Market Research Interview Preparation

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At the Quirk’s Event on February 23, Smith Hanley Associates‘ Market Research and Consumer Insights Executive Recruiters, Lindsey Bartlett and Daniel Wilberschied, gave a presentation on Confessions of a Headhunter.  One of the items mentioned in their talk was their Market Research Interview Preparation Sheet.  This blog summarizes the main points of that prep sheet.  Use it to make your next market research interview the best it can be.

There are so many different types of interviews. There is the standard type of talking across the desk, the lunch interview, the panel interview or one that is conducted over the phone. Don’t take this time with human resources or the hiring manager for granted. Here is a sampling of some of the advice on the market research interview preparation sheet.

Experience Questions

These will be based on your tactical experience and how it relates to the position. Accomplishments, project work and relatable industry knowledge are what will be discussed.

  • Be prepared with at least two key accomplishments from your most current position
  • Make sure that your examples are both relevant (to the position, what type of research, etc.) as well as recent (talking strictly about your work in past organizations alerts the hiring team you are out of practice). If you have a good example from a previous position, make sure to caveat it with another example from your latest role.
  • Avoid using “we” when speaking about project examples, as the team is strictly concerned about what you have accomplished specifically. Identify what you do as an individual, and what the team does as separate entities.

Why Questions

These are intellectual questions. Your answers will display how introspective you are, and how interested you are. Your answers should reflect your serious interest in this position and this company. Know WHY for everything.

  • Why are you interested in leaving your current company?
  • Why are you interested in this company and position?
  • Why do you think this could be a match to your skillset?
  • Why are you interested in this location (if relocating)?

Behavioral Questions

Most behavioral questions follow a pattern of response. The interviewer wants to know the situation, how you handled it, what you learned, what you gained from the experience, and how you implemented what you learned. Some organizations follow the STAR pattern (Situation-Task-Action-Result). Make sure to answer the behavioral questions as concisely as possible.


Always be prepared to talk about salary. HR will have a conversation with you about this either in the beginning or towards the end of the process. Every process is different. Don’t let this stress you out! If you have no set expectations and are just looking for a new position with better opportunity then give a range of expectations and let them know you are open and negotiable.  See the Quirk’s Event presentation, Confessions of a Headhunter, for a salary table by title and supplier versus client differences.

Your Questions

Always have too many questions prepared. Not asking questions or not asking enough may come off as a lack of interest. At the end of the day, you don’t have to ask all you have on your list.


  1. Practice your answers OUT LOUD. It develops a different part of your brain and makes it easier and quicker to access this information than sifting through your memory for it when the time comes. It will also make you feel more comfortable saying things you probably never have verbally articulated before.
  2. Rapport is very important. Be positive and smile. Say please and thank you. Make sure to do your research on the people you will be meeting with in case you have anything in common.(university or prior company, conference affiliations, etc.)
  3. ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS. Again, an interview is a time to make a positive impression. It is not a time for you to interview them on whether or not you want the job. There will be time for that later. Don’t run around answers. If you don’t like the response you have to give, still be straight forward and honest. Haven’t worked in that specific program before? That’s okay. They might be trying to find out parameters of your skill set and if you say you can do everything that is the wrong answer. You have no idea why they are asking the questions, so just answer them truthfully and concisely.
  4. Pauses are OK. They show you think before speaking. Take your time when answering questions and give thoughtful responses vs. using filler language to avoid silence.
  5. Dress to impress.
  6. Refrain from tobacco use or perfumes/colognes.
  7. Print out multiple copies of your CV.

Lindsey has additional sections on her Market Research Interview Preparation Sheet talking about your strengths and weaknesses, relocation, how to handle touchy transitions in your career and she expands upon the experience, behavioral and your question sections. Anything position specific can be discussed with Lindsey prior to your first interview.

Want to  take advantage of Market Research Executive Recruiter Lindsey Bartlett’s expertise? Contact her at lbartlett@smithhanley.com.



Here are links to some helpful tips and tricks for your interview process from the Smith Hanley blog:

8 Interview Thank you Note No-no’s

4 Panel Interview No-no’s

8 Summary Statement No-no’s

10 Interview Day No-no’s

8 Interview Thank you Note No-no’s

10 Skype Interview Do’s

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