Before the Interview

Someone has said that success is neither magical nor mysterious. It is the natural consequence of consistently persevering in what we deem important.

To succeed at an interview, we need to do our "homework."

Yes, it can be tedious to review yet another website of a potential employer who has called you for an interview. However, failing to do our homework significantly lowers our chances of success.

In this context, the first thing you need to seriously consider is the job advertisement itself. Pay close attention to its tone—whether it is formal, serious, perhaps even dry, or if it is creative and engaging, uses everyday language, or is even enjoyable to read. This will tell you much about the potential employer and help you assess whether their culture suits your style, if you would feel comfortable in that environment, and what you should prepare for the interview.

Examine the company's website. You don’t need to be a design or marketing expert to determine if the site is modern, interesting, and easy to navigate, allowing you to quickly find what you are looking for.

If the ad and the site are formal and serious, it’s likely that the interview will be strict and conventional. This means avoiding casual attire and preparing your presentation in a more formal style. You must first decide if such a corporate culture aligns with your preferences and whether you would be comfortable working there. However, don't jump to conclusions, as the interview will confirm whether your initial impressions are accurate. It’s worth attending to verify these impressions.

If the ad and the website feel unconventional and modern, prepare for an different type of interview. Anticipate questions that deviate from the standard.


Appearance is crucial in creating a good first impression. In addition to dressing appropriately, prepare to present yourself with confidence, a positive attitude, and suitable non-verbal behavior. Practice in front of a mirror—why not?


Use the information on the website and the ad to familiarize yourself thoroughly with the company—its history, structure, products/services, branches, growth potential, and goals. You won’t be very convincing if you claim to be eager to work for a company but clearly don't know the basics about it. Also, review other news and information sources. Forums may offer useful insights from former and current employees that could help shape your impression. If you know who will conduct the interview, check out their LinkedIn profile.

Analyze the requirements and job description from the ad. If asked to discuss your experience, prepare in advance to narrate concisely, starting with your most recent position and working backwards, structuring your presentation to continually emphasize why you are the most suitable candidate for this position.


Your initial words should be impactful. Typically, within the first five minutes, the interviewer decides whether they want to continue the conversation or conclude it quickly. Therefore, thorough preparation is crucial. Proper rehearsal can boost your confidence and minimize the impact of any distracting factors.

Choose strong examples from your experiences and avoid excessive details. Consider situations where you utilized skills relevant to the position, even if they weren't directly related to your work. They might also pertain to other projects, training, and relationships. Each story should include three main elements: (1) the situation; (2) the action you took; and (3) the results of your actions—and remember, keep it concise!

Be prepared to discuss a time when things didn't go as planned or when you faced failure. Avoiding these questions or not acknowledging your weaknesses will not leave a better impression. Nobody is perfect. What interviewers want to know is what you learned from such experiences and how you rebounded. Thus, it's better to prepare your responses in advance.

As you review the site and the ad, prepare some questions to ask. Show interest in the company, not the salary. You could inquire about the organizational culture, the company's immediate goals, or even why the interviewer chose to work there and what they enjoy most about it. It's also prudent to ask about the next steps in the selection process. Why not go a step further and request feedback on your interview performance?

Preparing for an interview is your "homework." To ensure its quality, consider seeking professional advice. We at ExcluCV are eager to contribute to your success! Impress employers! Don't just be chosen; choose instead!

Up Next: Learn what to do during the interview :)