Interview prep: how to get your dream job

career advice careers interview prep

It’s a few days before your interview for your dream job — you’re nervous but thrilled just thinking about the possibility. You want to be better prepared for this interview than you have been for any interview before. But where do you start?

Welcome! I’m Faith, and I’m delighted to e-meet you. You’ve come to the right place. 

An interview is all about connecting with the person in front of you. To do so, you must have a genuine interest in and knowledge about four things: 1) the organization, 2) the job, 3) the person(s) tasked with evaluating you, and 4) yourself. The interviewer has your resume and likely your cover letter – you have proven your prowess, or you would not have been invited to interview. However, the interview itself is your chance to shine, demonstrate your passion, and show why you are the perfect person for the job. 

So let’s dig in!

1) KNOW YOUR ORGANIZATION

Your knowledge of the organization demonstrates an interest that goes beyond simply a singular position. With this information, you can connect the purpose and goals of the position to those of the entirety of an organization. You should discover: who founded the organization, when, and why. What is the organization’s mission? When you’re delineating why you are the best fit for the position, it is important to be able to outline how your values align with those of the organization. Ask yourself: why this organization, rather than another of the same caliber? What makes this organization unique? A company wants to know not only “why you?” but also, in particular, “why us?”

2) KNOW YOUR POSITION

This tip is one on which individuals typically spend the most time. However, are you spending this time thoughtfully? Are you matching your resume experiences with each requirement of the job? Are you going above and beyond the listed requirements to intuit the other skills (which you have in spades!), which will be necessary to mastering this position? By having a deep understanding of the job, you communicate how much you care about the position. Find out who had this position before you. What is their background? Are there commonalities between you and them? How long has the position been in existence? What prompted its creation? Understand the position’s complexities and be able to showcase why the organization would benefit by hiring you. 

3) KNOW YOUR INTERVIEWER(S)

This is an often under-utilized but essential aspect of preparing for a job interview. Who is your interviewer? What are their prior work experiences? Do they have an interesting background that could provide a helpful perspective of the job position? If you don’t know your interviewer(s) prior to the interview, still demonstrate a keen interest in the person(s) in front of you. Ask them what drew them to the organization and what characteristics have made them stay. Ask them about how their prior experiences have informed their approach to this work. Of course, you will have a genuine interest in the individual(s) – but be sure that they feel that interest – in your tone, body language, and the type of questions you ask. 

4) KNOW YOURSELF

Developing, owning, and communicating your narrative is a crucial preparatory step in landing your dream job. Have your story fine-tuned and ready to go when the question of “tell me a little bit about yourself” inevitably arises. Cultivate a narrative that weaves your personhood with your academic and career path. Then ask yourself, “what aspects of my life make this job the right job right now?”

And now look at you: you know the organization, the position, the interviewer, and yourself as well as anything. You’re ready. Now show them that hiring you is an opportunity they simply cannot pass up!

Faith graduated magna cum laude from the Honors Program at American University with a BA in Environmental Studies and Economics and a minor in International Studies. Faith is also an alum of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Now a second-year student at Yale Law School (YLS), Faith is an NAACP Legal Defense Fund Earl Warren Scholar and a YLS Connecticut Bar Foundation Fellow.

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