When a meeting matters for us–be it a date, a business meeting, a job interview, or any other occasion, we will prepare for that meeting. And that’s exactly why they ask you the question–their primary intention is to understand how important the interview is for you. Is it just one of many interviews on your schedule, and maybe you do not even care that much about succeeding in this one, having higher expectations from your other meetings with the employers, in other organizations? Or is their offer special for you, and perhaps also their company, and you did whatever you could to prepare, and eventually succeed? This is what they try to find out, besides a few other, secondary things.
Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to the question. In included on my list answers for different scenarios, including one when you actually do not know who the eventual employer is, interviewing for a job with a recruitment agency, or with some external headhunter/recruiter. You will find also a couple of unconventional answers below, conveying a different type of a message, and perhaps fitting for some specific interview scenarios. Do not forget to check also my notes below the answers, where I explain some important details related to this particular interview question.
7 sample answers to “How did you prepare for this interview?”
- I tried to learn as much as I could about your company. I spent about two hours browsing your corporate website, including the careers section, learning more about your history, values you try to promote across the corporation, working environment, and other details. What’s more, I also checked your company page on LinkedIn, looking especially for profiles of employees from the FP&A department, to understand their background and experience, and whether I would be a good fit for your team. I have to say that I like what I’ve read about your company so far, and my research definitely strengthened my desire to succeed in this interview and get a job with you.
- I tried to understand what questions I may face, browsing websites like Glassdoor and Indeed, reading posts from people who interviewed with your company in the last 12 months. Then I headed to InterviewPenguin.com, the most amazing website, with the very best interview answers online, and spent hours going through their articles, checking answers to different behavioral questions, and making notes on what I would like to say if facing this or that question. The entire process took me more than eight hours, and I really hope it will pay off…
- I did not prepare in any special way, because I still do not know who the eventual employer is. Your agency shares just the details of the offer, and the job description, but it is hard preparing for the interview without knowing the name of the employer. Having said that, practice is the best preparation. I’ve been to three interviews already this month, and I definitely made some mistakes in each one. I believe that I learned from my mistakes, and will do better today. I really hope I will, because I like your offer more than the other offers I applied for.
- To be honest, I’ve hired an interview coach. I spent over $600 for five sessions with the coach. You see, that’s how badly I want to succeed and get this job with you. But I hired the coach also because it’s been a while since I interviewed for any job… I know that many things have changed over the years, and the questions hiring managers ask today are very different to the questions they used to ask ten years ago. With the help of the coach I tried to prepare for a variety of questions I may face. Let’s see if you actually ask my any of the questions…
- I did not prepare, because I try to be authentic, in everything I do. I mean, if I prepared my answers to some tricky questions in advance, I would probably have a better chance of succeeding. At the same time, I have confidence in my communication skills, and believe that I can answer almost any question on the spot, avoiding embarrassing silence. I have enough experience with all sorts of situations that happen in the workplace, and I should not struggle talking about them.
- I’d say my preparation was rather unconventional. I actually tried to spent a perfect day yesterday–relaxing, meditating, going for a short run, listening to my favorite music. Just to calm down, empty my mind, not letting the nerves getting the better of me. Then today in the morning I visualized the entire experience–how I will come here, meet the receptionist, shake hands with you, answer this and that question, and eventually get the job. I simply visualized a positive experience I’d have in you company. And I must admit that I feel great here, no nerves, and it seems that my preparation is working.
- I did a lot of things. First of all, I thought about most common interview questions, and tried to write down a few key points I wanted to talk about if asked each of the questions. Then I called Mark, my connection in your company, the guy who recommended me the job. I asked them about the interview process, but also about the details of the job, and whether they can give me any tips on how to ace this interview. We talked for about 30 minutes. Then I went over the job description once again, and over my application and cover letter, just to make sure that I have everything in place, and understand all details of the offer. Last but not least, I tried to have a good sleep last night, to feel fresh today, ready to show my best in the meeting with you.
It is fine admitting your interviewing weakness
Maybe you really struggle with interview nerves, or remain silent when facing tricky behavioral questions in your interviews. If it is a case, it is completely fine admitting having such a weakness, and explaining what you did while preparing for the interview, to make sure that your weakness won’t have a huge impact on you, and would not be a showstopper on the big day.
Remember that honesty is a highly sought-after commodity in the interviews. Being able to admit that you struggle with something–and try to improve on your weakness, can only help you to succeed, and eventually get the job.
* Special Tip: “How did you prepare for this interview?” isn’t the most difficult question you will face while interviewing for any decent job. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, dealing with ambiguity, and other tricky scenarios that happen in the workplace. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your answers and outclass your competitors, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 31 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will make your life much easier in the interviews. Thank you for checking it out!
Sow them how much you care
You’ve spent a small fortune for an interview coach? Or perhaps you bought our Interview Success Package, trying to get ready for each tricky question you may get in the interviews?
If it is the case, say it to the hiring managers. Show them that you did not mind spending money while trying to prepare for the meeting with them. You did so, because the interview is extremely important to you, their job offer is your first choice (even if you have other interviews planned in other organizations), and you simply did whatever you could to prepare, and ace this interview.
Do not be afraid to experiment with unconventional answers – especially if you have nothing to lose
In every interview there are some favorites. People with the best resume, those who made the best impression on the phone interview, and so on. Hiring managers always have some favorite candidates, but it doesn’t mean that one of the favorites will eventually get the job.
However, you may find yourself in the position of an underdog. Perhaps you do not meet one of the job requirements, or you are fresh of college. They still invited you, maybe because they wanted to talk to a certain number of candidates.
In such a case, you typically have nothing to lose, and your best chance of succeeding is opting for some unconventional answers. Simply saying things others don’t dare to say. As an underdog you do not stand out with your education or working experience, but you can still stand out with your interview answers. Check answers no. 5 and no. 6 on my list for some inspiration…
Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Do not forget to check sample answers to other tricky interview questions:
- Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision.
- What other companies are you interviewing with?
- Why shouldn’t we hire you?