Candidate Interview Prep

Candidate Interview Prep

“Great results begin with great preparation.”


  1. Prepared
    1. Write down the correct address/directions
    2. Know who you’ll be meeting with (names and titles)
    3. Know the correct time and date
    4. Take your list of questions with you
  1. Professional
    1. Appropriate dress – business attire (not your “kitchen” shoes!)
    2. Bring a copy of your resume
    3. Grooming – freshly shaven, fresh breath (no gum), clean nails, no cologne/perfume
  1. Engaging
    1. Firm handshake, confident eye contact
    2. Find common areas of interest if possible
    3. Take an interest in them personally
  1. Positive
    1. If they ask about your past experiences, emphasize the positive
    2. Show a positive disposition
  1. Enthusiastic
    1. Show interest in the position, even if you have concerns
    2. Don’t be arrogant or take the stance that ‘you called me’
  1. Assertive
    1. Show initiative in your experience
    2. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself
    3. Think in terms of results and outcomes (%’s are good; $’s are best!)
    4. Ask yourself the question ‘What’s the Point?’, or ‘So What?’ concerning your answers. 


  1. Ask about the position:

Why is the position open?  If replacing someone, why did they leave and how long were they in the position?

What are some of the more difficult problems facing someone in this position?  How do you think these could best be handled?

  1. Ask about the company: Show you have done research and know about them. 

How would you describe the company culture?

What do you enjoy most about working here? 

What is unique about this company?

What are the future plans for the company?

  1. Ask about the people:

Ask how the organization is structured.  Who reports to whom?

Ask about the staff you will be managing (strengths, opportunities, etc.).

  1. Ask about the outcomes of the position:

If I were successful in this position, what would that look like to you?

What are the most important things I can do to help the company within the first 90 days? 

Based on what they tell you, sell your past experiences. “This is how I would go about accomplishing those results.”

If I were to get this position, how could I prepare ahead of time to hit the ground running?

  1. Things to avoid:

Do not bring up anything related to compensation, benefits, vacation, bonuses, or anything like that. You want to be a ‘giver’ and not perceived as a ‘taker’.

Do not be arrogant or overconfident or negative.

Do not bad-mouth anyone, even past employers that you hate. 


  1. Are there any concerns you might have about me being able to succeed in this role?  (If you don’t ask this question, you miss your chance to counteract any doubts.)
  2. Based on our meeting, what do you suggest the next step in the process is?
  1. Call me from their parking lot! 

Question Prep – Be prepared for this type of questioning! 


  1. Tell me about your current place of employment.
  • What type of work do you do?
  • What are your general areas of responsibility?
  1. What are the three things in a work place that are most important to you? 


  1. Tell me specifically what you have accomplished in your current place of employment:
  • What are the three most important results you have achieved this year?
  • How about last year?
  • How about at your last two places of employment?
  1. Draw an organizational chart of your current (and previous) place(s) of employment:
  • Who do you report to?
  • Tell me about your coworkers.
  • Tell me about your staff.
  1. Give me an example of a major problem you had to solve this year with your company.
  • What was the issue?
  • How did you resolve it?
  • Who did you ask to help?
  • What was the result and outcome? What was its significance?
  • What were your three biggest obstacles?
  1. This is what I am looking for you to achieve with this company (and then share with the candidate the top three performance outcomes of the position, in terms of measurable results).
  • How would you go about accomplishing these outcomes?
  • What resources would you need to do it?
  • How would you measure your progress along the way?
  • What action steps would you take?
  1. Do you have any questions for me? (Always say, “Yes!”)
  2. Compensation: Where are you at?  What range are you looking for? 


  1. Based on what I shared with you, do you feel you can do the job?
  2. What is your interest level, on a scale of 1 to 10, in this position?
  3. What time frame are you looking at starting? When will you give notice?
  4. Where else are you interviewing? Do you have any offers?  How do you feel about them?