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Job interviews can be intense and nerve-wracking, but they’re an essential hoop to jump through before you can get the job you really want.
It’s very reasonable to be apprehensive or to doubt yourself. People’s most significant interview fears usually center around turning up late, wardrobe malfunctions, saying the wrong thing, or drawing a blank at a crucial moment.
But this pre-interview checklist will keep you organized, on time, and ready for pretty much any question they can throw at you!
1. Thoroughly research the company and role
Even the best candidates look underprepared if they can’t answer some basic questions about the company.
Thankfully, a quick look over the company’s website and social media channels should tell you when the company was established and why, what they do, who their customers and clients are, and what the company culture is like.
It’s also helpful to reread the job description, so you’ll be ready for any questions about the specific role’s duties and responsibilities.
2. Prepare for some typical interview questions
Interviewers like to ask questions that get to the bottom of your strengths and weaknesses. Typical questions will focus on how you deal with stress, work with other people, your biggest successes and failures, and even what kind of animal you’d be!
If you’re worried about drawing a blank, consider your answers to commonly asked interview questions now. That way, you’ll be able to answer concisely and intelligently in the moment.
3. Prepare some relevant questions
The end of the interview is usually your time to fill in any blanks and show the interviewer how interested you are in the role.
Having no questions to ask can make you look disengaged, so it’s essential to have at least one in your back pocket. Two or three is even better.
Questions focused on the nature of the job, the team you’ll be working in, and the employers’ expectations will always go down well. Any decent hiring manager will be happy to answer them.
4. Reread your CV and cover letter
You’ve been invited to interview based on the strength of your application, so the interviewer is likely to have questions about it. You should be able to talk about anything on your CV or cover letter if asked, including previous job roles, any significant achievements, and core skills.
5. Print off an up-to-date copy of your CV
Most interviewers will have your details in front of them. But just in case they haven’t had time to print one-off, bring a few physical copies of your CV along with you. They’ll appreciate your organization!
Check out these free Word resume templates to help you land the interview.
6. Plan the journey
Rushing is a very stressful way to start and arriving late can rule you out of the running instantly. Make sure you know how you’re getting there and how long it’s going to take. It’s always best to arrive slightly early for a job interview, so give yourself a bit of extra time in case there’s a delay, or you get lost.
If you’re using public transport, check the schedule in advance. If you’re driving, check for nearby parking on Google Maps and make sure you have enough change to pay. A parking ticket would ruin even the best job interview!
7. Decide what to wear and make sure it’s ironed!
What you wear to your interview will help the employer form an opinion, whether that’s good or bad! Choose your outfit and iron it the day before. Otherwise, you’ll be rushing around comparing different shoes and shirt colors when you should already be on your way there.
Smart casual is usually the best choice for businesses with a casual dress code. Turning up in a suit can make you seem out of place. However, traditional suits and smart workwear are essential for formal professions like law, accounting, and finance.
Your company research can help you to gauge this, but if you’re unsure, just ask the employer or recruiter in advance.
8. Take a deep breath!
Focus on practicalities on the day of the interview. Eat and drink something about an hour or 30 minutes before, so you’re not distracted by an empty stomach. While you’re waiting to be seen, take some deep breaths and try to keep your mind clear and positive. When they call your name, you’ll be able to walk in feeling confident and ready to impress!
The more prepared and relaxed you are, the more likely you are to avoid mistakes and get a good result. If you feel anxious, give your pre-interview checklist a final once over so you know that you’ve done the best you can to be prepared. Interviews aren’t an exact science, though. Even if you narrowly miss out on the next job, you’ll have more experience and confidence for the next interview.
Over to you
Interviewing for a new job can be intimidating. Knowing that you’ve prepared thoroughly can take the edge off. Using a pre-interview checklist is a great way to ensure you have all your bases covered.
If you’re looking for ways to up the ante, consider brushing up on your public speaking, body language, or leadership skills with our soft skills courses before your interview.
Check out our other helpful resources for specific industries. They’re no crystal ball, but we like to think they’re the next best thing:
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