Ask A Progeek – Preparing For An Interview

So after a bit of a hiatus, we’re back with “Ask A Progeek” and a new question – or set of questions:

What kind of things should you do to prepare for an interview?  How much time should you spend on it?

Let’s answer these in reverse order.

First of all there is no hard-and-fast rule to determine how much time you should spend on preparing for an interview.  It takes what it takes.  That being said there are three rules:

You will never get it perfect, and a lot of an interview is “on the ground,” so learn to say “good enough.”

Secondly, prepare for interviews before you have them.  The more you’re prepared the less practice you’l need.

Third, remember that as you do interviews, prepare, etc. it gets easier.  You’ll learn what works, practice your lines, etc.  In theory, over time, you’ll need less time to prepare.

Now what should you do to prepare for an interview?  Here, my fellow progeeks, are what I find works:

  1. Have your materials together: resume, cards, etc.  Make sure they’re in a nice file or something, it looks good.
  2. Read up on the company you’re interviewing with.  Check basic web information, history, and be sure to have any questions readied.  Asking questions shows interest and of course, gets answers.
  3. If you know who you’re interviewing with, find out more about them, say by  Then you’ll find what you have in common, and perhaps who you know mutually.
  4. Have your narrative together – be able to tell your story.
  5. Have your finisher – what are you going to do to convince them.  Have that killer portfolio, witty catchphrase, etc. ready to go so you can seal the deal.
  6. If you’re not used to interviewing, try a few sample questions on yourself and answer them.  If you can get a friend to help, do that too.  I find in time you’ll get enough interview skills you won’t need this.
  7. I always finish interviews with two questions: “What is the most important thing I can do to make my position a success” and “What is the worst thing I can do here that I might mistakenly think is a good idea.”  The answers to those questions tells you much about the position and may give you a chance to discuss your pros and cons (and how you deal with them).

Those are my tips.  I hope they help!

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach for professional and potentially professional geeks, fans, and otaku. He can be reached at