How To Excel In A Job Interview - An Interview With Andre Taylor

By Tony Restell

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Andre Taylor InterviewI recently had the opportunity to interview Andre Taylor of CareerPaths NW. When I shared this video on LinkedIn it proved super popular, everyone was thrilled to get such great insights on how to excel in a job interview - especially at a time when many people are having to change jobs and finding it tougher than usual to line up job interviews. So I hope it similarly boosts your confidence as you prepare for your next job interview. Good luck!

Watch the full interview

Here's the full video, a transcript of which follows underneath

Interview Transcript - HOW TO EXCEL IN A JOB INTERVIEW

It's very important that you take full advantage of the opportunities when they're presented to you, and part of taking that full advantage is preparation...

You have everything from some of your standard applications, looking at the company website, making sure that you can get a good pulse one just who they are, digging into their FAQ section.

I think that's helpful to understand the core values of the company in addition to the mission statement in addition to taking that a step further and identifying who their target is.

Understanding who their customer is.

And then as you continue to take that dive, you even get a chance to get a glimpse on some of the competitors that are within that space as well.

Now obviously, when we're talking about retail, with different things and with different industries, there's a multitude of different applications.

But that's some of this more "standard practices" that I think that are helpful. Because any interview that you go into, the key is to be prepared and so the more knowledge that you can gain, essentially, the more confident that you can be and the more calmer you can apply that information so that you can be a strong candidate and then I think you could take it a step further just because of the pure nature of our business.

We focus on career roles, so that requires you to take this whole process extremely serious.

And that's why I think you can really be creative with your research.

There's so much information that's available right now, you can literally get a glimpse onto what the company culture is, what they're doing and how you could be an asset within that company.

Taking advantage of social media, I think is something that's extremely important right now.

And not to the point that you're drawing, unfactual analysis, but to the point that you at least getting a glimpse into who the company is.

Whether it's their Facebook, to see what type of posts that they're leaving, their Twitter, you can get an opportunity to see what type of companies they're following, what type of speakers they might be following some of the posts that they might like to put out there.

Then you got some of your other avenues with obviously Instagram one of them.

Where I think you really get a chance to capitalise on this process is when you start to incorporate LinkedIn and then obviously Glassdoor.

Because once you have that type of information, you can literally get a glimpse into some of the people that are working at that company.

Some of the hiring managers, what their background consist of, what school did they go to, what degrees that they have, did they play any sports?

Any similarities that you can gain, that will allow you to have an edge and someone that may have not applied that level of research?

It's just going to help you to be even more stronger, once you have an opportunity to present.

And then the last thing that I think is extremely important is if you can, often times you're getting set up with an interview, you get an email that says,

"Hey, you're going to be doing this interview tomorrow at three o'clock" and you may not have the time or opportunity, but if you do, I suggest you ask who you're interviewing with.

It's just a simple question. You accept the interview invitation.

Excellent. I'll be ready to go tomorrow at five o'clock.

By the way, who am I going to be meeting with?

Because that one little question will allow you to take that research or reconnaissance if you will, to another level. Because at that point, you can really zero in on that particular individual who you're going to be speaking with, what their likes are.

The same application, maybe what school they went to.

Maybe you guys share the same type of hobbies.

It's just going to allow you to have one bit of an advantage in regards to that interview process.

And let's face it sometimes, especially in this day and age, it's a game of inches, to borrow a term from football.

And so you need to be able to do all that you can to give yourself the best advantage to being able to present at a high level once you get that opportunity to present.

And so I think looking at the website, looking at the social media, understanding who they're following, taking that a step further to trying to identify exactly who you're going to be meeting with, will allow you to then be that much more comfortable.

Again, you don't want to get to a point where you're drawing all of these unfiltered hypotheses about the company.

But you are getting an opportunity to get a glimpse of the company, who they are, what they stand for and hopefully who you're going to be meeting with so that you can use that information to your advantage.


And so you've got your interview. You've hopefully established who that's going to be with, what are some of the questions or things that you would advise a candidate does to actually differentiate themselves in the interview?

Great question, Tony.

I think that particular approach - it starts with the research.

And so once you've done that research, you are now ready to apply the information that you've learned in the course of the interview.

Within the interview itself going into, what I always educate the candidates that I work with.

The first point is to really understand that your primary focus has got to be about what type of asset and what type of value you can provide for that company.

And then the next step, I think is being able to bring that energy.

You don't want to be nonchalant about your approach.

I'm not saying that you need a bunch of Red Bull, but you definitely need to drink a coffee if you're not a person that's naturally getting ready to get after it.

Because oftentimes I see too much of a laissez- faire approach to the interview process, and unfortunately, that's going to allow you to not be the top one.

Now, in regards to thoughts in addition to some of the questions and applications from that standpoint.

I think this is extremely key. When you're in an interview, especially depending on the size of the company, you may not get the opportunity to apply all of the things that you have learned.

But from a structure standpoint, if you can, these are some of the things that I suggest.

Number one is you want to take an opportunity to understand what it takes to be a high-level contributor to that company.

If it's sales, then you want to know what it takes to be a top producer, not just a sales representative.

If It's more customer service oriented or something that's non-sales oriented.

You want to know what it takes to achieve that position at a high level, not just coming in the door every day, but what are some of the skills that are going to be necessary to allow me to excel in this role and the reason that that's such an impactful question, and especially being able to volunteer that question initially.

The goal is that the interviewer or the manager that you're speaking with will essentially educate you on what it is that they're looking for.

And then you have the opportunity to mirror your background to that experience throughout the course of the conversation.

Does that make sense, Tony?


We've got two ears and one mouth for a good reason.


And then number two. I think it's extremely important to understand what a typical day in the role is going to be like, and you need to be as specific as possible. What are the quotas? What are the benchmarks?

What are some of the things that are going to allow me to excel in this role?

Because let's face it, at the end of the day, the candidate is going to be the person working there, not me.

And so it's important that you understand what the culture is, the expectations that are associated with the position.

Those are things within your skillset and things that you could see yourself ultimately driving in.

And then the next piece to that is, once you have that day-to-day process established, you've got to extend that out.

What does this role look like after six months?

What does it look like after a year?

What's the long term vision of the company in this particular position as it applies to this role?

So that you get the long term picture in regards to what's going on, which will hopefully allow you to build a career with this firm instead of just a job.

And then the next piece to that process is while everybody gets extremely excited about the warm and fuzzies, it's important to understand what challenges that you're going to be walking into within that role as well too.

What are some of the things that you're going to need to be aware of in order to excel in this role or what are some of the challenges that are associated with someone getting up to speed within this role and the ability to excel.

I think oftentimes, a candidate will accept a role but not understanding the full scope of what you're going to be walking into.

You understand what your responsibilities are.

You understand what your metrics are, but maybe not have a strong pulse of what you're going to need to overcome to accomplish those goals.

And so I think that's extremely important from a thought process in addition to a structured process.

And then we can continue on with this.

I think point three is making sure that you understand who the manager is, especially if you get a chance to interview with that manager.

Pick their brain. How long have you been with the company?

What are some of the things that you think that we as a company do better than some of our competitors?

Take it a step further so that you can then understand what's going to take to excel within that company, but also that particular manager because every manager is a little different in regards to what they want.

There's an overview of what they're looking for, but then there's a specificity in regards to how you're going to excel in regards to the relation to that particular manager.

And so that's one of the things I think it's important to get a good pulse on.

And then one thing that I want to educate some of our viewers here is, especially when you're in an interview, this question comes up often, and it's a very simple one, but extremely tricky at the same time, it's, "Tell me about yourself?"

So when you hear that question within an interview setting, they're looking for you to tell them about yourself.

But the real question associated with that is, what have you done up to this point within your career that will allow you to excel in the position that you are now interviewing for?

That's the real question but no one ever says that. What you get is, "Tell me about yourself?"

You want to keep that in mind when you hear that trigger question and you want to take the time to correlate your past experience as it applies to this role.

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