Interviews are the necessary evil on the road to getting a job – and they can be very stressful if you don’t have a direction for how to prepare for them. Lack of or the wrong preparation results in low confidence and being nervous, lowering your chances of getting that dream job or internship. Each interview is a key opportunity for you to shine, so it’s better to be over-prepared for them. In this article, I will be sharing frameworks I used for interviews at major firms such as Google, Goldman Sachs, and Deloitte. When you send 50 job or internship applications, frameworks can make it easier for you to remember and practice your interview skills.
MPSC – Mission, Product/Service, Culture
You will be asked the question “Why do you want to work at…?” probably 99% of the time. It’s an easy question, so I used to underestimate the importance of preparing for this one – which was a mistake. I would always give a broad answer, one that could fit any company interview. However, this didn’t convince whoever was interviewing me. After a few unsuccessful interviews, I came up with the MPSC framework, which helped me achieve a 70% success rate at interviews.
- Mission – research the company’s mission and where they want to get in the next few years.
- Products/Service – If you are applying for product based roles, research the products the company offers and figure out their differentiator. If you are applying to service-based jobs like consulting, research the methods they use and, again, what differentiates it from its competitors.
- Culture – Research the culture of the company, what type of people work there, and why you want to be part of their environment.
Whenever I was interviewing at a company I cared about, I reached out to at least 4-5 people in my network or on Linkedin to ask how their interview experience was, what sort of questions I should expect and what the company would want to hear. Then you put all questions and insights together on a paper. On average, this should be one page per person you talked to. When you speak to your network, make sure you prepare as many questions as possible prior to the meeting, so you are not wasting anyone’s time and maximise your opportunity.
- What their experience was like interviewing for the job you applied for.
- What was the structure of the interview and what questions were asked.
- What the company wants to hear.
STAR Technique Flashcards
Create flashcards with all the questions on one side and answer with STAR technique written on the other side. It’s a memory game at the end of the day during interviews, and you want to be able to answer without hesitation. You need to make sure you remember all the times you excelled and use storytelling techniques to make it sound interesting and compelling.
“Tell me about a time when you had to negotiate with someone” (example question)
- In 1-3 sentences, explain the context of your answer.
- What was your task/goal that you were working towards?
- What steps did you take to achieve the above goal?
- What was the result and how did you measure success?
Check out an example answer HERE.
When you are prepared, you tend to be less nervous, more confident and your personality comes through. Interview preparation is a window to understanding the details of your great achievements and practicing your storytelling skills through them. Using frameworks helps you to build blocks to better achieve this.
The last recommendation I would give is to apply to as many companies as possible, even the ones you don’t like. This might not make sense, but the reason why I am saying this is – in a real interview setting you can test what works and what doesn’t work for you, and your storytelling becomes better and flows better with more real-life practice. I hope this article helped you clarify how you should prepare for interviews.