December 8, 2017

Your Ultimate Guide to Nailing the Interview Process


Let’s not beat around the bush: For many of us, myself included, job interviews are downright scary. Few things are as anxiety-inducing as sitting down in front of your next potential boss and trying to impress them enough to give you a job.

Partially, interviews are so terrifying because they feel like they’re beyond our control. We’re at the mercy of the person across the table. They hold all the power; all we can do is plead our case and hope it works.

Except, that’s not really an accurate picture of job interviews. It may seem like we, as job seekers, are powerless, but in reality, there is a lot we can do to direct the interview process in our favor. It all comes down to a few key actions at a few key points in the process.

Bob McIntosh is a certified professional resume writer and career trainer who runs the Things Career Related blog and leads more than 17 job search workshops at an urban career center. He knows a thing or two about nailing the interview process.

Or maybe we should say he knows seven things about nailing the interview process.

See, McIntosh recently wrote a stellar seven-part guide to interviewing, every part of which we’re collecting below for your convenience. From mental prep to thank-you notes and everything in between, “Nailing the Interview Process” covers basically everything you need to know about wowing your next boss and landing a great gig.

Want to head into your next interview with confidence? Want to do everything you possibly can to prove your value to your dream employer? Start reading:

Nailing the Interview Process

Part 1: Be Mentally Prepared

“Succeeding at the interview begins before you sit in the hot seat. The first step is being mentally prepared. This means overcoming the negative feelings that came with losing your previous job.”

Part 2: Know Thyself

“One of the biggest challenges of the interview process is knowing yourself – really knowing yourself. A great way to know yourself is to do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis.”

Part 3: Research, Research, Research

“The last thing you want to do is wing it in an interview. You’ll fail, especially if the interviewer is good at their job.”

Part 4: Practice Makes Perfect

“To be an excellent baseball player or pianist, you’d practice. You wouldn’t expect to hit home runs effortlessly or play at Carnegie Hall with no preparation. The same principle applies to interview success.”

Part 5: First Impressions Count

“It is commonly held that 33 percent of employers will make a decision about whether or not they will hire you within 90 seconds of meeting you. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But this is how important first impressions are, so don’t take them lightly.”

Part 6: Answering the Tough Questions

“The first thing to keep in mind is that the interviewer is looking for three criteria in their next employee: Can you do the job? Will you do the job? And will you fit in?”

Part 7: Sending Thank-You Notes

“When is the interview really over? Not until you’ve sent a follow-up note.”

Want to read more of Bob’s work? Here are some hits from his blog:

“A Compilation of 17 LinkedIn Posts to Help You With Your Job Search”

“8 Outdated Resume Rules You Can Break”

“Job-Seeker Buddy Groups: 6 Pros, 2 Cons”

Read more in Interview

Matthew Kosinski is the managing editor of