you to communication expert 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’re highlighting the details of one of the steps. This week is Step 3: Go!


Interview Prep Process: step 3

Why is this step important?

Step 3: Go! is where the rubber meets the road.  At this point, you’ve prepared and assessed how you want to be perceived (i.e. how you define your brand). It’s time to act on that so you’re consistently representing yourself whether on paper or in person.

What are the activities associated with this step?

Prepare your appearance:

  • Look the part: Your first digital impression has passed; the day of the interview is now your first visual impression. Make sure your clothing is clean and kempt. Do not wear anything that you will continuously have to adjust. Make sure you are dressed in way that is respectful, but not overly formal based on their office dress code. Be mindful of distracting mannerisms that will erode your power (bouncing your leg, twirling your hair, playing with the end of the pen, etc.)
  • Small details matter: If your notebook is bent or ripped, get a new one. If you’re using a pen with a smiley face, maybe get an upgrade (unless the smiley face is part of your brand…).


Upon arrival:

  • Present your best self: The interview starts the second you pull into the building (whether driving, walking, or taking public transport). Make sure you are presenting your best self from when you enter the parking lot to when you leave it – this includes being professional, kind, and respectful of all those that you encounter within that time. If it’s snowing and you’re wearing snow boots, change your shoes outside – not in the lobby.
  • Turn your cell phone OFF: Turn it off and put it away. This includes not checking messages while waiting in the lobby.  Observe the culture.  Read the company brochure in the lobby.  Be ready when you meet the interviewer.
  • Get in the zone: Strike a power pose in the bathroom to reset your energy and focus your mind.


During the interview(s):

  • Give a proper handshake: The handshake is the first touch – it tells the interviewer a lot about you. Your goal when giving a proper handshake is for the “L” in my thumb to reach the “L” in your thumb; it should be a firm connection, one pump, make eye contact, and smile.
  • Demonstrate that you’re listening: Take notes during the conversation, be okay with moments of silence, be thoughtful in your responses, and always ask for next steps at the end.
  • Be proud of your research and preparation: At this point, you’ve followed steps 1 and 2; you’ve done your research – make that clear! Show that you’ve done research, and tell them that you’ve done research through the questions you ask. For example, “I read that you are launching a new product, how are the launch plans going?”
  • Pay attention to the culture: Are people smiling, chatty, heads down?

Pro Tip

When should I have this step completed?

While some of the tasks occur before the interview (planning your attire),  you want to be in go-mode 8-10 minutes beforehand. If you know you’re going to be late, call and tell them. Don’t email; don’t text.

How important is this step, really?

This is where it all comes together. Do you want to be here? Do they want you? The interview is where all your preparation pays off.

Key takeaway:

You’re interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Candidates give the company significant power – take some of that power back! Is this a place where you want to spend the next 3 years? If so, be present and make it count. 

Tweet this mindset!

Have questions on Go!, the third 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 4: Follow up.


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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