Pre-Interview Checklist

Getting ready for your scheduled interview

Sometimes it's the little things that cause big problems. A little extra planning and preparation can go a long way toward helping assure you have the best possible interview. The following are ideas and hints that can be used to be sure you are ready for an upcoming interview. You can download this checklist from the Downloads menu.

Pre-Interview Preparation

A Day or So Before the Interview

Prepare Your Personal Marketing Plan

  • Re-read the sections in the eBook on interviewing to refresh your perspective.

  • Research the company or organization, its competitors, industry trends, etc.

  • On a piece of paper or PC, create two columns. Jot down the keywords or duties from the job description or ad in the first column, and your matching skills and accomplishments in the other. Then practice how you would respond to interview questions on these topics.

  • Plan your response to a generalized question such as "Tell me about yourself." Prepare a 30 to 60-second response that focuses on your experience and accomplishments as they relate to the job you are applying for.

  • Think about past successes you have had in your career that would relate to the job you are applying for. Be prepared to talk about those successes and how you would apply them to the new job.

  • Create a list of 5 - 10 questions you may want to ask the interviewer at the close of the interview. Additional questions may come to mind as the interview progresses.

Plan for a Positive First Impression

  • Are the clothes you plan to wear clean, pressed, and appropriate for the type of job?

  • Are your shoes in good shape and, if appropriate, polished?

  • Do you need a haircut or trim?

  • Are your fingernails clean and trimmed?

  • Do you have dependable transportation and enough gasoline?

  • Do you know where to go and who you will see for the interview?

The Day of the Interview

Things to take with you

  • If needed, driving directions and information on where to park.

  • Name, phone number, and location of the interviewer.

  • Extra cash and change for parking meters, coffee, lunch, etc.

  • Extra copies of your resume and cover letter.

  • A list of professional and personal references, if requested.

  • Dates of attendance and addresses of schools attended, if needed on an employment application form.

  • A watch or cell phone to tell time.

  • A pen and/or pencil, and writing pad.

  • If you take a cell phone or pager, be sure they are turned off during the interview.

  • Handkerchief or tissue (handy for small spills or a sneeze).

  • Identification, e.g., drivers license, which may be required by some companies for worksite access.

Additional Things to Consider and Review

  • Make a final review of your resume so you have a fresh perspective of what the interviewer will be looking at and the questions they might ask.

  • Re-read the advertisement or job description and make a mental note of keywords describing the requirements of the job. Review your list of matching skills and accomplishments.

  • Check out the Job Interview Tips and Quick Hits in the Tools menu. Review sections of the Jump Start where a refresher would be helpful.

  • From the Interview Trainer, review the questions you think are most likely to be asked.

  • Review the list of Frequently Asked Interview Questions and plan a response to each one.

  • Think about how you will incorporate the job description's keywords into your interview responses.

  • Review any areas of your resume that might be negative and think about how you would respond.

  • Think about one or two things you want to be remembered for and make a mental note to be sure you emphasize them.

  • Review the list of questions you may want to ask the interviewer.

  • Remember the importance of presenting a positive first impression to everyone you encounter.

  • Consider how you will respond to questions about salary and know what salary level will be acceptable to you.

  • Plan your schedule to arrive early and prepare for any contingencies, such as traffic, etc., and budget enough time in case the interview process takes longer than expected.

  • Keep a positive attitude and reflect it in the way you present yourself.

At the Close of the Interview

  • Ask for the interviewer's business card so you can send a thank you note.

  • Later that day, write down your impressions ... what went well and what could have gone better. This information will help you improve your interview techniques.

  • Within a day, write a follow-up letter thanking the interviewer for taking time to talk with you. You can reiterate any of your key qualities that should be emphasized and include information you my have left out of the interview. However, keep the letter brief and to the point. Finally, express your continued in interest in the job opening.

  • Follow up periodically to see where things are in the recruitment process and to inquire about your standing. You want to show continued interest, but don't be overly aggressive to the point of irritating the interviewer.

Finally, remember to keep a positive outlook. If you enter the job interview feeling upbeat and excited about your prospects for employment, this attitude will be noticed and will give you a head start in impressing the interviewer.

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