Job interview checklist – 18 things to do before the interview

Items to check off ahead of a job interview

When the time comes to wow ’em, refer to our job interview checklist and make sure you do everything on it!

Heading to a job interview? Be prepared.

Preparation will make a lot of the difference between landing the position and not landing the position. Employers want to see your enthusiasm for the position, and the amount of prep you put in before the interview is a good indicator of now only that, but of how conscientious you are and of your organizational skills, among other things.

Here is a job interview checklist of things to do on the day before and the day of the job interview in order to be as well prepared as possible.

1. Research the company and role

It’s crucial that you know what the company does going into the interview. You also want to find out as much as you can about what they need from the person who is going to fill the role for which you’re applying. Research their products and services, their history and competition. Look at their website and social media accounts to start, and read this for more tips on researching the company.

2, Look at their interview reviews

Do a Google search and see if you can find some reviews of the interview process and experience by other applicants, so you have an idea of what to expect. This should be possible if it’s a big company.

3. Check out your interviewer

If you know who is going to be interviewing you, look at their LinkedIn and learn about their career history. It can also be great to find out a little about their interests and personality – which is easy if they’re very active on a public social media platform, like Twitter or Instagram. This give you ways to connect both professionally (and personally – “I saw on your Instagram that you like bird watching. That looks pretty cool!”) Don’t go overboard, though, or you’ll look like a stalker.

4. Plan your route

Map your route to the interview and figure out how long it will take. Don’t leave this until the last minute. Then give yourself an extra half hour, just in case. (But if you do arrive half and hour early, wait somewhere else for 15 minutes).

5. Print your resume

Have a few printed copies of your resume on hand. You may wind up in a panel interview – even if you’re not expecting it – or meeting more than one person who would like to take a look at it.

6. Prep your outfit

Choose your outfit the night before and lay it out. Try it on in a mirror and make sure that it fits, is clean, and there are no surprise stains, rips, or wrinkles.

7. Prep your stories

You’re probably going to be asked to tell stories, like, “Tell me about a time you solved a problem” or “Tell me about a time you had a conflict with a colleague.” Do a web search for the stories people are most commonly asked to tell (I listed two of them), and prepare stories on those topics that make you shine and highlight your soft and hard skills.

8. Know your accomplishments

Make a list of your accomplishments. Did you improve sales and/or any other numbers in your last job? Did you implement any programs, train teams, or significantly change anything for the better? Study this list before the interview, so that you can weave these examples into your answers to questions and into the general conversation.

9. Prepare your answers for the most common questions

You’re probably going to be asked some variation of “tell me about yourself” “what is your greatest weakness” and “why should I hire you?” Have your answers to these questions ready. See a list of the most commonly asked questions here.

10. Prepare your questions

You’re also going to be asked “Do you have any questions for me?” And you can’t say no! You have to ask questions. See a list of good questions to ask here.

11. Make a list of all the great things about you

If you’re feeling a lack of confidence, making a list of all your great qualities can be a booster. Jot down anything you can think of and read it over in your remaining pre-interview time.

12. Get a good night’s sleep

Don’t stay up late watching Netflix or go out drinking on the night before an interview. Stay home and get some good shut eye.

13. Shower

Do shower before the interview. You don’t want to show up dirty and smelly.

15. Brush your teeth

Bad breath is rampant and people almost never know they have it. Brush your teeth and you should probably use mouthwash or chew gum a few minutes before the interview. Spit it out before you go in, though!

16. Wash your hands

I once heard a story from a hiring manager about a time he was in the washroom at work before interviewing a candidate. While in there, a man came out of a stall and left the washroom without washing his hands. (Can you guess where this is going?) The hiring manager then went to meet his interview and found the same guy waiting for him. He did not shake hands and he didn’t hire the guy. If you use a company washroom while going to your interview, wash your hands, which you should be doing anyway, because not washing your hands is gross.

17. Be nice to everyone

Don’t save your smiles and friendliness for the hiring manager and treat everyone else, like the receptionist, like dirt. I heard another story about a woman who was on a train when someone pushed past her and swore at her. Of course, when she arrived at work to interview a candidate, the candidate was the train guy. Don’t be a bad person. Be nice to everyone, and you’ll be more likely to get the job.

18. Stay calm

Finally, take a deep breath and don’t panic. You’ve done everything you can and now it’s up to fate (or whoever). Do your best and remember that you’re awesome.

Go get ‘em, Tiger.

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