Preparing For Your Interview

Positive Banker

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Being organized and prepared for your interview is one of the main keys to securing a job.  As you prepare for your interview you need to know information such as who is the hiring manager, who is on the search committee, and who can influence the hiring process.  This type of information is important so you can be strategic in your approach.

Interviewing is both an art and a science.  It is a science in that there are techniques you can use that will give you an advantage in the job search process.  It is an art, however, in how you utilize these techniques.  Together, the use of these techniques and how you execute them will determine how successful you are in the interview process.

To help you with your job search preparations, I have created a worksheet that is entitled “The Pre-Interview Research Form.”  This worksheet is designed to help you research and uncover important information about the position you are interviewing for, about the organization, and about the search committee.  It includes having you answer questions such as:

*Who is the hiring manager and what is his/her title?

*Who is on the search committee and what are their titles?

*Who has influence with the hiring manager?

*What are the major issues facing the organization?

*What are the strengths of the organization?

*What are their weaknesses?

*Who will make the hiring decision?

*What are the concerns of the search committee members about you as a candidate?

*Do you know anyone who knows people on the committee?

*Who else are they interviewing?

As you complete the worksheet, you will begin to identify crucial pieces of information such as who the hiring manager is and also their contact information. Then you will continue by identifying the members of the search committee and their association with the athletic department.  Once this information is gathered, you will attempt to connect any dots between the search committee members and your contacts. 

The information you uncover is vitally important in helping you to prepare the answers to various questions you will be asked during your interview.  Your findings will help you to form a connection with members of the search committee and help you to be able to ask probing questions during your interview.  The information you gather from these probing questions can then be used during the follow-up phase in an attempt to influence the committee’s hiring decision.

Once you gather the information you need, you will be prepared to ace your interview.  You will know exactly what they were looking for in a candidate, and how you should answer the interview questions in a way that shows you understand the challenges that face the organization.  You will also know when the other candidates are interviewing and be able to adjust your follow-up correspondence so your follow-up has the maximum impact and influence.

Like most endeavors, preparation is a major determinant to having a great interview and securing the job.  Ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is best prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job search process.  This includes being organized and prepared for your interview.  In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS!


Howard Gauthier is a Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University.  He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach.  He is also an author of 9 books. Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 3rd Edition at, or his new book, The Positive Leader at

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