Job Interview Checklist

Preparing for a job interview can be stressful. You might skim books, read articles and surf the Internet in hopes of learning everything you need to know. Luckily, this job interview checklist can help you to be sure you’ve covered all your bases and are truly ready to show your potential employer what you have to offer.

Prepare For the Interview

  • Research the company thoroughly. Learn about its products, services, recent accomplishments and mission statement.

  • Research the industry. Make sure you are up on recent developments and are comfortable using industry-specific jargon and terms.

  • Research the position. Read the job posting, but check other sources as well to learn more about the type of work you might be asked to do.

  • Figure out the logistics of the interview, including the location of the office, the best place to park, what paperwork will be required, what attire is most appropriate, and what type of interview will be conducted. Call to confirm the time and venue.

  • Brainstorm a list of your qualifications and skills, including stories that illustrate each one. Pair your qualifications and stories with those required for the position. If there are gaps in your knowledge or experience, determine how your other traits might compensate.

  • Generate a list of potential interview questions. Write out your responses. Be sure they are detailed and include quantifiable measures of success wherever possible. Don’t memorize your answers, but focus on remembering the main points and speaking candidly.

  • Enlist a friend to conduct a mock interview so you can practice giving responses and answering follow-up questions.

  • Plan an appropriate outfit. Lay it out the night before, making sure it is clean and pressed and that there are no stains, rips or holes. Be sure to inspect your shoes, stockings, jewelry, tie and other accessories.

  • Get a good night’s sleep, and wake up early enough to shower, shave and be prepared to look like a professional. Be sure to use deodorant and toothpaste, but don’t overdo it on the cologne or perfume.

    Prepare For an Emergency

  • Pack an emergency kit including a small sewing kit, extra pantyhose or an extra tie, tissues, a comb, hairpins, hairspray or gel, touchup makeup, spot removing wipes, an umbrella, breath mints, your career portfolio and extra copies of your resume. Plan enough time to arrive at the interview fifteen to twenty minutes early so you can use the restroom and freshen your appearance.

  • Print out a map with good directions to the interview location. Check traffic reports and determine the best route and how much time to allot for the commute. Give yourself plenty of cushion in case you face traffic or other delays.

  • If, despite all your preparations, you are running late, call the company as soon as possible to notify them.

    Prepare For Success

  • Be pleasant and respectful to the receptionist, assistant, interviewer and anyone else you interact with. Greet each person with a smile and a firm handshake, calling them by name. In particular, be sure you know the correct pronunciation of the interviewer’s name before you meet them in person.

  • Once you are offered a chair, sit up straight, look alert and interested and don’t fidget. Keep your hand gestures small and avoid distracting movements. Make eye contact with the interviewer frequently.

  • Speak with confidence, but don’t be cocky or overly aggressive. Use a strong voice and clear enunciation. Mirror the conversational tone of the interviewer, always being slightly more formal than they are. Avoid pause words such as “like”, “um” and “you know”, and don’t use slang or poor grammar.

  • Keep your responses positive, focusing on your abilities and what you can contribute to the company. Don’t trash talk former employers or coworkers, or complain about the economy or the job search process.

  • Answer questions truthfully and briefly, but avoid “yes” or “no” answers. Elaborate on each response with an example that showcases your talents.

  • Ask questions that highlight your background knowledge on the company and the position and show your interest in working there. Ask about the job requirements, the team and the company culture. Don’t ask about salary or benefits in the first interview.

  • Write a thank-you letter to each person who interviewed or assisted you.

    It is said that luck favors the prepared. By completing the items on this job interview checklist you won’t need any luck; your preparation will speak for you.

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