Three Steps to Ace Your Next Interview

Hey hey! I am now a week out from having the flu. I tell you what, traveling to your parents house to only get the flu on your 35th birthday is not the most ideal way to celebrate your birthday if I’m being honest. ANYWAY, back in the saddle in Nashville and still dealing with some brain fog but getting things ready for SXSW in Austin. The crew is heading down there so if you or someone you know will be there let me know! This is my first SXSW event so if you’ve done it before and have suggestions I’m all ears! My biggest words of encouragement for you this week is we are not meant to walk through this life alone. If you are struggling with the heaviness of your job search, reach out to someone, hell reach out to me. I’ll talk to you! It’s hard right now and life is heavy for a lot of people but deep breaths friend. You got this. I know you do.

Speaking of the job search, I’m dropping some of my top tips for acing the interview. If you want to check out the whole episode, here you go.

Also, here’s a reminder that my live shows are always a great place to network. Come hang out in the comment section and meet some new people.

Okay so back to these tips. Let’s break it down into my three biggest suggestions:

  1. Research the company. This may seem obvious, but you have to put in some time and effort to really get to know what they do, understand what their problems will be, and prepare talking points for the interview. I’m going to say this now and keep saying it forever— when you get to the “do you have any questions for us” part of the interview you should never be saying, “Nope, I’m all good.” Here, I even made it easy by writing some out for you (plus they’re sourced from tons of industry people). Adjust these to fit based on all that research you did.

  2. Research the people interviewing you. If the goal of the interview is to have some good and engaging banter (…which that should be your goal FYI), you’re going to need some talking points folks. “Man, this weather is crazy” will only get you so far. If you find yourself dreading interviews or absolutely failing, odds are you’re having trouble with the conversation part. My advice— start putting some time into working on those skills. Read some books, or go to some networking events. Nothings worse than someone asking you a question, you answer, and then the conversation just stops. Okay say you’re interviewing with me. You could be like, “Taylor, I watched a couple GC 2.0 episodes and ordered a bag of THAT coffee. I thought you were joking, but that stuff is actually awesome. It’s almost as good as (insert your favorite coffee shop here).” And if you know Nashville, you know that nothing starts a debate quite like who has the best coffee. Figure out something that can lead to a back and forth, preferably a few things, and write it down.

  3. Have the materials you need physically in front of you. That’s right, we’re going analog here. Here’s what I’d recommend:

    • Your resume. I promise you don’t know it as well as you think you do.

    • The job description, the names of the people interviewing you, and ideally a phone number to contact them in case of some internet emergency.

    • A notebook and a pen. This may be a controversial take, but it’s more professional to physically write down your questions than to type them in a separate screen. I’ve talked to some hiring managers that say besides making you look distracted from the interview they’re worried that you’re using AI to help you answer questions. And even though that’s probably not the case, looking engaged is never a bad look. So grab that pen and paper.

    • A “sizzle reel” of your career. Just 3-4 bullet points of things you’ve done that directly apply to the specific role you’re interviewing for.

Alright— here’s a lightning round of answers to some other interview questions I get.

  • Experience is experience. If you’re worried that the things you’ve done don’t count because they were unpaid, nah. If you used the skills and did the thing it absolutely counts.

  • Do an audio/video test before the interview. I don’t think I need to expand on that one.

  • If your interviewer is LATE late, take a deep breath and try your best not to get flustered. Shoot them a quick email letting them know that you’re there and waiting.

  • Gaps in work history aren’t a problem as long as you know how to talk about them. If you’ve been out the game for a minute, spend a lot of time nailing down how you’re going to answer the About Me questions. If you’ve got a three year gap and fumble answering why, that’s an instant red flag for any interviewer.

Alright, let’s go ace that next interview. And like I already mentioned, don’t forget you’re not alone. Reach out. I promise there’s people that want to help.