Job interviews are a vital part in the path to employment. Resumes and job applications only get you so far, but the interview is a chance for you to show your potential employer what you can bring to the position and why you’re the best person for the job. However, they can also be pretty stressful situations. Selling yourself, however qualified you might be, is a difficult task, made harder by the added pressure of the interview environment. You want to take best advantage of the process, make sure you are as prepared as you can be and don’t forget anything important. Here’s a quick checklist of the most important things you need to do before your next job interview.
Research the company.
Thorough research is key to being prepared for your interview. Knowing as much you can about the company you’re hoping to work for gives you an added advantage when you’re in that room. It gives you a better sense of what values and qualities they would look for in members of their team. Read as much as you can about the company, go through their social media pages, if possible, talk to some who works there. All this research means you can go into the interview better prepared to impress.
Find out who is interviewing you.
Along with this research into the company, you should also know who you’ll be meeting in that interview room. Hopefully you’ve had some sort of communication with the interviewer prior to meeting them, however that is not always the case. Don’t be afraid to ask a few questions about how the interview will take place. How many people will be in the room? What are their names and titles within the company? The last thing you want when you walk into the interview room is a surprise.
Prepare your own questions.
Usually at the end of every job interview, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions of your own. For some reason, some interviewees don’t take advantage of this moment. They think asking too many questions makes them seem unsure about the job, or if they have no questions that it makes them seem confident. Employers are expecting you to have questions, and in fact, want you to have questions. It shows your interest in the job, and you desire to be as prepared as possible for the job. Prepare a few questions that you can ask at the appropriate time in the interview.
No matter what job you are interviewing for, you should be bringing a few essential materials with you. You probably have already sent along your resume to the job, and maybe even some examples of past work you have done. But never assume they will have these materials on hand, that’s your responsibility. Be sure to bring along any pertinent materials and make copies of the as well. You may want to leave some of these materials behind, and if not, it’s always good to have a back-up.
Reread the job description.
The job description is the most important tool for having a successful job interview. Employers are not trying to trick you when they write these job descriptions. It’s a clear and concise breakdown of what they are looking for in the position. Study the job description thoroughly and shape your interview strategy around it. Consider your past experience as it relates to qualities they mention in the description. How can you connect your past work with what this company is looking for? Go over every part of the description to ensure you can show why you’re exactly the person they are looking for.
Figure out where you are going.
I’ll tell you a story. I had a job interview years ago and I had done much of the planning and preparation we’ve alluded to here. I was feeling ready and confident and I knew where the interview was. At least I thought I did. Turns out I had the building completely wrong and had to make a scramble just to show up late for the interview. Needless to say, not the best first impression. Don’t make the same mistake. Map out your route to the interview and be sure you know exactly where you are going. If possible, make the trip the day before. And of course, it’s always a good idea to arrive early.
Get some sleep.
You may feel that you need to get as much prep done for the interview as possible and therefore sleep becomes a secondary concern. That is a big mistake to make. You can do all your prep work ahead of time and still allow yourself to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is important to keeping you alert, sharp and ready for the day.
Likewise, eating may not seem like the most important thing at the time but it’s essential to being well-prepared for the interview. Your nerves might have you thinking you aren’t hungry, but force yourself to have a healthy breakfast so you can have the energy and strength to make the best possible impression. You don’t want your belly rumbling in the middle of the interview.