May 22, 2024

(MVP) How to Prepare for Your Interview

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
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It can feel really overwhelming to interview for a new job, especially if the interview is for a job you really want or need.

On today’s episode, I am sharing how to prepare for your interview so you can lessen the anxiety, feel confident, and increase your chances of getting an offer.

This episode originally aired in 2022 and is a listener favorite. If you haven’t heard it or haven’t heard it since it was released, give it a listen.

What you’ll learn:

  • How to show up in the interview as your authentic self and make your qualifications shine
  • How to demonstrate confidence even when you’re nervous
  • What questions to ask that will tell you if the job and company culture are a good fit for you
  • The proven strategy that will tell you if you’re getting the job before the interview ends


  • Get a new job, get promoted, or improve your current role inside Beyond the Ceiling – a group coaching program for women in Pharma/Biotech. Learn more
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Welcome to Your Worthy Career, a podcast for women in Pharma and Biotech with me, Melissa Lawrence. I am a certified career and leadership coach with a master’s in Organizational Psychology who has worked in talent and learning development in biotech to large pharma, from non-clinical to commercial. I help women in pharma and biotech create a career worthy of them. Whether you want to get clear on what you want, get a new job, get promoted, or be effective as a leader at any level, this is the place for you. Every week, you will get practical career strategies and mindset shifts to help you overcome the problems you experience at work so you can reach your goals feeling better than ever. Your up level begins now. 

Hello and welcome to this episode of the podcast. This week, I am bringing to the forefront my really popular episode, How to Prepare for Your Interview. So this episode is actually from two years ago, and it is a listener favorite. And I know a lot of you are either preparing for interviews right now or about to interview in an interview. And so I thought, why not move this to the top, make sure you know about this episode, especially those of you that are maybe new to the podcast. So this week, dive into how to prepare for your interview. 

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the podcast. Today, we are going to talk about something that has been coming up a lot with my clients lately, both in Career Path Navigator and in my one-on-one session, and that is preparing for the interview. So interviews can be stressful. A lot of work goes into them. Sometimes you’re so focused on getting the interview. Once you do, you completely freak out. First, remember, you can’t turn down a job that you haven’t been offered. This thought can create immediate relief and lower the pressure a lot. Before you get worked up about what could happen, what you’ll tell your current boss if you get it, if you even want it, just remember to take it one step at a time. So don’t worry so much about what to do if you get the job or even how badly you want it. Think of it as exploration. You’re interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. You get to decide if this is a good fit, and you should. You should know exactly what you want. This is exactly what I coach people on in Career Path Navigator and one-on-one coaching to help you discover exactly what you want down to what you want your day-to-day work to look like, the conditions, the culture, the type of boss that you want, the type of impact that you want to have.

When you do that work, Interviewing is a breeze because there’s no confusion. You know what you want, and you are in the mindset of, I am exploring companies that are going to fit the needs of what I want and how I can contribute. So think about the things that are important to you. Is it a good boss? What type of culture do you want to be in? What type of schedule do you want? What type of impact do you want to have? What type of mission do you want the company to have that you work for? In my programs, I show you exactly the steps to knowing what you want so that you can navigate these interviews with ease. You don’t get confused and start questioning yourself because you’re confident about exactly what you want. So be sure you are thinking about what you want just as much as you are thinking about what they want from you. This interview goes both ways. When you’re clear on what you want and why, it will prevent you from going into a job that you tried so hard to get and then realized it wasn’t actually a good fit.

So I’m going to share some examples of questions to prepare to ask your potential employer in a little bit. But first, I want to share the mindset of interviewing that is going to help you feel more confident about the process. The interview isn’t just about what you know, it’s about how you show up, how you present the information, demonstrate your skills and qualifications, and how well you connect with the manager and team. A big mistake people make is trying to memorize their answers. It’s like an elevator pitch or really anything at all. But think about it, when you memorize something, how do you sound? Like a robot. A nice robot, but a robot. You gaze over and get really flustered thinking about what the next word is and remembering the right sequence and what to say and how to say it. Instead, I want you to think about examples as bullet points and to choose the things that you can speak to with confidence. Answering a question that is memorized won’t land nearly as well as responding with confidence and connection to the other person. The interviewers want to see that you are confident in what you do, know how to do it, can connect and get along with others, and that you’re a good culture fit.

The how is equally as important One is the what. Because you need to remember that you wouldn’t be interviewing if you didn’t meet the baseline qualifications for the job. So don’t worry about the technical aspects and trying to fill those gaps because you don’t have any that are critical to this. You don’t have gaps or you wouldn’t be interviewing. What you need to focus on is how you can do the job differently and better than anyone else and what makes you the best candidate. It goes without saying, but do your research. Look into the company, the board of directors, the financial future, what the company future looks like. Be informed about the company and those that you will be meeting with. Be clear on the role you’re applying for and how you can provide value to it. Why are they hiring for this role? Why is this role important to the company? How can you uniquely position yourself to fill that space? How can you help the company be more efficient or even make more money? Know yourself. What are the major contributions you’ve made? What are the things that you get complimented on? What stresses you out and how do you manage it?

When did you have a setback? How did you handle that? What is the biggest impact you’ve made? What makes you different from everyone else? How do you like to work and get things done? How do you know that you can do the job? Do some journaling to get clear on these answers to uniquely position yourself. Most of all, whether you get the job or not, it doesn’t mean anything about your value as a person. So don’t take it too seriously. I’ve seen time and time again, people get frustrated when they’re not selected because I think it takes everyone back to the old dodgeball days in school. Which is funny because I was sharing this analogy with my children, and they were like, We’re not allowed to play dodgeball anymore. I think it’s too violent now or something. But when you were younger and you were in gym class, at least when I was younger in gym class, we would play dodgeball and teams would be picked. And you wanted to be one of the kids that were picked earliest because it showed you were wanted, right? Because the kids that were picked last were the ones that were seen as not as athletic or not as good.

And so I think it takes us back to that mentality of, what does it mean about me if I’m not chosen? If I meet the qualifications and I’m not chosen, what does that mean about me? It means I’m not good enough. Someone else is better than me. But that’s really not true at all. So how you know this is true is I want you to just think about your experience moving into different positions and also what you’ve heard from colleagues and what you know to be true of the process. So people get moved into positions for a lot of different reasons. So someone could have been chosen over you because they’re a better culture fit, because they know the hiring manager, because they had an internal referral. There’s so many different reasons. Maybe they think that you’re too qualified. Maybe they think that you’re going to grow really fast within the position, and they’re not going to have a place for you to grow because it’s too much of a slam dunk to put you in that role. So it could mean the opposite, that you’re too good for the role. So don’t get caught up in what it means about you that you weren’t selected because you want to work for a company where you have that synergy, where you’re going in and you’re like, yes, this is a place that I can grow, I can do this job.

There’s some challenge to it. I want to do it. I’m excited about it. And then the company is like, this person is great. They’re going to be a great addition to the team. That is what you want. If it’s anything less than that on either side, it’s not worth the move. All right. Now, I said I’d share some questions that you can ask in an interview because asking questions is my favorite part. So think about what you really want in a job, the colleagues you want to work with and the environment that you thrive in, and what questions you could ask that will help you know that this is a good fit for you. So remember, people love talking about themselves, too. So I love getting insight from future potential colleagues. So here are some examples of some questions you can ask. What got you into, and then insert this industry, this role, this company, whichever would be most applicable to what you want to hear about. What do you love best about working here? If you could change anything about the culture, what would it be? If you get the job, what do you see as my biggest challenge?

I’ve noticed some negative reviews on Glassdoor about, fill in the blank, are you able to provide any further information on this that would help me understand the culture better? What would be top priorities in the first 30, 60, and 90 days? Why is this role available? Why did the last person leave? What is the organization’s philosophy on employee development or inclusion or LGBTQ+ issues, et cetera? Who do you think is the best competition to the company right now? Who do you think it will be in five years? What does a typical day look like for this role? What is your management leadership style? So these are a number of examples that you can use. And the goal isn’t to ask one person all of these questions. But when you have, I think there’s 10, 12 questions that I just said, when you have those available, then let’s say you’re interviewing with a number of different people, you can ask them each a couple of different questions, and you’re not asking the same question to every person. And it’s going to give you a bigger, greater perspective on what the company is like and if it’s a good fit for you.

Now, my favorite follow-up question is something like, How do you see me fitting into this role? Or, Do you have any hesitations or uncertainty about my fit for this role or my contributions I could make to the team? Now, asking this can be hard. You might feel a little uncomfortable, but it is important because it forces the person to reflect on whether or not you’re a good fit. And their response could end up having them reflect and talk themselves into hiring you as they reflect on your fit. And if they think that you’re a great fit, then that could be great insight. But where it also can be really helpful is to tell you if there’s something that they’re unsure about or if maybe they misunderstood an answer that you gave. Then you have the opportunity to clear up any misunderstanding before you leave, which would increase your chances of an offer. Because I’ve had this happen with clients. I’ve had this happen with myself years ago, where when you ask that question, they come back and say, Oh, well, I think you’d be really great because X, Y, Z. The only gap I really see is in this one area.

And then that gives you an opportunity to say, Oh, I actually have experience in that area. Or, Let me address how I would meet that need. Instead, if you don’t ask that question, what happens is they go back to calibrate on the interview, and that is going to come up in that calibration process. Then they’re going to start talking, Oh, yeah, but this person doesn’t have this experience or doesn’t know how to handle this problem where if you had addressed that in the interview by asking that question, it takes that obstacle away. So that’s my secret tip for you. So remember, interviewing can be stressful and hard, but it doesn’t have to be. You are capable, qualified, and amazing, regardless of whether or not you get the offer. If you’re interviewing because you just need a job, that’s okay. But don’t let desperation rule your decisions. When you show up as you and be yourself, you’ll feel more comfortable. And when you get the job, you were hired for it, you’re going to be more you, right? If you’re showing up to the interview as you, not trying to be someone else or who you think they want you to be, then when you get hired, if you do, You know that it’s a good culture fit.

You know that they want you for you. You can be yourself, and that’s going to set you up for success instead of trying to be someone that you’re not from the very beginning. So remember, when you go into the interview, that you are interviewing them, too, because this will also help remove some of the pressure. So come back to this episode as often as you need as you navigate the interview process. I know I provided a lot of information, a lot of questions, and a lot of strategy in this episode. And so if you’re not interviewing right now and you are interviewing a month from now, six months from now, a year from now, remember to come back to this so that it can really help you when you need it or share it with a friend who is interviewing right now so that they can get the help that they need. Until next week. Have a wonderful, wonderful week, and I will talk to you soon.

Hey, the episode is over, but I want to let you in on a secret. There are four hidden ways you can use to advance your career as a woman in Pharma or Biotech that your boss or HR doesn’t want you to know about. These are strategies that are proven to work even after you’ve been told no. Save yourself so much time and advance your career on your terms by downloading the strategies at my website, They’re completely free. Go get them now.

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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