Get your resumes ready – recruiting season is in full swing. Whether you’re an underclassmen looking for that first internship, or graduating senior hoping to land a full time job, preparing for applications and interviews can be a struggle. So, what is the best way to ensure success when having a 1-on-1 with a hiring manager – have answers to the question before they are asked! This might seem like a simpler or counter-intuitive idea, and of course it’s impossible to know exactly what questions will be posed, but in some case it can be easier than you would think.

Almost all interviews, regardless of job description, have some behavioral component. The classic questions “tell me about yourself”, “describe a time when you worked in a team”, or “why choose our company” are too common to ignore, but can still be difficult when nerves come into play. So how do you ace this section? Write out responses! Of course, reciting a memorized response will not make you look good, but putting time into crafting a good answer beforehand is important. After laying out a script, you can summarize a few key phrases to use as a guide while the rest is improvised.

After the simpler, personal questions, most interviews will get into more specific ideas needed for field work. For a bit of background, I am a computer science student so I have most experience with software technical interviews, but this general approach can be applied to almost any field. While it would be impossible to memorize all possible questions that could be asked in an interview setting, the general style and types of questions is easy to catch onto with a bit of practice. When it comes to software prep, services like LeetCode, Hackerrank, and books like Cracking the Coding Interview are incredible resources, and I am sure that there are similar services for prep in finance, consulting, or whatever other industry you intend to interview for. I find that online resources are superior because they usually allow some discussion or comment section where different approaches can be shared among candidates.

It it no mystery on how to get a job – preparation is key. Practicing interview questions can seem annoying given that these questions usually do not mimic real-word, on the job problems; however, you need to play the game. With the correct preparation, the hardest part of getting a job should be getting that first interview! (an entirely separate discussion in itself…..)