The New Basics of Interviews

Updated advice for the 2024 job applicant.

Published: May 15, 2024

When it comes to interviewing, some things have changed (you may do a greater number of video interviews than pre-pandemic) and some things will always remain the same (promptness is required!).  

According to Microsoft and LinkedIn research, nearly half of people are considering leaving their jobs in 2024— higher than the 40% who said the same ahead of 2021′s great resignation. In the U.S., LinkedIn has seen a 14% increase in job applications per opening since last fall. That means you’d better polish up your interview skills.  

Here at Korn Ferry Advance, we’ve polled some of our expert career coaches for their top nuggets of advice for anyone interviewing for a job this year.  

In the U.S., LinkedIn has seen a 14% increase in job applications per opening since last fall. That means you’d better polish up your interview skills.

Prepare and practice.

To be a successful interviewee, you need to both prepare (research the company, prepare responses to both commonly asked questions and behavioral questions, etc.) and practice. 

How to prepare? “Find lists of both standard and unusual behavioral interview questions online—the more the better—and write out your responses,” says Val Olson, a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance.

And practicing your responses out loud is key. Do multiple live and video mock interviews. “The more you practice your responses, the more comfortable you will be in the interview. The more comfortable you are, the more confident you will be. The more confident, the more competent the interviewer will perceive you,” says Alyson Federico, a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance. Then, interviews will become more fun instead of something you dread. 

Ask great questions.  

Prepare 4-6 good, substantive questions to ask the employer, says Sunny Levitt, a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance. And, don't be afraid to ask the same questions of the interviewer that they asked you (although never "go personal" until the interviewer does).  

This give-and-take shows your comfort and confidence and sets the tone for a successful conversational interview. An interview, after all, is not a pop quiz-it's a conversation between two people. “It leaves a lasting impression,” says Tiffinee Swanson, a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance.

Do your research on the company and their leaders.  

This is a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people—even the most senior ones—don't come prepared to answer the question, "What do you know about our company?" No matter how many times you tell an interviewer that you're interested in the position, your lack of due diligence tells the firm that you couldn't care less. Make sure you learn more than basics, like what services they offer, when they were founded, who their founder is and at least one interesting fact about the company.

Understand their values, read their press reports and earnings announcements, and look up the LinkedIn profile of the person you're meeting. “Know the company’s DNA,” Levitt says. 

Be a great storyteller.  

Whether asking or responding to a question, weave in a success story. “The interviewer will be thinking about what the value you’ll be able to add for them, and by the end of the interview, they will (usually) be impressed, emotionally engaged, and have a great feeling about what you can offer the department and organization,” Olson says.

“Once you’ve covered the typical interview questions, focus on preparing an arsenal of stories, versus trying to anticipate every question they may ask,” says Michaela Buttler, a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance. “You’ll be able to answer just about any question by pulling from examples in the stories you prepared.” Thinking about times in your career when things went well or poorly with relationships and results is a great place to start. 

When in doubt, remember the three P’s: Passion, positivity, and practice.

“When talking to clients, I always say to show their passion for the role, type of work, and company. Stay positive with your stories and experiences; don’t let negative experiences impact how you are portraying yourself. And spend time practicing your story and outlining your experience for a variety of different questions,” says Angela Gall Sylvester, a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance.  

Our career coaches are here for you if you’d like some support. Good luck!  

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