Job Interview Checklist
You have put in hundreds of hours of schooling. You have spent your nights and weekends studying and preparing for internships and residencies, learning skills to help and save lives. You may have even exercised those skills in a job or two since you entered your career field.
Now, you are preparing for your next job interview, and we’re here to help you succeed.
Below you’ll find our top seven strategies that will help you land your next job. We’ve also added in a bonus: if you’re preparing for a phone interview, keep reading past the first seven tips for specific strategies to sound professional and prepared on your phone interview.
Research the company
First go to the website. Look at every page to learn about the history of the company, principals, philosophies, etc. Gain as much information as possible. You want to know if you are qualified, but you also want to know if you agree with their ideals. This will give you the ability to speak their language and understand the minutia of the institution or practice. If they are active on social media, you can also look at their profiles to see how they interact with their following. Take caution when considering whether to follow them on social media: review your own profile and make sure that you look professional. If not, be sure to set your profile as private incase they investigate you.
Next, look up the person who is going to interview you (if you know this based on the information you were provided about the interview process) on the company website and Linked in – if they aren’t on Linked in, try Twitter or Facebook.
Know the basics
You want to sound confident and sure of yourself in the interview.
If the interviewer says, “What is your availability,” and you say, “ um, well, I guess it depends on… I’m not really sure right now…” you will sound disorganized and unprepared. Know when you are availability, how many hours per week you want to work, the minimum amount you expect to earn, the top amount you think you deserve to earn, and the benefits that you need to live. Knowing the basics about yourself takes little preparation and allows you to sound prepared to take the job.
If you were going to learn to play tennis, how would you practice? You would likely get a racket and a ball and find a tennis court (and possibly an instructor).
The same concept applies to interviewing. Practice exactly the way you are going to play. Find someone to ask you sample questions and practice answering exactly as you would in the interview. Making mistakes is a good thing – it will help you practice how you will handle mistakes if it happens on the day of the interview.
Here are a few questions you may encounter at your next job interview:
- Strengths and weaknesses
- Job responsibilities that you excel at (when/where you performed)
- Team/leadership skills
- Anything outside of resume
- What makes you different? What can you share that no one else would ever say? What is different about your experience or story?
- Where do you expect to be in two years? Five years?
- Are you interested in professional development?
- When have you experienced a stressful or uncomfortable situation in the workplace?
- Describe the most difficult day you have ever had at work.
Practice with strangers
Anytime you talk to someone new they ask you the basics. They want to know what you do, where you’re from, how you became interested in your profession, where you want to go with your life, etc. This is a perfect opportunity to practice your interview skills. When you go to the grocery store, the bank, or anywhere you see strangers, talk to them. When you are at the airport, take your headphones out and meet someone new.
TIP: If you ask someone a question they are likely to respond with their answer then say, “what about you?” This gives you an opportunity to ask a question that you want to practice answering. It also gives you a chance to pick up tips or ideas for how to structure your own answer (or what not to say) by listening to others’ answers.
Know what it takes for you to feel comfortable on the day of the interview. Take out any room for error. Get a good night of sleep. Eat breakfast (avoid any foods you have never eaten!).
If you only implement one strategy from this list, this is the one: wake up and show up early.
There is absolutely no excuse for tardiness. Especially at an interview! If you can’t make it on time to an interview you are telling the interviewer that you are not reliable. Not to mention, you are up against other candidates who probably showed up on time. Do not give them an upper hand. Do yourself a favor and start out on a good note.
The worst mistake we see interviewees make is over-talking. The interviewer will give clues and hints as to what they are looking for if you listen. If you over talk you may appear desperate for the job compared to the other applicants. Listen carefully and respond articulately and succinctly.
Always send a thank you email. Don’t ask for anything in return, just show gratitude.
BONUS: Phone Interview Tips
Phone interviews are often more stressful than face-to-face interviews. They don’t give you an opportunity to make eye contact and use gestures as a way to establish rapport. Don’t worry: we are here to help you prepare for your next phone interview with these 5 tips:
- Test your microphone: have someone else listen to you or record yourself.
- Practice some of the questions from the above list on the phone.
- Ensure that you are going to be in a quite space. Practice your interview in that space and make sure that you can be heard clearly without background noise.
- If they called you, ask for a call back number incase you get disconnected.
- At the end of the interview be sure they have your resume and ask for next steps