Job Doc

I just got an invitation to interview at my dream job. I am so excited, but I am also nervous. What can I do to make sure I have a successful interview? Elaine Varelas guides

Securing an interview for a dream job is just that – a wonderful dream come true. Elaine Varelas guides on how to make sure you are successful in the interview and what you can do to make yourself the best candidate possible.

Ask the Job Doc.

Q: I’ve just landed an interview at one of my dream employers. While I’ve studied their website, what else can I do to prepare for my interview?

A: Congratulations on getting the interview! It’s exciting to get this far in the job search process. You must be doing things right and I encourage you to continue these efforts. An area for you to think about is whether this is your dream job, your dream employer, or both. The ideal is both, but when that can’t happen, one or the other can be very valuable. Start with the website to see how they talk about themselves. This shows you what they think is most important about their brand, their business, and how they exhibit themselves to the world.


Review and ensure you understand the financial information provided. Examine any press releases the organization has issued and look at any online articles or blogs to see what they’re saying about themselves. Expand your research to include what others have to say. Use LinkedIn to see if you have any contacts who work there now or have in the past. These individuals can give you information about the interview process, what the company is like as an employee, and what they know about the role you are interested in. The closer you can get to the group, department, or hiring manager you would be interviewing with, the better your data will be.

Most job seekers also use Glassdoor to see what employees have to say about their company which often provides great insights (both the good and the bad) on the organization. One great feature about Glassdoor is that you can directly see how the employer responds to comments given by current or former employees. These insights reveal a lot about what the organization values and how they may respond to certain comments or criticisms. You should also spend some time doing some of your own searches using news articles and library databases to see how the media is portraying the company. If the press releases or news articles you find aren’t too flattering, pay attention but don’t stop the interview process. Instead, use it as an opportunity to ask more questions when you meet with the hiring manager. Use general questions, like: “Can you tell me more about XYZ?” or “The press was difficult. How did you handle that?” You’ll learn more about the company and how they react to bad times which is even more important than how they react to success.


As part of the interview process, be sure to let your interviewer know about the research you’ve done without listing sources or trying to impress them. Instead, elaborate on the respect you have for the organization and what insights about the company gave you that respect. Gratuitous comments that don’t say why or don’t elaborate on the topic aren’t helpful, but you can say something such as: “I really enjoyed reading about your philanthropic activities, especially where you are contributing to.” In this case, it’s better to be specific. These comments are usually well received, and they show the company that you did your homework. Most people don’t tend to research companies in preparation for an interview. To showcase your research, be prepared to talk business, and let them know why you are the right for person for the job. Provide what you can contribute and explain that you’ll do the job with the same energy and preparation you gave to the interview.

End the interview with my two favorite questions (and of course prepare some others as well): “It’ s been 6 months. What have I done successfully to help you realize I was a great hire?” This helps give you information about what the priorities are and helps them see you in the role. And then, follow up with something along the lines of: “Do you have any concerns about my ability to be successful?” With both these questions, you can see where you stand and reinforce why you are the right person. Make sure to close the interview with a discussion about next steps and timeline, an explanation about how this would be a great match, and (most importantly) a thank you.


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on