Top Tips for Interview Prep When You’re the Underdog Candidate

Matt writes:
I’m a recent MBA grad and I’ve been invited to meet with the marketing/sales manager for a company that deals with digital forensic reconstruction of accidents. I would be in charge of regional marketing and sales mainly dealing with insurance adjusters and attorneys of the clients.

Since I am going up against some people with a lot more industry experience I wondered if you have advice for interview prep.


The Career Doctor responds:
Sure. Here’s a quick rundown on how to best prepare:

1. Be sure to thoroughly research the company and industry.

Be prepared to answer such questions as:

  • What do you know about [name of company]?
  • Why do you want to work for [name of company]?
  • What do you know about digital forensic reconstruction of accidents?
  • Why do you want to work in the field of digital forensic reconstruction of accidents?

2. Since the job is in marketing/sales you might be asked to “sell” something to the interviewer.

A common trick is to hand you something like a pencil and ask you to sell it to the interviewer. So be prepared with what you would say in a sales pitch.

3. Review commonly asked interview questions.

Think about your responses; better yet write them down. See questions here: (you can scroll down to Practice Interviews to enter written responses).

4. Watch your body-language and nonverbal behavior especially ensuring that you:

  • Smile
  • Exude enthusiasm
  • Project your voice confidently
  • Sit slightly forward in your chair to look eager

5. Demonstrate relevant skills.

Obviously your interpersonal and communication skills will be paramount for
this position. So do everything you can to project that you are personable.

Establish rapport. Speak articulately. Be prepared to handle a question
like: “We prefer to hire someone with at least 4 years of professional
outside insurance or legal industry sales experience. Tell us why we should
hire you when you don’t have that?” Obviously your MBA will be value-added
for this position. They obviously want someone with problem-solving
conflict-resolution skills so think of some good examples of when you’ve
demonstrated those.

6. Try to get someone to do a practice/mock interview with you beforehand.

7. BE SURE TO WRITE A THANK-YOU NOTE IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE INTEVIEW TO EVERYONE YOU INTERVIEWED WITH!!!!!

You can send it by e-mail first and then follow up with a written or typed note sent by postal mail.

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