Tips for Interview Success

August 20, 2014 by Ali Carbo
Copeland Buhl

Hiring top talent is an important function of any well-run organization. At Copeland Buhl & Company PLLP, we have an entire team devoted to recruiting candidates from both academic institutions and the professional market. Lots of questions from less-experienced candidates deal with the interview process, which is where I’d like to focus some attention in this post. This isn’t a bullet list of “10 things you need to do for a successful interview”, but a successful interview does requires some preparation and introspection.

Show Interest

  • It’s been said all over the internet in countless interview articles. Be prepared. A little preparation goes a long way in showing genuine interest in the prospective employer and really helps you unlock and understand the company culture. Understand that you’re not only trying to earn a job, you’re trying to decide if the company is a place where you’re going to learn, develop your craft and be happy. The candidates who receive job offers are often the ones that I feel leave with a real understanding of what Copeland Buhl & Company stands for and what type of people work here. This speaks to their willingness to work to succeed, something we value highly.   

Know the Job

  • Ask yourself: “What type of candidate is the company looking for?”  This question is important and you should ask it before stepping into an interview.  For instance, we’re looking for hardworking individuals (usually reflected on your resume) with a positive attitude, which can go a long way in helping you struggle through all the skills you’re asked to master, and a genuine willingness to learn. We want people who want a career, not a job. Candidates who can prove to us that they have these traits get offers. 

Know Who You Want To Be 

  • This is easy to say, hard to do. I’d say most inexperienced candidates I interview aren’t quite sure who exactly they want to be, and I’m not talking about 2 – 5 year professional goals, although those are great to have. I’m talking about the people they want to present to the world, in both the workplace and in life.  Are you a person the firm can trust with client relationships?  Client relationships are huge investments of time and effort over multiple years, and trust can erode very quickly without effort and dedication. Do you want to be part of a team? Do you want to do good work and solve problems and come through for the people you’re working with? Succeed? Or will you punt and “quit” when it’s tough? I try my best to spot these traits in candidates but it can be difficult. It’s true that people grow with experience and in time earn that trust and build relationships.  But some people know who they want to be and they’re easy to spot. I suggest working on that before your interview. You have a better chance of being hired, and once you are, a better chance of success on the job.

Ali Carbo