No matter if it is your first or your twentieth job interview, they all require time and focus. There are a number of steps you can take before the interview to make sure that you make a great impression on your potential future employer.
A study shows that most applicants spend up to seven hours researching the company before the interview. The study also says that over 50% of the candidates also research their interviewer. Over 70% of those surveyed practice their responses out loud and about 60% prepare anecdotes that they want to share with the interviewer.
In this post, we will show you how to research the company, prepare and practice interview questions, dress for the interview, and so much more in a form of an interview checklist, to make it easier for you to follow.
Here are the 10 steps you should follow to make sure your interview experience is a successful one.
- Take your time and research everything
- Form your own interview questions
- Practice your answers out loud
- Prepare questions for the interviewer
- Study the job description
- Dress professionally
- Address all your mental and physical needs
- Be your true and your best self
- Document your experience after the interview
- Thank the interviewer after the interview
1. Take your time and research everything
The first and most likely the most important task on the interview checklist is to take enough time to do proper research about the company and the job you are applying to. By taking your time and doing proper research will show interviewers that you are actually interested in getting hired by the company.
The easiest way to do proper research on the company is to visit their website and social media pages and get as much information as you can. Read up on the history of the company, familiarize yourself with the services and products they offer and make sure you check the bios of key stakeholders and the people that will be interviewing you.
Also, make sure you use LinkedIn and other social media to cross-reference your information. The more you know, the better impression you will make on your interviewers. Also, make sure that you research the job you are applying to so that you are sure that the If you’re applying for a job that you need more experience with, research information related to that role so you can better answer questions.
2. Form your own interview questions
The second step on the interview checklist also takes a bit of research but it will be well worth it in the end as it helps increase your confidence during the interview.
Make sure you find the most common interview questions in your field. You can do that either by researching online or by asking some of the contacts in your network what questions they may remember answering during one of their interviews.
Once you have all the information, you can easily start creating your own questions and help familiarize yourself with the interview. There is a great chance that you will end up getting asked similar or even the same questions during your interview.
3. Practice your answers out loud
Now that you have written down the questions you are likely to get asked during your interview, you can now move forward with practicing your responses to them.
This is also a great practice in public speaking. The best way to practice your answers out loud is by trying to imitate the interview as closely as you can. Sit down and speak out loud the answers to the questions. If you can, get someone to help you out make the experience more realistic.
Having someone that is sitting across from you and asking the questions you have prepared can help the practice feel more authentic, which is the actual point of this exercise.
4. Prepare questions for the interviewer
In the last few years, it has become quite common for interviewers to ask candidates if they have any questions for them, usually at the end of an interview.
Instead of saying that you think that you have covered everything, make sure you prepare a list of at least three questions about the job, the team, or the company you will be working in if you get the job. This will show the interviewer that you are truly interested in working for the company and this is not just another interview for you.
5. Thoroughly study the job description
Even though it is more likely you have read the job description a few times, you probably have not given it much thought.
Make sure to give it another look to better understand the skills that are needed for the job. Also, try to objectively assess the experience you have that could be useful for the new job and that could help you contribute to the company.
You could even plan out how to present your strengths and weaknesses because employees will often ask candidates about some of their personal challenges.
Even if you do not get asked this question, being prepared is much better than having to think of an answer to such a complex question on the spot. If the job requires certain experience or concepts you are unfamiliar with, it is better if you have prepared an answer and can explain how you plan to overcome your inexperience.
6. Dress professionally for the interview
Make sure that you have at least one or two outfits ready when you are interviewing. This step on the interview checklist will help you eliminate any unnecessary stress or anxiety before your interview.
It would be better if you could find out about the company’s dress code to get even better for their culture and be even more prepared for the interview.
A safe bet is usually a business casual outfit in a natural color palette such as gray, tan, navy, or black. Once you have chosen your two outfits, make sure that all the items are cleaned, ironed, and without any stains or pet hair.
7. Address all your mental and physical needs
You also need to make sure that you are walking into the interview feeling your best. To do this, take care of any of your needs, both mental and physical, that may distract you during the interview.
Make sure you eat a healthy high protein and low sugar meal before your interview to give your body the energy it will need. Also, you need to get enough sleep before your interview, so that you wake up feeling rested, energized, and ready for the day.
Consider meditating to calm your nerves before your interview, if you have a history of feeling anxious before important events.
8. Be your true and your best self
By being actively engaged during the interview shows the interviewer that you are truly excited by the prospect of getting that new job. You need to make a conscious effort to smile when greeting the people interviewing you and also during the interview.
You also need to speak clearly during your interview and give everyone a firm handshake once you greet them at the start. All companies are looking to hire people that are competent and confident. Make sure that you pay attention to your body language and how you communicate with the interviewer if you want your experience to be a positive one.
9. Document your experience after the interview
Interviews are also a learning process. Even if you do not end up getting the job, you can still learn a lot from the experience. Make sure you note down how the experience went.
It will help you understand what worked well during the interview as well as what areas of the interview felt a bit unnatural to you.
Write down as much information as you can remember about the interview questions so that you can practice answering those questions that you have struggled with even if you get the job. By doing this, you will boost your confidence for the next time you go to an interview.
10. Thank the interviewer after the interview
Few days after the interview make sure you contact the hiring manager or the interviewer and thank them for the opportunity and the time they have taken out of their day to meet with you.
Send a sincere email to all the people that have interviewed you and that were involved in the interview process.
It will make the experience more memorable for them, as your sincere message will stand out and show how much you truly care about getting hired.
Interviews are not easy, and preparing for them will take time. Because of this, you need to give yourself the time to prepare, as it is an essential part of the process, a part that should never be overlooked.
Make sure you follow this interview checklist to be on the right path towards landing that job you always wanted.
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