By: Maria Lopez de la Cruz, Talent Acquisition Manager, Cultivate
Time to Prepare!
The job search process can be super stressful and with that, it is essential to be well-prepared for your next interview. Each candidate comes with unique skills, experiences, and accomplishments that have the potential to land them a job offer with their dream company. There is nothing worse than getting invited to your dream job interview to then only prepare by reading the job description 30 minutes before your interview starts. Setting a standard of intentionally preparing for an interview a few days before the scheduled event will allow you to have peace of mind that you did everything possible to be considered for the role.
The Interview Selection Process
The interview selection process can range depending on role, technical skill set, level, size of the company, and other underlying factors.
The RISE Method — A Strategy for Interview Preparation
This four-part strategy supports candidates in preparing for their job interview with confidence! The RISE Method will guide you in researching the company while allowing you to prepare on how to intentionally communicate your unique value add proposition of being the perfect candidate.
The RISE Method
Research the Organization
Being intentional about your interview preparation means doing your research beforehand to show your level of interest and alignment with the role. Below are three categories to consider when starting your research alongside some guiding questions + tips.
- How long has the organization been active?
- Where is the organization located?
- What is the size of the organization?
- How does this department support the organization?
- Review the department’s responsibilities
- Look for and review department colleagues on LinkedIn
Social Impact Focus
- What is the mission of the organization?
- What are the values of the organization?
- How are diversity, equity, and inclusion embedded within the organization?
After you have researched the organization, focus on what technical and interpersonal skills you have that align with the vacancy that the organization is looking to fill. There are technical and interpersonal skills that are unique to you that make you a great candidate. It is up to you to reflect and identify what those skills are to then showcase to potential employers.
- Technical Skills — Programming Languages, Customer Relationship Management Systems, Software Proficiency, and Data Analytics
- Interpersonal Skills — Social skills that you utilize to interact with colleagues such as Persistence, Time Management, Self-Confidence, Negotiation, and Influence
SAR (Situation — Action — Result) Method
Your interview responses should be able to highlight how you are qualified for the position by describing your past accomplishments from previous and current employers. Make sure your examples correlate with the role you are applying for! For example, if a competency of a job description highlights experiences recruiting and converting diverse technical candidates, have a specific story ready to go about how you’ve done that at scale — metrics matter.
Format your responses utilizing the SAR Method which stands for Situation — Action — Result. The SAR Method will support you in crafting 3–5 minute responses that are structured to showcase your level of expertise by having you connect the job description competencies to your past accomplishments.
See below for an example of how someone would frame their response in the SAR format for a University Recruiter role during an interview.
Situation — Describe your situation like you would a hook for a story. You want to share context with the hiring team so they know the background of what was going on before you took action.
Example: In my previous role I held a lot of responsibilities that pertained to recruiting at the college setting while ensuring that there was a diverse qualified pool of undergrads which reflected the population that our non-profit was serving that focused on first-generation college students who identified as people of color. Last year, I was tasked with the responsibility of targeting 18 universities across 3 states which included California, Texas, and Washington to increase our application numbers for our paid internship program that was centered towards seniors that were majoring in engineering. The 18 universities had been part of our university recruitment plan the previous year yet we had failed to make our goals since there were no on-the-ground efforts targeted towards these specific universities.
Action — What did you do to solve the problem or situation? Describe your reasoning and specific action steps.
Example: Since these were new universities that were assigned to me that I did not have the previous year, I decided to create a university recruiting plan for the 18 target universities which included a Fall and Spring semester roadmap showcasing all the events that were available for me to register in person for while also researching + documenting at least 15 student-led organizations or greek affiliations to reach out per college so I can then request to hold info sessions about our organization’s available paid internships.
Result — Quantify your results by sharing specific numbers and percentages that showcase how your contributions made a difference.
Example: This resulted in me being able to have a minimum 40% increase in application submissions of qualified applicants from BIPOC/first gen backgrounds per university compared to last year since I was able to attend large recruitment fairs while also creating specific info session events for student populations that were reflective of the communities my organization served.
Expressing interest is all about you showing your enthusiasm and excitement for the role you are applying for. There are two ways to demonstrate to the hiring team that you are interested in the vacancy.
- Have 3–4 thoughtful questions written down to ask towards the end of each interview that show your curiosity and interest in the role
- Send a thank you email 24 to 48 hours after each interview
How you prepare for your upcoming interview matters. This is an ongoing practice and we’ve got your back! Take time in preparing for your next interview to ensure that you have conducted enough research and drawn up specific examples that correlate with the role that you are applying for to show employers how you are the best candidate for their organization. Utilizing the RISE method will support your interview preparation process to ensure you feel confident in expressing your value add, technical expertise, and transferable skill sets to future employers.