Updated: Sep 14, 2019
Keep all those nerves and jitters at bay with this 10 step checklist to help you boost your confidence in making that good first impression.
You could submit a stunning resume and cover letter with great qualifications and experience yet you may still be rejected for being unprepared for the interview. Being nervous, arriving late or not knowing enough about the job or the company are some common mistakes that candidates make when attending an interview.
Making that interview count is the key to increasing your chances of getting hired. Being well prepared for the interview will not just boost your confidence but will also help you in creating a strong impression. Here is a checklist that you can use as a guide to help you ace all your interviews -
1. Analyze the job posting.
Read the job description for clues as to what the company is expecting and how your skills match the requirements of the job. Note down the words or points that they place a lot of importance on. It is very likely for the interviewer to ask questions based on this.
2. Review your own resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile.
Be familiar with your own resume. The interviewer is impressed by your resume which is why you have been shortlisted and is keen to know more about your qualifications and experiences. Also, read through your cover letter and LinkedIn profile. Think about all that you can explain such as previous job changes, achievements on the job and note them down.
3. Research about the company.
This is among the most important things for any interviewer. They are impressed by candidates who have done a thorough research about the company for it gives them an impression that the candidate is keen to work with them. Visit the company website, LinkedIn and other social media pages, learn about their products or services and their competitors. This also gives you an idea on asking questions to the interviewers. More on that below.
4. Build connections with those working at the company.
Reach out to your connections on LinkedIn who may be working at the company and ask them more about the company and the hiring process. A person who has successfully been through the hiring process can you give a better picture about it.
5. Practice answering interview questions.
Make a note of potential questions that the interviewer may ask you. There are quite a few generic questions such as tell me about yourself, where do see yourself in five years, what are your strengths and weaknesses and then there are other questions focused more on the job description and your resume. Write down the answers or key points to such questions and practice them.
6. Follow the interview etiquette.
Get your interview outfit ready in advance. Make sure the clothes are clean, professional and wrinkle-free. Avoid wearing anything that would distract the interviewer. Invest in an outfit if you need to as your outfit also plays a role in boosting your confidence.
7. Research and prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer.
Often, interviewers want to know the candidate better by answering any questions that they may have. Prepare a list of a few questions that you could ask the interviewer. This could relate to the job description, training and mentorship, performance appraisal or your research about the company. Do not ask questions about your salary and other benefits unless the interviewer mentions it first. You do not want to give out the impression that you are only concerned about the benefits and not the job.
8. Note down the location and the timing, route and mode of travel.
Decide on how you plan to travel to the location of the interview and the time it can take to reach, taking into consideration any possible traffic. Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early. This will show that you're punctual and serious about the job. Also, the 15 minutes will give you enough time to gather your thoughts and make you feel more at ease.
9. Bring all that you need.
Prepare all that you would need to take for the interview - copies of your resume, letters of recommendation, references, certificates or anything that you would require as part of your portfolio or as requested by the interviewer.
10. Write a Thank-You note.
Following up after an interview is a must, especially if you really want the job and want the hiring manager to know it. Send a thank you note in the form of an email. An email is the best way to follow up after an interview. You can thank them for the opportunity and reiterate your interest in the position to make sure you and the interviewer are on the same page. Related - 7 tips to help you in preparing for a phone interview!
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