At Career Horizons, we love the challenge of helping people train for the “biggest sales of their lives” in the form of their next competitive job interview.  And while there are many interviewing techniques that we offer up in our workbook, and through our coaching programs, one of the most obvious tips — that we rarely see practiced by candidates — is to take those long, unwieldy job advertisements we all hate and to put them to good use in preparing for the hiring conversation.

Remember, if a job qualification or responsibility has already been disclosed in an advertisement, it stands to reason that a few focused questions around this item are likely to be part and parcel of the employment discussion.  After all, the hiring manager has already indicated that the given topics are important to him or her — shouldn’t they therefore be the areas in which you concentrate your preparation efforts most heavily?  Seems logical, doesn’t it?  So prior to your next interview, we’d encourage you to spread the job description out in front of you, isolate each separate qualification/requirement listed, and gear up for success by asking yourself the following four questions:

1)  Do I know exactly what this qualification/responsibility is? (if not, do some homework…)
2)  Do I have a relevant example prepared to share from my own experience? (if not, come up with one…)
3)  Do I have something interesting and insightful to say about it? (if not, think hard until you do…)
4)  Am I ready to ask a compelling question back to the employer about this topic? (if not, prepare one…)

These steps may seem obvious, but time and time again we catch candidates trying to bluff their way through questions around specific job elements that were clearly disclosed, on paper, prior to the interview.  There’s just no excuse for this.  Additionally, if you’re job searching at the management level, you’ll be expected to bring some heavy-duty intellectual and leadership capital to the table — so make sure to show off the depth of your experience by arriving armed with poignant “words of wisdom” about each and every stated criterion of the job!