Know Yourself: These 5 Steps Will Help Prepare for Tough Interview Questions

Know Yourself: These 5 Steps Will Help Prepare for Tough Interview Questions
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Career and transition experts, including those at MOAA, frequently stress the importance of interview preparation – the more you know about your prospective employer, the better chance you have of presenting yourself as a future company success story.


But you’re not the only one doing homework. Whether it’s a large company represented by a hiring officer or a small company represented by the CEO, whoever you sit down with for that interview likely will know much more about you than what’s in your job application.


So while you’re digging into the company’s website, take a break and do some self-reflection. Here are five tips to get started, from MOAA’s resources and other reliable outlets.


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1. Start With a Search. It’s practically a guarantee your prospective employer will plug your name into a web search before you’ve entered the building. It won’t hurt to know what they know: Be ready to explain anything negative, and be ready to translate the topics of any military-related materials – papers, articles, press releases – featured high in the results list into civilianese.


2. Know Your Pain Points. It’s unlikely you spent much time in your application addressing gaps in employment, short stints with employers, or an unrelated college major. But your prospective employer has been to your LinkedIn page and likely has questions. Be sure you have answers.


3. Social Strategy, Part I. Studies dating back almost a decade – when TikTok was only a far-off glimmer in some programmer’s eye – confirm your employer is 90-plus-percent likely to look up your social media presence. Like the pain points mentioned above, be ready to explain away anything that could raise red flags. Better yet, police and delete your content accordingly.

[RELATED: Want a New Job? Maintain Your Personal Digital Brand]


4. Social Strategy, Part II. Many employers are looking for a good cultural fit, with some willing to go to great lengths to find one. When asked about your volunteer activities or hobbies a hiring manager found on social media, be ready to use those findings to your advantage – maybe your work at a nonprofit shows relevant interpersonal skills, or your time as a youth sports official shows an ability to address customer complaints. Be willing and ready to make connections the employer might not see.


5. Where’s Your Network? If you’ve sought advice from established professionals in your industry offline, be sure they’re part of your presence online. Employers check connections – if there’s muscle to your network, flex it.


Need more career and transition advice? Check out, where you can find the latest in transition news, member-exclusive resources, a job board powered by Indeed, and much more.


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About the Author

Kevin Lilley
Kevin Lilley

Lilley serves as MOAA's digital content manager. His duties include producing, editing, and managing content for a variety of platforms, with a concentration on The MOAA Newsletter and Follow him on Twitter: @KRLilley