Your Interview Prep Checklist
When you're getting ready for an interview, there are a lot of things to do, from researching the position to practicing interview questions. If you forget something it could be the difference between a dream job and a missed opportunity.
To ensure you're prepared, we've compiled a checklist of everything you need to remember to ace that crucial meeting. Check each of the boxes, and you'll be ready to go in with confidence, and nail it!
A first, basic step is to make sure you have professional clothing ready to go so you're not frantically searching through your closet on interview day. Take a minute to assess—do you need a haircut? Now's the time to schedule any necessary grooming appointments. Appearance matters: 52 percent of more than 800 recruiters polled by Jobvite said poor hygiene immediately disqualifies an otherwise decent candidate.
In order to perform well you've got to understand the job you’re applying for and how it relates to your current position. You should also gather as much information as you can about the company and the person or people you’re going to be interviewing with. If you will be interviewing with multiple people, it's okay to ask who they are and for schedule times so you can plan ahead. Whenever possible, try to find links between yourself and the people you will be interviewing with. For example, do you have contacts in common? Did you graduate from the same school? Are you both runners? A recent study shows that 29 percent of professionals say they like to choose candidates that are easy to talk to and that they're able to establish a personal connection with.
Develop A Script
Before your interview, brainstorm potential problem questions you think might come up. Do you have a gap in your work experience? Were you fired from your last job? Are your skills not a perfect match for the position? You don’t want to be left red-faced and stammering if something awkward surfaces. Prepare a script so you know exactly how to answer challenging questions if they come up.
Grab a friend and rehearse a mock interview. Have them ask you common questions as well as ones that address the problem areas listed above.
If you want to see how you appear to others, videotape that mock interview. This will allow you to see any issues with body language and help you edit your answers to be more concise.
Concocting answers to possible questions isn't your only task—you'll also need to be ready to ask your own. 41 percent of interviewers polled in a May 2017 LinkedIn online survey of 1,025 professionals said they wanted candidates who had prepared their own well-informed questions. Avoid the obvious—don't ask about something you could easily locate an answer to on the company website. Instead, formulate thoughtful questions based on your research—you'll show the hiring manager you're interested in the company and the role.
Map the path you'll take to the interview to estimate how long it will take to get there and what kind of traffic you can anticipate. Leave early to make you're on time. Nothing sabotages an interview like showing up late. In fact, 58 percent of recruiters in that Jobvite survey said they would automatically disqualify a tardy applicant.
If you're sleep deprived you can't give your best performance. Get a good night's sleep the night before the interview to so you can be sharp and focused.
This checklist is a good starting place, but be certain to add any special considerations you might need to focus on before the interview as well. Remember, nothing helps your performance—and confidence—in a job interview like being prepared.