So you have prepared the perfect CV and cover letter, and you have applied online for a position that fits your skills and experience. Finally, you get the call that you have been waiting for, you have an interview. As you hang up the phone your excitement turns into panic, you need this job, you CAN NOT mess up this interview. So what do you do? You prepare of course! Preparing for a job interview can be overwhelming, but don’t stress! I have broken down the process into this easy to follow checklist.
Generally speaking, I recommend that you start preparing for your interview from the minute you receive the phone call. However, for the sake of this checklist, we will assume that you have 48 hours to prepare.
Preparing for a job interview – 48 Hours until you interview
1) Study, study, study!
- Read up about the company, find its mission and vision statement if possible. Check if they have appeared in any news reports lately and make sure you know exactly what the company does and who their clients are. Write this down and commit it to memory!
- If the position requires you to have any specialized knowledge of a certain field, make sure you brush up on this.
- Make sure you are familiar with any modern methods or technology that might apply to the position.
2) Make a list of questions you expect to be asked in the interview.
- Check out this list of common questions asked in interviews.
- Reach out to family, friend and work colleagues, we have all been for interviews before in our lives. Ask them what questions they remember being asked.
- Make sure you prepare answers for any questions you feel you could realistically be asked.
3) Make a list of questions that you would like to ask the interviewer.
- Using the information you found researching the company and the information contained in the job description, put together a list of questions you would like to ask the interviewer.
- Check out these questions that might give you an idea of what you should ask.
- Also, have a look at this Blog on the very best question to ask at the end of an interview.
Preparing for a job interview – 24 Hours until the interview
4) Run through the questions and answers prepared yesterday.
- Read through the questions you believe you may be asked in the interview. Practice answering these questions without reading your prepared answers. Make sure your answers flow naturally, you do not want to sound like a robot.
- Run through the questions you would like to ask the interviewer once again.
5) Read through the job description once again.
- Compare your skills and experience against the job description that was advertised. Make sure that you are able to highlight exactly how your set of skills and experience compliments what is required.
- If you do not have a particular skill that is mentioned in the job description do not panic. Remember they have seen your CV and they want an interview with you. Just make sure you are able to explain exactly why you will still be able to succeed in the position without this skill.
6) Visualize the perfect interview
- Before you go to sleep spend 30 minutes alone to visualize the interview. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in the interview, see yourself smiling and answering every question perfectly. You are calm, you are ready.
7) Be prepared
- Make sure that you have copies of your CV and qualifications if necessary. Place them in a safe place ready for the next day
- Put fuel in your car if necessary, don’t leave this for the day of the interview. If you are using public transport or a taxi make sure you know what times you need to be where and make a note of when you will leave home. Have a backup plan in case of an emergency like a bus breaking down or a flat tire.
8) Get a good nights sleep
- Go to bed early, you want to make sure that you are well-rested and ready in the morning.
- Do not drink any alcohol to help you “relax.” If you smell like booze in the morning your interview will be over the minute you shake the interviewer’s hand. If you think you need help relaxing there are many herbal calming products at your local pharmacy, rather use one of these if you feel anxious.
Preparing for a job interview – The big day
9) Wake up and have a good breakfast
- Hopefully, you are well rested on the big day. Make sure that you take time to eat a good healthy breakfast packed with energy. Do not grab a MacDonald’s breakfast on the go.
10) Dress the part.
- Despite what you will feel on the day, choosing what to wear to an interview is actually quite easy. My advice is simply to dress appropriately. What will you be wearing if you get the job? If you are applying for an office position, dress appropriately for an office environment, however if you were applying for a game ranger position, khakis are probably OK.
- Make sure that whatever you choose is not distracting for the interviewer. Stay away from very bright colors or overly revealing outfits.
You are ready! Now all you need to do is nail that interview! Walk-in with confidence, give a firm handshake and look the interviewer in the eye with a big smile on your face! You’ve got this!
So hopefully you now agree that preparing for a job interview is not that scary. If this helped you or if you have any interview preparation tips of your own that you can share with the rest of us please let us know in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear from you.