Using Proven Strategies For Your Job Interviews

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Editor’s Note:  The Coffee House Mentor is a series of 10 topics that discuss all aspects of the job search process. This is the tenth article in the series.  To review any of the previous articles, go to our Home Page at

Last week Rob introduced the five stages that comprise a job search campaign.  This was a long session because of the depth of the topic, and this week’s topic would be just as long.  Today they would discuss the ninth element of an effective job search, strategies for your job interviews.

When interviewing for a job, Rob believes that an interviewee needs to “interview like a consultant”.  Cece was a bit confused by this comment and asked what he meant.  Rob explained that a company hires a consultant to solve their problems.  Like a consultant, when you are interviewing, you first need to convince the hiring manager that you’re qualified to be hired and then you need to be able to solve the company’s problems.  In other words, you won’t be hired for a consulting job (or the job you’re interviewing for) if you can’t convince the manager that you are qualified for the job and that you can solve their problems.

So what does a consultant do? A consultant gathers facts, identifies an organization’s strengths and weaknesses, and analyzes their problems. He or she then communicates these strengths, weaknesses, and problems to the appropriate people within the organization. The consultant then follows this up by making recommendations for solving these problems.

Therefore, your role during the interview is to be prepared to discuss your qualifications (selling yourself), to provide a good impression, to ask quality questions so as to gather facts, to identify the problems that face the organization, to develop solutions to these problems, and to communicate these solutions to the search committee.  The preparation, fact gathering, and types of questions you’ll ask will be categorized as pre-interview research, interview strategies, and post-interview strategies.

Rob explained that during your pre-interview research you want to be extremely organized in your approach.  He passed out an example of what he called a “Pre-Interview Research Form” and stated “this form will provide you with an organized structure to follow when gathering information about the job search, the search committee, and the organization.”  You will want to uncover the strengths, weakness, and challenges that are facing the organization.  You will also want to find out who is on the search committee, and find out more about the position itself.  Once you uncover these facts, you will want to organize your findings so you can present solutions to their problems.  You will also want to do research on the members of the committee to see if you have any commonalities such as friends, hometown, same college, etc.  These commonalities can help to create a connection with the search committee and build a relationship with them.  Additional pre-interview strategies are knowing when to interview, visiting the interviewing site prior to your interview, practicing your answers to potential interview questions, and knowing the job description.

Rob continued by sharing the some of the various strategies that you should be prepared for during the interview itself.  He started by saying that first impressions are huge.   This includes arriving early to the interview, knowing what to wear (and what not to wear), being aware of your body language, knowing what to bring with you to the interview, and asking probing questions.  There was so much more to share, but time was running out for this week’s session.  Therefore, Rob provided handouts on more interviewing tips, and finished by saying “we will discuss the post-interview strategies next week”.

If you want the job it is essential that you learn the proper strategies and tactics for getting hired.  This is because the job will go to the candidate who is best prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process.  Remember, 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 or his new book, Execute for Success, at


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