With all the information out there to get you prepared for your interview, sometimes you just have to get back to the basics. Before you head out the door in hopes of nabbing your next job, here’s a quick list of questions to ask yourself before your next interview.
1. Do I know what I am wearing?
When you look good, you feel good. Make sure you take time to set out what you are wearing to your interview in advance so you can check for stains, holes, tags, etc. Don’t forget to try on your ensemble to make sure it fits properly. If you do all this in advance, you won’t be in a rush, and you can head to your interview with confidence.
2. Have I prepared examples of situations of achievement and conflict in the workplace?
The likelihood of getting asked some form of behavioral interview questions is high. Prepare in advance by reviewing your work experience and selecting a few examples that showcase your strengths and how you overcame your weaknesses. Even better, write them in your notes, in case you get nervous and forget, so you can reference them.
3. Do I have multiple copies of my resume printed and ready?
Never just bring one copy of your resume to the interview. You never know if you may get asked to meet with several more people or you may accidently rip your resume pulling it out of your bag. Be prepared. And make sure it’s printed on a neutral paper and looks professional. Stand out from other applicants by how you can exceed expectations in the job, not by your loud paper choice.
As a side note, make sure you printed the most recent version of your resume and that the information is correct. Reviewing it for accuracy can double as a reminder of your experience so you are not having to read from it during the interview.
4. Do I have a pen and notepad/book/paper?
It’s good to take notes during the interview. Have your notepad and writing instruments ready with your resume. Take 2 or 3 pens/pencils in case one breaks or quits writing. You never want to be in a situation where you have to ask the interviewer for a pen and look unprepared.
5. Have I researched the company, interviewer, etc.
Did you do your proper research on the company and who you are interviewing with? It’s very common to get asked how much you know about the company in the interview and you will be expected to know at least the basics of what you can find online. And often, researching who you will be meeting with can put you at ease, just a little bit, because there is less of the unknown factor walking into the interview.
6. Do I know what makes me the perfect candidate for this position?
Make sure you’ve reviewed the job description and know why you are a perfect candidate. What is it about your experience and background that tells you that you can not only do the job, but excel at it. If you can’t answer these questions for yourself, you won’t be able to demonstrate it to the interviewer.
7. Have I made appropriate transportation arrangements and do I know where I’m going?
Make sure you know where you are going for the interview. Look up the address online and know how long it will take you to get there, and make plans to arrive at least 15 minutes early to give yourself some cushion. If it’s an unknown location to you, I recommend going the day ahead to make sure it’s the right location, and you are familiar with the area.
Know if you will be traveling by car, getting a ride, or taking public transit. And be sure to have a contingency plan should your transportation fall through or if there is bad weather.
8. Do I have a list of prepared questions for the interview?
Nothing shows interest in the position better in the interview than a prepared list of questions for the interviewer. But be sure they are relevant to the job and to the phase of the interview you are in. If you need help, check out our article: Important Interview Questions for Your Potential Employer
9. Do I feel confident and ready?
It’s okay to be nervous, but if you feel really under-prepared or don’t believe you’re going to get the job, those feelings will come across subconsciously in the interview. Don’t let negative thoughts sink in prior to your big day to shine.
Take some time to understand the root of where those thoughts are coming from and counter them with positive reinforcement. Don’t go into the interview filling your head with what you can’t do, but reinforce all the things you are capable of.
10. Do I know what my deal breakers are?
It’s common to get caught up in the excitement of being offered a job and the feeling that a company wants us on their team. But remember, this is a decision that will affect your career trajectory moving forward. Know yourself and what’s important to you in a job as well as what you are capable of putting up with day in and day out.
Be ready to look for red flags and your own comfort with the job that’s being presented. If they’re asking you to put in 60-80 hours a week when you know you can only put in 40, the job probably won’t last that long and you’ll be back on the hunt again.
These are all reminders you are probably aware of, but as an interview approaches we often let the small things slip and forget to cover the basics in the midst of the excitement and promise of a chance at a new job. The best way to get that job is to be prepared.
And when it comes down to the top few candidates, it’s the little things that can be the differentiators–so don’t leave anything up to chance. Ask yourself all the necessary questions you need to, to be ready for your next interview.
Robin L. Rayburn is the Editor & General Manager of Interviewing.com. Robin was introduced to the recruitment industry in 2007 and her passion for people has never let her stray far from it since. In her spare time she manages her blog, RestlessPillow.com, tweets from @interviewingcom and @chitowntexan, and is always striving to help those around her who have a vision for success. You can also find Robin on LinkedIn and Google+.