Cut the Crap™ and Prepare for Your Interview – Author Dana Manciagli

You work so hard to get a job interview that may lead to a job. But how much time, in hours, are you spending to prepare for that meeting? Not enough. And if your answer is “enough” then double that time.

“Crap” comes in two forms: Mistakes and excuses that prevent you from “winning” a job in this competitive environment. Most mistakes are innocent!

After 30 years of interviewing, mentoring and hiring, here are the top interview bloopers I’ve witnessed:

1.Not rehearsing the most basic interview questions.
2.Not bringing copies of your resume, cover letter, and the job description you are discussing.
3.Not bringing pad and pen to take notes (no, not a device!)
4.Not studying the company, the division that is hiring, or the job description in great detail.
5.Not dressing appropriately, looking disheveled, disorganized.
6.Not knowing where you are going; therefore, being late.

As you see, interview preparation is not just studying possible questions. It is important to lay out the items you need to take with you, leave early and much more. That’s why I have TWO interview chapters in my book. One shares all the things you can do well before you even have an interview. The later chapter discusses the day-before preparation., You will be surprised how much more calm you will be during the interview and, as a result, how much better you will do.

Did you know that networking meetings, informational meetings and interviews are all the same? Regardless who you are meeting with, the person on the other side of the table or the phone is asking themselves the following:

•Are they someone I would recommend to someone I know?
•Are they someone who is showing the skills needed to be successful at work?
•Are they committed to the job search process and will follow through on next steps? Or are they just sniffing around?
•Are they passionate about the job or company or industry we are talking about?
So, here are the top 3 preparation steps you can adopt to be successful:

Step 1: Interview Questions: Study the top 10 most common interview questions and write down no more than 3 bulleted answers to each one. Practice and repeat them. For phone interviews, you should have a “cheat sheet” in front of you. And it’s okay to bring in notes for your face-to-face meeting, too.

Step 2: Job Description and Your Resume: List the top 5 reasons why you are the best candidate for the job or company. These should listed in the form of skills and experience you have to offer THEM and should not be a list of random skills you have that are irrelevant to the job or company. Memorize those and word them in terms of “You’re looking for XYZ and I have Y years of experience and Z skills”. Prepare examples of each skill, as well, so you can answer “tell me a time when you have performed that skill.”

Step 3: Prepare to Meet – the day before: Make more than enough copies of your resume, your cover letter, any samples of your work and the job description. Organize them all in a neat-looking folder. Bring paper and a pen to take notes with (and take notes!). Lay out the clothes you are going to wear and try them on to assure all looks good. Print a Bing Maps (or other) and double the time you think it is going to take to get there. If you are not sure, then drive there days before to find the exact location or get there super early then go find a coffee shop to wait at. Finally, set two alarms if the meeting is in the morning.

In summary, be ultra-prepared and “Cut the Crap™, Get a Job!” (on Amazon and comes with 9 free downloadable tools, including a guide on how to answer the top interview questions)

(To accelerate your next career move or hire a dynamic speaker, visit

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