Job interviews can be terrifying. You’re nervous about answering difficult questions, unsure of how to handle salary negotiations and hesitant to get too excited only to be let down. Focusing on these concerns will only distract you from properly preparing. Don’t Panic! Interviews are mostly harmless. So what’s the painful part? The preparation. Follow the advice in this article and our interview will be a success. This is the Candidate’s Guide to Landing the Job.


How to prepare for an interview

Congrats! You have scheduled an interview. The most challenging part, getting in front of the Hiring Manager, is over. Now to put in a little extra work ahead of time. Why? So your interview will be a painless experience that lands you the job.

Before your interview, you should review the job description and prepare to explain your background as it applies to the essential duties. If you cannot even tell the Hiring Manager in your own words why you’re a great fit, don’t expect them to figure it out on your behalf. Make the connections for them!

Next, be prepared to answer “Why do you want to work here?” If you can’t answer this basic question, the interview will not be harmless. Preparation only requires a quick review of the company’s website, especially the About Us and Media sections.

In addition, create 5-10 questions to ask the Hiring Manager and bring that list with you to the interview. There are lots of examples online, but here a few great ones:

  1. What is the timeline for making a hiring decision?
  2. Where do you envision the successful hire being 5 years from now?
  3. What will a great hire have accomplished in their 1st year working in this role?
  4. What concerns do you have with my background?
  5. What do you like most about working here?

The day of the interview, arrive 15 minutes early. Dress professionally and bring several copies of your resume. Leave your cell phone and gum in the car. You won’t be taking calls from Mom mid-interview.

Oh… and don’t forget to practice your super-hero pose.  No, seriously… studies have shown that puffing your chest out like Superman or throwing your arms in the air like you won a race for 30 seconds actually puts you into a powerful mind-frame.  It relaxes you and you’ll be more able to cope with any curve-ball questions you might be asked.  Do yourself a favor though, check in with the receptionist first and wait to strike your pose until you can hit a stall in the bathroom!

What to do before wrapping up the interview

Ask for business cards so you can send thank you notes. More importantly, ask for the job! If you’re uncomfortable being that direct, simply make it clear that you remain interested in the position as the interview wraps up.


Send a thank you note to each interviewer, or one note to the entire group. This is your chance to further impress! Remember when you asked the Hiring Manager how long the hiring process would take? Use the answer to this question to determine how your thank you note is delivered. If the final decision will be made within a few days, email the note within 24 hours. If the process is expected to take several more weeks then you have time to add a personal touch by sending the note as snail-mail.

You should also offer to provide references, either during the interview or in the thank you note. Be sure to reach out to each reference ahead of time so that they know what to expect. When you submit the list of references, give the Hiring Manager each person’s phone number, email address and title. It’s nice to define the working relationship that you have with this person as well. For example, if you are listing me as a reference then you should provide the following information:

Tara Sharif
Executive Account Manager at InsightETE
Email: Phone: 614-802-7625
Tara was my manager at InsightETE from 2010-2012

Great – you have nailed the interview and have demonstrated awesome follow up. Now comes the waiting game. This part can be painful too, but it’s an unfortunate part of the process. Don’t be afraid to follow up if you haven’t heard back within the timeline that was discussed during the interview, just do so politely. Continuing to interview for other positions is advised too. There’s nothing worse than putting all your hopes and dreams into one position, only to find out you didn’t get the job.


These are essential steps for a successful interview. It may seem impractical to spend so much time preparing in advance, but this investment is what will set you apart from other candidates. It’s also the best way to quench nervous feelings ahead of time and help you to feel empowered. Good luck and remember to relax, learn and grow from the experience. And most of all…Don’t Panic.

About Tara Sharif

Tara Sharif has extensive experience in IT recruiting and sales.  She is consistently a top performer at every organization that employs her.  She is currently working as an Executive Account Manager at InsightETE where she partners with enterprise organizations to provide APM consulting services.  InsightETE is an Application Performance Management firm offering a full line of solutions to fortune 1000 and larger companies.  InsightETE offers APM consulting, IT staffing, and a proprietary and patented method to perform root cause analysis in 15 minutes or less. InsightETE’s software gives their clients the ability to measure and troubleshoot IT system performance on a granular level.  Additionally, InsightETE clients can measure true response time, track service levels, and reduce outages as they root out problems from their verified source. What’s more, they see an increase in their customer service satisfaction by eliminating service level disagreements.