Are You Ready to be Interviewed for the First Time? | Personal Branding Blog - Dan Schawbel

Getting ready to be interviewed should play an important role in your personal branding success.  As your online visibility and your personal brand grows, there’s an increased likelihood you’ll be contacted for media and other interviews.

Being prepared for last-minute interviews puts you in charge and helps you successfully communicate your personal branding message.

It’s never too early to begin preparing to be interviewed by the media, experts in your field, your peers, or potential employers.

Preparing for unexpected interviews

There are two ways to prepare for unexpected last-minute interviews:

  1. Basic facts. Start by preparing answers for the background questions most likely to be asked. These “softball” questions are often formalities, asked to establish your credentials, create rapport with the interviewer, and set the stage for the more important questions to follow. By anticipating these questions, and being comfortable responding to them, you can get through them faster, increasing the time you can spend on the more important questions to follow.
  2. Opinions and perspectives. It’s a little harder to anticipate the types of opinion and perspective questions you’re likely to be asked, but knowing that “hardball” questions are likely to follow the background questions can help you prepare responses that will reflect your personal brand.

Getting the background questions out of the way

Start by making making a list of the questions you would ask if you were interviewing yourself, and preparing answers that reinforce the key characteristics of your personal brand.

Each of your responses should reinforce your personal brand and relate to the key message, or position, you want remembered after the interview.

This is not to say, however, that you should “script,” or memorize, your responses to the basic questions about your education, interests, and employment (or self-employment), history.

Instead, you should prepare a fact sheet containing the typical questions you’re likely to be asked, along with the key ideas and connections between the facts of your background and the main components your personal brand.

Never “read” your answers! Instead, review them before the interview, and have them handy for quick a quick glance during the interview.

Hint: don’t be afraid to repeat the key connections between your responses to different background questions and your personal brand. You’ll probably be asked more questions than will appear during the interview, and you you simply can’t predict which questions and answers will appear in the final interview.

If you’re worried about not being able to recall important ideas, try copying your list of anticipated questions and responses in longhand. Writing ideas out by hand often enhances you ability to recall the key ideas at a later date.

Anticipating opinion and perspective questions

The best way you can be prepared for unexpected, last-minute interviews is to constantly monitor the news and trends that affect your corner of the world, i.e., those who are interested in the area where you are building your expertise, and prepare appropriate responses ahead of time.

Ask yourself questions like these:

  • What are the latest challenges & trends? What’s happening in my field? What are the implications of these changes? What types of businesses and associations are most effected? What are the political, economic, or social changes that you recommend your clients and prospects monitor? Which of these challenges and trends are most important, and what do you recommend your clients and prospects do? How are you preparing to make changes in the way you do business?
  • What type of positive changes are taking place in your field? What does the latest research indicate? What progress, or research, shows the most promise? How do you recommend others in your field prepare to leverage their changes?
  • What are you doing to help others in your field? As you discuss positive changes, be sure to include the efforts you are doing to improve the overall state of affairs. What are the steps you’re taking, and what steps do you wish others were taking, that would benefit everyone concerned? Look for ways to position yourself as an activist leader in your field, on the cutting edge of solutions.

How you say versus what you say

It’s not just your message that improves when you anticipate and prepare to be interviewed; the more you prepare, the more comfortable you’ll be when you’re interviewed…and that comfort instantly communicates itself to your interviewer as well as those who will read, view, or listen to your interview.

With anticipation and preparation, your responses to the interview questions you’re asked will not only be on-point and relevant, but your delivery will also communicate your confidence, likability, and enthusiasm for your topic.

With a little anticipation and preparation, you’ll emerge as not only as expert, but as a likeable expert!

It’s never too early to prepare to be interviewed

No matter young or old you are, or where you are in building your personal brand, it’s never too early to prepare for your first interview. Spend a few minutes each day anticipating the questions you’re likely to be asked, and jotting down the key ideas you want to communicate in your answers. When the time comes to be interviewed, you’ll be able to respond with the words and the attitude that communicates your expertise and your personal brand.


Roger C. Parker shares ideas for planning, writing, promoting, & profiting ideas and strategies in his daily writing tips blog. His latest book is #BOOK TITLE Tweet: 140 Bite-Sized Ideas for Compelling Article, Book, & Event Titles.

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