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What are the six P’s of an interview?

When preparing for a job interview, it is important to consider the six P’s – preparation, presentation, personality, probing, positioning, and practice. Mastering the six P’s will help ensure you make a great impression during the interview process.


Thorough preparation is essential for interview success. Here are some key ways to prepare:

  • Research the company, products/services, competitors, industry trends, and recent news. This will help you understand the company’s goals and needs.
  • Review the job description and highlight key requirements. Prepare examples of how you meet each requirement.
  • Know your resume well and be prepared to expand on any points. Reflect on key achievements, projects, responsibilities, and skills.
  • Practice articulating your experience, knowledge, skills, motivation, and personality traits as they relate to the role.
  • Prepare intelligent questions to ask the interviewer to show your interest in and understanding of the company.
  • Gather information about your interviewers such as names, titles, and bios. Understanding who you will meet with is invaluable.
  • Plan your schedule to ensure you arrive 10-15 minutes early. Identify the interview location in advance.
  • Assemble professional interview attire that fits well and is neatly pressed. Remember that first impressions matter.

Thorough preparation demonstrates commitment to the interview and will help you feel confident and relaxed.


In addition to your experience and qualifications, the interviewer is evaluating your presentation and professionalism. Here are some presentation tips:

  • Dress professionally in clean, wrinkle-free attire. Avoid distracting accessories and strong perfume/cologne.
  • Make steady eye contact and have a confident handshake and posture.
  • Smile and have a positive attitude. Be warm, enthusiastic and engaged.
  • Listen attentively without interrupting. Take your time to think before you respond.
  • Keep responses concise yet descriptive. Provide specific examples when possible.
  • Speak clearly and avoid filler words like “um” and “uh”.
  • Avoid negative body language like fidgeting, slouching, crossing arms, etc.
  • Bring extra copies of your resume, reference list, work samples or portfolio if applicable.
  • Have intelligent, well-researched questions ready to ask at the end.
  • Thank the interviewer for their time and consideration.

A polished, professional presentation makes a strong first impression and reflects well on your communication abilities.


While qualifications are most important, personality plays a role in determining overall fit and likability. Some tips for showcasing your best personality traits:

  • Be authentic – open up and respond based on your true opinions, values, and experiences.
  • Convey confidence by believing in your value and abilities.
  • Showcase your curiosity by asking engaging questions about the company and role.
  • Demonstrate ambition by sharing career goals and interest in growth opportunities.
  • Highlight passion by explaining what motivates you and what you find meaningful.
  • Express your creativity by providing innovative ideas and solutions.
  • Share your principles by discussing how ethics and values influence your work.
  • Convey positivity through upbeat energy, optimism, and enthusiasm.
  • Build rapport through friendly small talk and expressing interest in others.
  • Use humor appropriately to come across as approachable and genuine.

Revealing your personality allows the interviewer to envision how you would fit into the company culture and interact with coworkers.


Smart probing involves asking thoughtful questions to gain insights and determine fit. Here are some examples:

  • “What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this position?”
  • “How would you describe the working environment and culture?”
  • “What are the key skills and attributes you are looking for in an ideal candidate?”
  • “What are some of the challenges facing the department/company right now?”
  • “Where do you see the greatest opportunities for growth and advancement?”
  • “What are some of the objectives and goals you’d like someone in this role to accomplish?”
  • “What types of training, mentorship, or professional development opportunities are offered?”
  • “What attracted you to this company and what do you enjoy most about working here?”
  • “How does this role contribute to the organization’s mission and goals?”
  • “What potential is there for this role to evolve as the company grows?”

Probing shows your engagement and interest in the opportunity. The insights will also help determine if it aligns with your goals and preferences.


Positioning involves conveying why you are an excellent match for the role through your skills, experience, and interests. Some tips:

  • Align your background with the role requirements by highlighting relevant accomplishments.
  • Emphasize transferable skills from past positions or education.
  • Tailor your responses using words from the job description.
  • Explain why you are passionate about the company’s mission and industry.
  • Discuss how your long-term goals align with the opportunity.
  • Provide examples of times you solved similar problems or added value in related roles.
  • Reference specific qualifications listed in the job ad and how you meet them.
  • Mention any connections you have to the company through shared contacts or affiliations.
  • Share interests and experiences relevant to the company culture.
  • Highlight achievements that make you stand out from other applicants.

Convincing the interviewer that you are a great match is key to moving ahead in the hiring process.


Interview skills improve dramatically with practice. Here are practice tips:

  • Conduct mock interviews with professional contacts, friends or mentors.
  • Practice responding to common interview questions out loud, not just in your head.
  • Use online resources like Big Interview to practice responding to thousands of potential questions.
  • Record yourself in practice interviews to critique body language, eye contact, clarity, conciseness, etc.
  • Research typical questions for your level and industry. Practice articulating clear, concise responses.
  • Practice interviewing with similar time constraints to build experience thinking on your feet.
  • Prepare stories of professional accomplishments with a problem, action, result structure.
  • Stage an in-person practice interview with similar attire and materials to create realism.
  • Evaluate your handshake, poise, smile and posture by practicing in front of a mirror.
  • Practice asking probing, intelligent questions to get comfortable driving the interview.

Preparation meets opportunity. Practice until your responses come across as polished and natural.


Mastering the six P’s of interview preparation will significantly increase your chances of landing the job. Be diligent about researching the role and company, making a strong presentation, showcasing a winning personality, probing for insights, convincing the interviewer you are an excellent match, and practicing responses until you can confidently shine in the interview spotlight.