Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Prepare for the worst (Question that is..)

I've spent most of today preparing for an upcoming meeting. Making sure I have done my homework. Trying to anticipate the kind of questions I am likely to be asked. Looking for the unexpected holes that the other person always seems so skilled at finding.

The whole process has reminded me of preparing for an interview. So it seemed appropriate to post a few thoughts on preparation or readiness. As always, these thoughts aren't so much my own as they are a collection of the best advice and best practice I am lucky enough to have encountered over my career in live interview and assessment.

The best advice I have encountered on the subject of preparing for a big interview is knowing the outcome you are working towards and why you want to achieve it. There are snappier lines but for one reason or another, this is the one that has stayed with me.

When everything else is removed, the components that remain are you, the person(s) you are meeting and what each of you would like the encounter to achieve. Yes, it is important to know what the other side wants but turning up to an interview just to please the interviewer is rarely a winning strategy on its own. At some point, your interests have to be aired and justified too.

If you are asked, 'Why are you here today?' or 'What would you like this meeting to achieve?' or an old interview favourite like 'What would you like to be doing 5 years from now? ...', if your preparation on the above is clear, your answer will be clear too.

Good luck to anyone preparing their answer at this moment in time!

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