You’ve given a wonderful employer your résumé, spoken with a recruiter, and scheduled the first interview date. But in the days before the big interview, you’re experiencing extreme anxiety, jitters, and fear.
Take a deep breath, grab a notepad, and work your way through our interview preparation checklist if you’re feeling anxious about an upcoming interview. In no time, you’ll be experiencing a bit less anxiety and a lot more confidence.
Pre-Interview Preparation Checklist
The preparation you do in advance of the interview can truly make what would typically be a stressful event more pleasant. Yes, you could “wing it” and respond to inquiries as they arise. However, nothing will impress a potential employer more than demonstrating that you completed your research. It’s a good idea to research the organization and examine your own work habits when preparing for interview questions.
An interviewer has a lot of downtime during the process. In interviews, impact words tend to pique the attention of interviewers almost immediately. Therefore, in our spoken English Classes and interview preparation classes, we emphasise these impact keywords.
1. Print multiple copies of your resume.
You could need to meet with several members of management for some interviews, and you might wish to have one on hand as you discuss previous experiences. If you can, print at least five copies of your CV on good paper.
2. Prepare a portfolio of your past work.
Gather your best work into one portfolio to present to the hiring team if the role needs you to submit samples of your prior work, such as images, successful marketing campaigns, graphic designs, or written pieces.
3. Review common interview questions.
Make a list of often-asked questions so you can start coming up with thoughtful responses. You may feel less nervous about the interview process if you have some generic talking points for the often-requested interview questions.
Even if the interviewer doesn’t ask a question you’ve prepared for specifically, they will probably ask something similar. For instance, instead of asking “Why should we hire you?” the interviewer can respond, “Tell us what makes you different from our other prospects.”
Here are a few of the most typical inquiries asked during interviews:
- Why do you want to work for us?
- What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
- Why should we hire you?
- Tell me about a time that you solved a problem at work.
- Why are you leaving your current position?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What’s your biggest accomplishment?
- What’s something your current supervisor would say you could improve on?
- What is your leadership style?
- What would you plan to accomplish in your first 3 months here?
Also Read- 12 Powerful Words to Use When Interviewing
4. Practice answering interview questions out loud.
You can now begin sketching responses after compiling a list of frequently asked interview questions. Make notes for each question you think of, and after you have everything on paper, begin rehearsing your responses aloud.
In front of a mirror, recite the answers while sitting. In order to avoid rambling in the actual interview, you should make your answers crystal clear, succinct, and to the point.
5. Try having a mock interview for extra practice.
A good technique to hone your interviewing abilities is to simulate a job interview with a roommate or friend. The person conducting the mock interview may be able to offer you comments on how to strengthen your responses or go deeper into particular questions.
6. Spend time researching the company.
Being unprepared for an interview, such as not knowing what the firm does or who the CEO is, can be embarrassing. At the very least, you should be knowledgeable about the company’s offerings, ownership, target market, and top rivals.
In order to stay current on the firm’s latest advancements, it’s a good idea to look up any recent press releases about it. You can also follow the company on social media to get a sense of its tone, voice, and major efforts.
7. Create a list of your accomplishments.
The main goal of the interview is to demonstrate your abilities and capabilities in order to land a new position. However, it’s simple to forget some of the amazing tasks you’ve finished or issues you’ve handled over your career while you’re anxious. Make a list of some of your greatest professional accomplishments to discuss with the interviewer.
8. Prepare questions to ask your interviewer.
Asking the interviewer smart questions demonstrates that you have done your research and are interested in the business. Furthermore, the interview is a two-way process. You should do your homework to ensure that the company and the position are a good fit for you, just as the firm wants to ensure that you are the appropriate fit for the job.
Here are some inquiries to make regarding the job, the interviewer, the workplace environment, and the business as a whole:
- What does a typical day in this position look like?
- What are the biggest challenges in this role?
- What do the training and evaluation processes look like for this role?
- Why is the person previously in this position leaving?
- What do you hope to see the person who takes this position accomplish in the first three months, six months, and first year?
- Why did you come to this company, and what is your favorite part of working here?
- What are some of the company’s short- and long-term goals, and how would the person in this role help in reaching those targets?
- Can you tell me more about the team I’d be working with? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the team or department?
- How would you describe the work environment here?
- What are the next steps in the hiring process?
Also Read- How to Prepare for Professional Interview – Tips and Tricks
Interview Preparation Checklist
Today is the interview day. You’ve been practicing questions and answers in your brain for days, and you’re just hours away from entering the firm building through the front door. You have copies of your portfolio and résumé next to your vehicle keys or bus pass. Observe these guidelines both before and during the interview.
1. Dress the part
In general, you should dress in comfortable, flattering clothing. On your preferred interview attire, fix any holes, treat stains, and pet hair with lint rollers.
Here are some tips for what to wear depending on the firm’s dress code. What you wear to the interview may vary depending on the job and company.
- Casual: Dark jeans, trousers, long skirts, or dresses are also acceptable, as are button-down shirts, blouses, cardigans, graphic-free tops, and clean, closed-toe shoes.
- Business Casual: Dark slacks or long skirts; button-down tops, blazers; neat, closed-toe shoes.
- Formal: Dark suits with slacks or long skirts; dark, tailored dresses; a tie with suits; neat, closed-toe shoes.
2. Arrive on time (or early)
Arriving late for an interview can give the wrong impression. Plan to arrive 10 to 20 minutes early to allow for finding the facility, parking, and front-desk check-in. Consider the traffic as well because your 9 a.m. interview requires you to drive through rush hour in the morning. If you usually take public transportation, have a backup plan in case the train or bus is running late that day, such as biking, walking, or arranging a ride from a friend.
Make sure to map out the building’s location if you haven’t been there before to prevent getting lost. If you struggle to follow directions, you may want to practice the drive once or twice in the days leading up to the interview.
3. Bring paper and something to write with
Making notes demonstrates your interest in what is being spoken to you by the interviewer. But it also implies that, if you are given the position, you can look over your notes for advantages and disadvantages.
Additionally, when it’s your moment to ask questions, you can refer back to any points the interviewer mentioned earlier in the consultation and request additional details or clarification.
4. Have cash on hand for parking
Some businesses provide their customer’s valet services or paid parking facilities. Don’t assume they will validate the parking ticket for you even though they might. Just in case you need it, bring $20 or so in cash. If you don’t require the money, treat yourself to lunch after the interview!
5. Be personable and courteous
Your prospective co-workers might be anyone you encounter, from the interviewer to those in the parking garage. Input on how you interacted with them during the employment process may also be requested. Greet everyone you pass with a smile and a wave. Being kind to others never does any harm!
6. Remain honest and take breaks as needed
If you make up the information for your resume or interview, it will become obvious when you’re working for the company. Answer questions truthfully, and don’t be afraid to pause if you’re unsure of the best way to react right away.
Just say, “wonderful question. Let me give this some thought for a while.” Since we are all only human, pausing before answering a question attentively is a perfectly normal reaction.
7. Use the STAR method
Even the most difficult interview questions can be answered with the STAR approach. Situational interview questions are used to assess your response to various problems. The STAR approach allows you to clearly and completely explain your reasoning and solution while addressing numerous aspects of a problem.
- Situational: Describe the situation or issue
- Task: Explain what your tasks or responsibilities were related to the situation.
- Action: Share what actions you took to complete your tasks and address the situation.
- Results: Outline how your actions resolved the issue or what results came from your actions.
8. Stay focused and positive
Although conducting interviews might be nerve-wracking and stressful, staying upbeat and optimistic can greatly improve your performance. You can be questioned about your reasons for quitting your job or how you performed under different leadership philosophies used by your former supervisors. Speaking negatively of the organization and former leaders can give your interviewer the wrong impression.
Don’t be negative in your responses; instead, focus on providing each question with anecdotes from your experience. When preparing for an interview, it can be helpful to practice your replies.
Post-Interview Preparation Checklist
You shouldn’t assume the interview is over just because you shook your interviewer(s)’ hands and exhaled deeply. Obviously, you might be called back for a second, third, or even fourth interview, but regardless of where you are in the process, it’s critical to make a positive impression.
1. Ask about the next steps
You should inquire about the timetable for the following parts of the employment process either at the conclusion of the interview or right away after. This will allow you to know when to expect a response from the business. A test of editing, additional work examples, or a second interview might be required.
2. Follow up with a Thank You
Always send a thank-you note after an interview. To demonstrate your thoughtfulness and attention to detail, it is advisable to include a handwritten letter. But if you don’t have the time, sending an email is also a considerate approach to express your gratitude for the interviewer’s concern and time.
If you don’t have the interviewer’s email address, you can also send a thank-you note through email to the recruiter or other point of contact.
Also read: 10 most common interview questions and their answers.