Job interview preparation

You’ve landed a job interview. Now you need to make sure you’re ready for it. Follow our handy checklist to help you take the right steps before, during, and after a job interview to maximize your chance of landing the job.

When You Get ‘The Call’
Things to remember when an employer phones to schedule a job interview:

  • Be positive and enthusiastic about the opportunity to interview.
  • If you’re caught off guard, be honest (for example, “Forgive me, but I’ve sent out several resumes this month. Could you refresh my memory about the position you’re referring to?”).
  • Write down the date and time of the interview you have scheduled.
  • Write down the Name, Title, and Department of the person you’ll be meeting.
  • Ask about parking lots or public transportation and where to enter the building – then write it down.
  • Ask if there is anything specific the interviewer would like you to prepare or bring to the meeting.
  • In closing, be sure to thank the caller and confirm the interview date and time (for example, “Thanks again, Ms. Lee, I look forward to meeting you on Monday the 16th at 9:00.”).

Before the Interview
Congratulations, you’ve scheduled an interview. Now it’s time to do your homework:

  • Look closely at the company’s web site to get a feel for its culture, business goals, products or services, financial reports, and challenges.
  • Search the Internet for news or information about the company. Don’t overlook blogs in your search.
  • Formulate and practice reciting a clear and concise summary of your unique skills and qualifications that you could deliver in about two minutes. Avoid making it sound as if it’s a “canned” speech. Ad-libbing some of it can’t hurt, as long as you’re clear and thorough.
  • Prepare and practice answers to typical interview questions.
  • Make a list of questions to ask during the interview.
  • Write down examples of past successes that you can discuss in the interview.
  • Contact your three references and alert them that you’ll be interviewing, so they may get a call.
  • Look up the exact building location online and print out a map and driving directions or public transportation route, with planned contingencies for possible delays.
  • Do a “dry run” if possible – physically go to the interview site so you’ll know exactly where it is and how long it will take you to get there (Hint: If it’s a workday, check out what people are wearing as they enter or exit the building).
  • Plan your attire and accessories and make sure everything is clean. Unless the company explicitly tells you to dress more casually, wear a suit. Present your most polished image; your “real” style can emerge once you’re hired.