Job interviews may be the most nerve-wracking experiences we all have to go through in our careers. Knowing that one conversation could significantly affect your career can be rather intimidating. However, if you get too caught up in stressing about the interview itself, it can be easy to overlook certain preparations. There are steps you can take to prepare for a job interview that will help you have more control, and stay calm on the day of the interview. To help you stay organized, we’ve put together a handy checklist you can use before any interview! Below we’ve listed the various checklist items, and why they’re so important.
The Week Before:
☑ Download the job description.
Sometimes companies will remove job postings while they are still interviewing candidates. Having the job description to reference is a valuable tool, especially before an interview. Make sure you download it and save it to your computer, so you never have to worry about losing it.
☑ Plan out the commute, and take a test drive if necessary.
If you are even a minute late, some employers will disregard your interview. To plan ahead, time out your commute so you understand what to expect on the drive. If you really want to feel more comfortable with the ride, consider test driving the commute a few days before the interview.
☑ Purchase anything you may need (New suit, portfolio, etc.)
It’s important to be well dressed for your interview. If you need a new suit, now is the time to go out and buy one. Additionally, there are a few things you should always bring to an interview. You should have a notepad, a folder, and a portfolio to bring. It’s possible that a portfolio may work as both a notepad and folder. Either way, make sure you have something to take notes on, and something to keep your resume copies from getting crumpled.
☑ Research the company online.
Doing research ahead of time is imperative to a successful job interview. At the very least, check out the company’s website, and social media. Familiarize yourself with their products and services. This will ensure that you are knowledgeable going into the interview.
☑ Find out who you are meeting with.
While you are doing your research online, try and find out who you will be meeting with. If there is an ‘Our Staff’ section on the website you can check there, or search on LinkedIn. Knowing who you will be meeting with will allow you to come up with more insightful questions for them.
☑ Prepare questions for your interviewer.
Before every interview, you should prepare questions you want answered. Some can be general, but you should have some questions that directly address the position you would be working in. Show that you are seriously interested in the position and the challenge it offers.
☑ Print out copies of your resume and references.
You may be wondering why this isn’t under the ‘day before section’. Have you ever had printer problems before? Waiting until the last possible minute isn’t a good idea with important documents. Print out your resume, references, and anything else you need a few days before the interview. That way, you won’t have to rush to Staples or another print center the night before your interview because your printer ran out of ink.
The Day Before:
☑ Pick out your interview outfit, and wash/iron it if necessary.
Choosing what you wear can be a lengthy process, and time isn’t something you have a lot of the day of your interview. Choose an outfit the night before and stick with it. Also, if you need to iron it or wash it, make sure you do that as well. If you need to get it dry cleaned, make sure you do that a few days ahead of time.
☑ Save the company’s address in your GPS.
Make sure you have the right company address and plug it into your smartphone or GPS. That way, when you are getting ready to leave, all you have to do is select the first address under ‘recent’. It will only save you a few minutes, but it’s one less thing you have to worry about.
☑ Check that your car is fueled up for the drive.
This may seem too obvious to mention, but it’s definitely happened to someone before. You shouldn’t be guessing how far your car can run on ’empty’ the day of your interview. Make sure you have a full or half tank the day before, depending on how far you will be driving.
☑ Gather everything you are going to bring to the interview in one place.
There are a number of things you’re going to want to bring to your interview. Like your resumes, references, questions, portfolio, notepad, and pens. All of those items should be put in the same place that you will easily remember in the morning. You don’t want to be running around the house to find them all in a panic.
☑ Set your alarm and get some sleep.
Possibly the most important point, make sure you budget yourself enough time to sleep the night before. You don’t want to be exhausted sitting in the interview room. It’s hard to be enthusiastic or likable when you are struggling to keep your eyes open. Finally, make sure you set an alarm that will give you enough time to comfortably shower, dress, and get prepared in the morning. Don’t make yourself rush!
That’s it for the checklist! Every job interview is different, but this checklist should put you on the path to success with most. Remembering just a few small preparations will make a big difference on the day of your interview. If you’d like a printer friendly copy of the job interview checklist, you can find it here. We hope this list helps you in your future job interviews!