Four Strategies for your Best Interview Wrap-up
When it comes to shortlist interviews, the Q&A session often has presenters shaking in their boots. It’s been our experience that all the hard questions you’d prefer to avoid are going to be asked during the Q&A session. Our advice? Prepare beforehand for the worst so that your experience can turn out for the best. Here’s how:
Create a Big, Scary Questions List
Make a list of all the big, scary questions that you’d really prefer wouldn’t come up in an interview. Maybe you went over budget on a similar project in the past. Chance are, the client will know about that and will ask you about it. Better to get your honest answer out on the table and let the interviewer know what you learned from that experience and how you would address a similar situation moving forward.
Determine Who Answers What
Plan who in the group will address what types of questions. Assign the questions on your list and practice the responses. We’ve found that detail questions (understanding of the project or how the project will be managed) are best answered by the Project Manager, while big-picture questions (the firm’s design philosophy or contractual procedures) can be answered by the Principal in Charge.
Prepare for Interaction
Ultimately, a client hires people – not a firm. Use your interview rehearsals to practice being interactive and personable. Are there questions you can ask the interviewers that will help you get a feel for the room? Build them into your script. Q&A sessions are far more productive when you get a dialogue going.
Record the Conversation
If possible, take a person along who can record the presentation. Be sure to ask for permission in advance! At a minimum, have someone taking notes and writing down the questions asked. Review the recording or notes afterward with an eye for what you can do differently the next time. And be sure to add questions that took you by surprise to your ongoing questions list.
Don’t settle for a good presentation. Make it great with strategic Q&A rehearsals so your responses engage the audience, tackle the tough questions, and remain productive even after the interview is over.
Need a tried & true presentation template? Review our example outline.