interview prep


Finally! A candidate you submitted is requested for an interview! Now what?

Always, always, always do a pre-interview prep call – and better yet, a pre-interview Zoom. 

This is your opportunity to shine as a career coach, sharing relevant info about the job, the interviewer, the company and helping your candidate perfect the interview. 

Some of the things you will take note of:

Are all of the technical aspects worked out? 

Is the background distracting? Does the candidate present well? Are they loud enough, bright enough, is there background noise or offensive background objects?

Hi  {candidate name} –  

Here are the details for your interview.

 Please confirm receipt and let me know if you have any questions.


 {Date & Time & Time Zone!} 


 {Zoom/Teams link / phone number / physical address}


 Hiring Manager Name + LinkedIn Profile

Anyone else on the team / involved in the interview + LinkedIn Profile


 Job Description / any internal notes shedding more light on the job


 This is a full-time role which you have been submitted at $

 This is a contract role which you have been submitted at $ /hr. 

This includes (40) hours of accrued PTO/year. 

 Availability to start: 2 weeks from date of offer


 A Guide to a Successful Interview

  1. Tips for getting interview ready
  2. Tips for making the most of your interview
  3. Tips for asking the right questions
  4. Tips for closing

Tips for getting interview ready

Test your technology

The minute you agree to a virtual interview, test your technology to ensure you’re set up for success. Check your internet connectivity, and confirm your camera and microphone are working. If the picture is grainy or you’re experiencing an echo, you might need to buy a mini webcam with a built-in microphone—which is hard to do five minutes before the interview, so don’t procrastinate.

On the day of, test your equipment and internet connection again. Technical savvy is one of the top 10 traits employers are looking for, and by fumbling around with your audio or lighting during the call, you give the hiring manager a reason to question whether you’re the right candidate for the job

While testing your technology, determine where to take the interview. Find a room with optimal lighting, preferably near a window, or a blank wall to guarantee you’re the focal point of the conversation. Whether you sit on your living room couch or in your home office, tidy up your surroundings. It’s hard to convince employers you’re detail-oriented and organized when there’s laundry visibly piling up in the corner.

Once settled, eliminate all distractions. Turn off the TV, silence your cell phone, and close any nearby windows to muffle neighborhood traffic.

Dress for success

Although you might be sitting near your bed, but you shouldn’t look like you just rolled out of it. Dress as you would for an in-person interview. For men, that might mean a button-up shirt, blazer, and chinos, while women should consider a dress or skirt and blouse.

Professional clothing will show you’re serious about the position, but there are personal benefits, as well: Studies show that people feel “most authoritative, trustworthy, and competent when wearing formal business attire.”

Practice makes you more comfortable

There’s no way to know exactly what a hiring manager will ask, but there are some common interview questions you can prepare for. Consider prepping answers to the following to ensure you put your best foot forward on camera:

          • Why Are You Leaving Your Job?
            This is not the time to criticize your current employer. Focus instead on where you want to take your career and the positives of the role you’re interviewing for—particularly the skills listed in the job description that you want to acquire.
          • What Are Your Salary Requirements? 
            Negotiating your salary requires preparation. Use sites like GlassdoorPayScale, and to find the average wage for the position you’re applying for, and then match that number against your education, experience, and location to determine a salary range you’re comfortable with.
            It’s always easier to negotiate down, so if asked for your desired pay, respond with the highest number. If the number isn’t feasible, but you really want the job, ask what flexibility there is in terms of benefits, such as healthcare, vacation time, retirement, or professional development opportunities.
          • What Are Your Weaknesses?
            Employers want an authentic answer here, not, “I work too hard.” The key is to share a negative, but explain how you turned it into a positive. For example, perhaps you’re not strong at delegating tasks, opting instead to tackle the work yourself. Say that, but also describe the processes you’ve put in place to make you a more effective leader and help you avoid micromanaging projects.
  • Why Should We Hire You? 

This question is an intimidating one but enables you to summarize your experience and emphasize the unique strengths you bring to the role and the results you’ve already proven you can deliver. This is another occasion where that Post-It with your notes can come in handy. Jot down high-level ideas so that you feel more prepared if the interviewer does pose any of those questions. Just avoid memorizing your responses; you want the conversation to flow naturally, not feel forced or rehearsed. Lastly, don’t forget to prepare questions of your own to ask the hiring manager.

  • Tell me about yourself

Interviewers always ask it. This question seems simple, so many people fail to prepare for it, but it’s crucial. Here’s the deal: Don’t give your complete employment history. Instead give a pitch—one that’s concise and compelling and that shows exactly why you’re the right fit for the job.

A formula we really like to use is called the Present-Past-Future formula.

First you start with the present—where you are right now. Then, segue into the past—a little bit about the experiences you’ve had and the skills you gained at the previous position. Finally, finish with the future—why you are really excited for this particular opportunity.

  • What’s your biggest weakness?

What your interviewer is really trying to do with this question—beyond identifying any major red flags—is to gauge your self-awareness and honesty. So, “I can’t meet a deadline to save my life” is not an option—but neither is “Nothing! I’m perfect!” Strike a balance by thinking of something that you struggle with but that you’re working to improve.

For example, maybe you’ve never been strong at public speaking, you could answer:

“I used to be pretty horrible at public speaking. When I started college, it was a massive problem, and I was just terrified of doing it, and I didn’t do a very good job. So first I took the small step of promising myself that I would speak up in front of really small groups, for example in class. Then, I worked up to taking a public speaking class, which made a big difference. Now, even though I get nervous, I feel like it’s something that doesn’t completely hold me back, and, in fact, recently I gave a speech at a conference to over 100 people. My hands were shaking the whole time, but I got really good feedback.

Part 2: Tips for making the most of your interview

Stay focused

Just because you’re on a computer doesn’t mean you can search the web for answers mid-interview, so avoid clicking around. You want to appear focused and ready to answer any questions without the help of the internet. Research the company ahead of time and jot down notes for easy reference. Also print out a copy of your resume, so that you don’t forget key talking points.

Exude enthusiasm and confidence

And if you can’t firmly shake a hiring manager’s hand or as easily exude enthusiasm via video, you can still monitor your body language. The main way to communicate confidence is to sit up straight, smile, and keep the camera at eye level. Research shows that employers are more likely to remember what you said if you maintain eye contact, so keep your focus on the camera when talking, not on the image of the hiring  manager.

Be confident! Remember, you would not have been selected if your credentials didn’t impress. That being said, we have found that you will generally have a better overall experience and outcome if you are well-prepared heading into the interview.

Be clear and concise

Interact as if you’re already working together through clear and concise communication and active listening. Remember people can hear a smile on your voice, so don’t be afraid to smile, even when it’s over the phone. It’s an interview, so don’t get too comfortable, but try to be yourself and have a natural conversation.

Connections are important

Make a connection if you can. You never know how many interviews a company may conduct for a position. You might be at the end of a long list of people the hiring manager spoke to that day. This is why it’s important to make a connection. Don’t be afraid to have a short aside about a common interest. The recruiter might enjoy the break from the routine questions they have to get through.

It’s not easy to connect with everyone, but it’s a crucial part of a virtual interview. You want the interviewer to be able to remember a personal story you told or a common interest you share. This is the best way to prevent yourself from blending in with the other applicants.

Don’t be a robot

But remember, you don’t want to sound robotic throughout your interview—whether answering or asking questions, or giving your elevator pitch. It’s easy to tell if you aren’t being genuine, so it’s a good idea to run through a few practice rounds with a friend or family member. This will give you a chance to rehearse with different personalities and answer a variety of different questions. While it may be awkward, you’ll have a safe atmosphere to make mistakes and learn from them, so you’re better prepared for the real thing.

Avoid memorizing each response, so you don’t sound overly rehearsed. Instead, write some high-level thoughts down on Post-it Notes that you can stick to your computer.

Smile and have fun

It’s important to keep things simple. Don’t feel like you have to give a long-winded answer if the question doesn’t warrant it. Being clear and concise is one of the most important things in a job interview.

Part 3: Tips for asking the right questions 

You should also be prepared to answer, “Do you have any questions for me?” 

Have questions of your own prepared for the interview. Most interviews end the same way; with the interviewer asking you if you have any questions of your own?  Below are some thought-provoking questions to ask that almost always spark good conversation and make you stand out as a thoughtful, well-prepared candidate.

  • Describe a “day in the life of” the person in this role.
  • How would you describe the culture of your team?
  • What are your short-term expectations (90 days) of the person you ultimately hire?
  • What are your long-term expectations (1 year) of the person you ultimately hire?
  • How are you defining success for the person who ultimately fills this role?
  • What known challenges or obstacles exist that may hinder or delay success?
  • What drew you to this company? (if they’re a newer employee) or what keeps you here? (if they’ve been there longer than a few years).

These questions are time-tested winners. Print them or write them down so that you have them on-hand during the interview.

Part 4: Tips for closing 

“During the course of this interview, did I say anything or imply anything that would inhibit me from being able to do this job?”

By asking this final question, the interviewer may say where they thought there may be a weakness or ambiguity AND it gives you a chance to explain or overcome their objection. 

A key task for a recruiter is determining whether you would be a good fit for the company’s culture. This can be challenging during a virtual interview because there is a physical disconnect. It’s more difficult for the interviewer to understand your enthusiasm through the screen, so make sure you’re expressive when answering questions.

Some people will be able to tell if you’re “vibe” fits their company right off the bat. Give them a reason to push you through to the second round of interviews by shining a light on how you can help the organization.

  • Before the interview concludes, don’t forget to share your enthusiasm for the role.
  • Ask “what are the next steps in the process”
  • Be certain to call me as soon as you’re done to do a full debrief.  Once I have your feedback, I will follow up with the client to get theirs. If this ends up being an opportunity you want to pursue, any information you provide will help get to an offer quicker.

Immediately follow up 

Within 24 hours of the interview, send an individual thank you email to everyone you met. Not only will it show you value their time, but it provides you the opportunity to resell yourself and express the unique strengths you bring to the role, or share any talking points you forgot to address.

If there was something specific you bonded over, mention that in the email so you stay top of mind. Or if an interviewer brought up a particular business challenge, use the follow-up as a way to propose potential solutions. Just keep the email concise; you want your note to leave a lasting impression, not immediately end up in the trash.

If they did not share their email address with you, send it along to me and I will ensure to forward it along.

Good luck!

Always request that your candidate call you immediately after the interview. This is to gauge their interest and provide valuable feedback to the client, gauging their interest.

Some follow-up questions include:

Who did you interview with?

How long was the interview?

What are some of the questions they asked? 

What are some of the questions you asked? 

Who did you meet with?

How long were you there?

What questions were asked?

What did you like about the job?

Do you have any concerns or reservations about the job?

On a scale of 1 to 10 – 10 being the best, how would you rank this opportunity? (If not a 10, what would make it a 10)?

If they come back with an offer at $____, would you accept?

Do you have any other interview activity, offers, etc?