Seven Interview Preparation Strategies

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Interviewing for a job is much more than just showing up and selling yourself. There is a considerable amount of strategy that should be used in preparing for your job interview. Below are seven strategies you can use to help prepare you for your upcoming interview.

Gather Information – Prior to an interview, you will want to research the people, the position, the organization, and the industry.  Try to find out who is on the search committee, who the decision makers are, and who has influence with these decision makers.  Find out why the position is open, what the strengths and weaknesses are within the department, and what problems they face.  You will also want to find out what the duties are of the job and who the position reports to.  This is some of the information you will want to investigate prior to your interview.

Organize Your Findings – You will want to become organized with the information you uncovered including information regarding the organization, the hiring manager, the search committee, and the position.  You will want to find out who is on the search committee, what their backgrounds are, and if you can make any connections with any of them (i.e. similar friends, from the same area, etc.).

When To Interview – If at all possible, try to be the last candidate to interview. This gives you an advantage over the other candidates because you will have the opportunity to leave the final impression on the committee. As time passes, people tend to forget about the previous candidates.  In addition, the longer a search is drawn out, the more antsy candidates tend to get, and quite often, this leads to the other candidates withdrawing their candidacy.

Visit The Interview Site – Once the interview has been scheduled, make sure you familiarize yourself with the location of the interview. This will help to reduce your anxiety and help you to arrive on time. The last thing you want is to be late to an interview because you could not find the location. Be prepared and know where you are going.

Practice Your Answers – A large part of interviewing is being able to effectively communicate the answers to the questions that are being asked by the search committee. This takes practice.  You would not expect an actor in a play to be smooth with their lines if they did not practice, this holds true for an interview.  You need to know which questions will most likely be asked, and you need to practice the answers to these questions.  Knowing your Personal Sales Pitch should assist you with many of these questions.

Know The Job Description – Knowing which questions will be asked during your interview has to do, to a large part, with what the people within the institution want from the position.  Review the job description and know how you meet the qualifications and the duties of the position. Formulate questions based upon the job description and have answers prepared that effectively address each question.

Arriving At The Interview – First impressions are everything. If you are meeting a search committee member prior to the interview, such as being picked up at an airport, view this first meeting as the first stage of the interview. Dress appropriately for the situation and be prepared.

These are seven strategies that you will want to prepare for as you look to ace your upcoming interview – Good Luck! 

Remember, ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process. In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS! 

Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University.  He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach.  He is also an author of 9 books.  Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at


3 thoughts on “Seven Interview Preparation Strategies

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