16 Point Checklist – How to Nail Your Interview
According to Statista, in developed countries, around 90% of the working population is still employed by someone else. This means that they have a boss. So, anyone who wants to land themselves a well-paid and interesting job with a secure future needs to be able to navigate the interview process successfully.
When you are called for a face to face interview you need to be properly prepared. You must make a good first impression. Successful candidates come across as confident, but not so much that they appear to be arrogant. They know how to dress appropriately, communicate effectively and display positive body language.
Every employer’s goal is to hire the best candidate. So, making mistakes during the interview process is not an option. One mistake can lead to your not getting the job.
We’re here to make sure that you do not make any mistakes. Use our ultimate interview preparation checklist to nail your next interview.
What to Do Before the Interview
Immediately after you get an interview invitation, begin your preparations. Here are ways to do so.
1. Read through the Job Description
You must carefully read the job description to understand what the employer is looking for and identify relevant keywords that the job entails. Pay particular attention to the qualifications, skills and experience they need. Compare your skills and qualifications to the ones listed on the job description and work out how you’re going to present them, during the interview.
2. Research the Company
You need to know as much as you can about the company. This will increase your confidence levels. You can do your research online via the company’s website, press releases and social media accounts.
Pay particular attention to the current goals and objectives of the company. While doing this, think about what makes you a good fit. Make a note of these points, so you can highlight a few of them during the interview.
3. Prepare Answers for the Most Common Interview Questions
If it’s your first time attending an interview, you should ask someone who has been through several interviews to guide you. Ask them what the most common interview questions are and get them to help you to prepare answers for them. How you answer these questions plays a big role in determining whether you will get the job.
At the very least you need to be able to answer questions like why you would like to work with the company or what are your strengths and weaknesses are. Ensure that you are confident when answering these types of questions.
Remember to explain how you’re going to be of value to the organization. When possible, use short stories that demonstrate how you have contributed to solving work-related issues, in other roles.
4. Have a List of References Prepared
References are still very important. They are a great way to prove that you are telling the truth about your past job experience.
Be careful about putting down relatives as references. Many firms do not accept this type of reference. Prepare a list of references and submit it before the interview. Doing this shows initiative and will speed up the hiring process.
5. Prepare a Few Examples of Your Work
If possible take a few examples of your work with you. For example, if you are applying for a programming position, take a copy of one of your applications with you. Press releases, internal newsletter stories, the audio from speeches you have given about projects you have worked can all be useful. They provide hard proof to the interview panel that you know what you are doing. Do your best to make sure that the examples you choose are relevant to the role you are applying for.
6. Prepare a Few Questions for the Interviewer
Most employers expect you to ask one or two questions during the interview. You need to prepare questions that will show interviewers how interested you are in working with them.
For instance, you can ask about the responsibilities involved in the job you have applied for. This will help you to better understand what is required of you. Asking intelligent questions greatly increases your chance of getting the job.
Tips To Help You On Interview Day
7. Ensure That You Have Dressed Appropriately
How you dress for an interview really matters. The right outfit will help you to make a good first impression.
You have to look professional. To get the dress code right, ask the recruiter how the firm’s employees typically dress in the workplace. If you don’t have someone to ask, take a look at their website and social media to see how their employees generally dress.
Ensure that everything is spotlessly clean and pressed. In most cases, loud colors will not be appropriate. The majority of interviewers will view them as being inappropriate.
Don’t forget the little things. Get rid of stains, holes or loose threads. Finally, ensure that your shoes and nails are clean.
8. Make Enough Copies of the Documents You Will Need
You have to be very organized when attending a job interview. Make multiple copies of any documents you think you will need. Put them in a folder to stop them from getting creased or stained. You can take a soft copy of your resume with you if you want. But, for the interview itself most prospective employers will want you to use a printed hard copy.
On your personal copy, write down some of your professional achievements. You may need to refer to them when being interviewed.
9. Practice Good Manners and Watch Your Body Language
You must be confident but not overconfident. To help you to do this, pay attention to your body language. Ensure that you stand straight with your shoulders back. Remember to lean in when being spoken to and display active listening body language.
Before the interview starts, settle your mind. Assure yourself that you are ready for the interview and have the necessary skills to successfully land the job. Having a positive mindset will settle your nerves and ensure that you look confident when you enter the interview room.
Be sure to maintain eye contact and have a smile on your face when offering a handshake to the interviewers. Your handshake should be firm, but not to the point where you make the other person feel uncomfortable or hurt their hand.
10. Get to the Interview Location 15 Minutes Early
The night before the interview get enough rest and make sure that you do not arrive late. If you’re not sure about the location, use Google maps to find it. Do not leave this task to the last minute. Check out the address at least a day before the interview.
Lateness is taken very seriously by employers. Tardiness puts you at risk of immediate disqualification.
Remember that you may not be the only candidate applying for the job vacancy. So, you have to be on time.
In fact, it is a good idea to be there around 15 minutes before the agreed time. Your prospective employer will see this in a very positive light. But, bear in mind that there is a chance that you may be called into the interview room a little before the agreed-upon time. Do not let this faze you or make you nervous.
11. Show Respect To Everyone You Meet
When walking in, you will meet all kinds of people. For example, security guards at the gate, employees in the parking lot and at reception. Be polite and respectful of everyone.
You never know if one of the people you meet in the parking lot or in the reception area will be part of the interviewing team. Treat everyone politely and stay positive.
12. Speak Clearly and Communicate Effectively
Give complete answers while being interviewed. If you continuously use just one or two-word answers, you will be seen as evasive. Do your best to avoid filler words like “OK” or “Um”, while speaking.
Listen to the interviewer carefully and analyze the question rather than rushing to answer. If you rush, you might end up giving the wrong answers, thus spoiling your chance of getting the job.
Always wait your turn. Give answers that show you in the best light.
If you are tense, overconfident or anxious, the chances of your giving silly answers increases. So, remember to relax.
13. Be Truthful and Positive When Answering Questions
Being honest during your interview will make it easier for the interviewer to relate to you. Resist the temptation to exaggerate your achievements and skills.
Avoid over-explaining your answers. Remember that time is limited.
Just be natural and focus on being positive, displaying good body language and remember to smile.
Focus your answers on your strengths and what is needed for the position you are applying for.
Demonstrate to the panel how your previous experience will help your new company. This is an effective way for you to stand out from other candidates.
14. Avoid Saying Negative Things about Your Previous Employer
Most employers are looking for people who can provide solutions to the problems they have. They are definitely not looking for someone who wants to complain about problems they had former employers. Focus on the positive things about your previous place of work. Talk about your career goals, especially those that are relevant to the job vacancy you are interviewing for.
Tips To Follow After Attending an Interview
Once the interview is done, do the following:
15. Send a Thank You Letter to the Company
Send a thank-you email to the company. Here is a guide on how to write a good interview follow up letter. Remain positive when following up. If you don’t get the vacancy, keep trying without losing hope. There will always be a next time.
16. Be Curious To Know About the Next Steps
After the interview, it’s important to ask the hiring manager or the interviewer about what to expect. You should not be shy about asking what happens next. It’s also a good way of demonstrating how much you want to work for them. Usually, they will tell you via email whether you have got the job or not.
The company will let you know if they need any additional documentation from you. For example, a good conduct certificate, an assignment or maybe another interview.
Avoid asking about salary, unless the interviewer talks about it or asks you how much you would like to get paid. Then, you should certainly be prepared to negotiate your salary. Asking about the money first makes it look like your main focus is the salary rather than a burning desire to work for them.
Job interviews will always be there. You may not get everything right in your first one. But, with practice and good preparation, you will get better. Potentially, you can learn something from every job interview you attend.
Job interviews are like tests. So, you have to study and practice for them. It is the only way to be able to answer the questions correctly and increase your chances of securing your dream job.
By following the tips above, you will be better prepared for your next job interview.
Sarah Ashford is the director of recruiter relations at Jobnexus.com, a resume distribution agency. She loves to read travel blogs because she can’t find the time to actually go out and travel the world.