Your time isn’t unlimited, and you may even be interviewing for more than one job — so where do you put your energy and attention?
This job interview checklist will serve as your guide to preparation and practice. And don’t forget to cross off each item you complete!
Start with Two Attitude Adjustments
It’s very hard to keep a calm and balanced attitude when you have a job interview coming up — but you have to, because you need good mental energy as well as good preparation to do your best.
There are just two items on the attitude portion of your job interview checklist:
Don’t show up trying to be what you think they want. Show up as the best possible version of yourself (whatever that means to you). This post on becoming your Avatar will help.
Remember, you have no control over the outcome of a job interview. Release yourself from trying to make something happen, because you can’t. Just be your best and do your best.
Here’s Your Checklist of What to Prepare and Practice
While it’s not possible to be completely prepared for a job interview (because you can never anticipate everything that might happen), you will be really well prepared if you do the following things:
Practice telling 3 or 4 stories that illustrate an accomplishment, or something important about you. List several questions that each story could be used to answer.
Decide how you’re going to answer common interview questions*, particularly questions that make you uncomfortable. Practice answering them out loud, several times.
Practice answering sample industry-specific questions. If your technical knowledge of your field is rusty, bring it up to date and practice discussing important topics in your business.
Review the job description. The more familiar you are with what they’re looking for, the more easily and naturally you could point out how your skills and successes match their needs.
Research the organization and be prepared to ask 3-4 well-informed questions that show you’ve done your homework and thought about what having this job would be like.
If you’re not comfortable with small talk, read about the respond and return technique, and practice with a friend. Remember: You don’t have to like making small talk to do it well.
Think about how you will manage your energy before and during the interview, particularly if it’s a long one. Plan to get some sleep, eat breakfast, pace yourself, and stay positive.
Start to think about how you’ll negotiate your salary and perks when the job is offered. (But don’t discuss money during the interview!) I recommend Jim Hopkinson’s Salary Tutor.
And after a successful interview, be sure to write a thank you note! This post has all the information you need, and if you take supplies to your interview, you’ll be ahead of the game.
*Some common interview questions:
- Tell us about yourself
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- Tell us about a time you overcame a challenge.
- Have you dealt with conflict on a team?
- How would you describe your leadership style?
Want More Help with Job Interviews?
Check out my book Interview Like Yourself… No, Really! Follow Your Strengths and Skills to Get the Job. It has detailed advice, concrete steps to take, and insights from 64 HR professionals.
And if you’d like my help with interview prep, just contact me for more information.