The Secret to Getting Any Job You Want? A Pre-Interview Project

Do not let job descriptions and even necessities stand in your manner. Time to take cost of your individual profession future.

Just a few years in the past, Raghav Haran posted a superb article on Medium about how he’s been employed repeatedly by following his personal recommendation. Initially, it might appear braggadocious, however it seems, we actually agree with the methodology Haran’s selling. It could possibly be as a result of we’re profession optimists, and consider everybody can remake themselves… or possibly it is as a result of it simply makes a lot sense. This is the deal:

Most individuals can simply establish the place they need to be, i.e. what their finish aim is: “I need to be a advertising government for Firm X.” “I want to work in product administration for Tech Agency Z.” But it surely’s a lot trickier mapping out the right way to get there. 

The most important takeaway from Haran’s article is that we must always focus much less on job title and when searching, and as an alternative pay extra consideration to what we are able to do in the specified function. What do we need to accomplish inside the function? What can we offer for an organization/initiative/thought? In a way, Haran’s encouraging us to run our personal present. And that is how:


You shouldn’t let the listed for a place decide whether or not or to not apply; in spite of everything, the worst that’s going to occur is that they’ll say, “No, thanks.” Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Haran aptly factors out that whilst you shouldn’t be reaching for senior-level positions once you’re freshly out of faculty, making use of for a place that “requires” Three-Four years of expertise, once you solely have one, shouldn’t hinder you.

I’d like so as to add—job candidates shouldn’t be afraid to take a step down with the intention to understand bigger objectives. There’s no disgrace in transferring into one other place that pays much less (that is provided that it is financially potential for you) should you can achieve extra related expertise, or if it is actually what you are obsessed with. 

Do not be afraid to show down a “protected” job after you have graduated in favor of an internship, or a much less secure place with room to develop, if it’s straight relevant and can educate you obligatory expertise. There are additionally moments when you would possibly have to stroll away from stability, however that is the beauty of being younger—it is a super time to take dangers. Typically taking a step backward is your finest manner ahead.

You shouldn’t let the listed for a place decide whether or not or to not apply. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.


Haran’s major argument is that your on-paper credentials or expertise shouldn’t be the linchpin of your software. His thesis: “When you can show to [the potential employer] which you can resolve their downside, you immediately decommoditize your self, and none of these issues on paper matter as a lot.” You need to present your future employers that you are able to do the job earlier than you have the job, which is the timeworn catch-22 that none of us needs to cope with. However right here’s the place the actual magic begins: the “pre-interview mission.”

The “pre-interview mission” includes taking an in-depth have a look at a sure side or department-related subject of the corporate you need to be a part of. The logic goes: should you can efficiently and tactfully suggest an answer, you have confirmed your self to be distinctive, good, and hardworking, whereas additionally setting your self other than the ocean of different candidates. You may have probably already employed the same tactic to show you are certified—possibly you began your individual weblog, took an internship, attended a convention, and so forth. Haran proposes a extra formal iteration of this concept with a research-based, or associated, mission to take advantage of an organization’s potential shortcoming to your profit.  


  1. After selecting Three-5 positions you’d like to land (once more don’t focus too closely on the listed credentials), define what these positions ask for. Realizing your day-to-day duties will enable you to “know precisely what the proper pre-interview mission ought to be.” 
  2. Create a pre-interview mission—examples embody pitching just a few corporations on partnering with the corporate you’d like to hitch, then introducing the enterprise improvement groups to at least one one other. For product improvement, you would run usability exams on their merchandise, doc your outcomes, and formulate design strategies in knowledgeable PowerPoint or report. When you’re desirous about becoming a member of a style model or advertising agency, create a temper board for the subsequent season, or an overview for a marketing campaign for one of many firm’s shoppers. Make it your individual. 
  3. Ship in your mission to the suitable particular person. If it’s a smaller firm, you can probably discover the division head’s electronic mail, and even the CEO’s, on their web site. If it’s for an even bigger firm, Haran suggests ready till you may have an interview to conduct and ship in your mission. However if you’re actually dedicated to the place, do some snooping or ask round in your skilled or private contacts for a reputation. On the very least, you’ll have one thing thrilling to speak about when you land the interview.

No matter you do to organize for an interview, be sure you benefit from the course of. When you contemplate this to be an excessive amount of work for the payoff, then you’re most likely trying within the mistaken course. The job you apply for ought to make you need to go the additional mile. Now go forth, get inventive, and resolve some issues! Oh, and do not forget to shine your resume and embody your pre-interview mission.

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