After weeks, and probably months of applying for jobs, you finally got that call or email asking you to come in for an interview. Once the excitement subsides and the jumping for joy dies down, panic starts to set in. What now?
Interview preparation begins the moment you get off the phone. Trust us — you want to be comfortable and confident when you go in to meet your potential employer. Here’s a handy interview checklist to help you organize what you’ll need to do the week before, the night before and the day of your interview.
Research the Company
No matter how much you think you know about a company, you can always know more. Being able to have an intelligent conversation about the company with a potential employer can only make you look better. Bring your research with you and review it before you go into the interview. Blair McMurchy, director of professional and continuing education, Placement and Promotions at Humber College, compares going in for an interview without doing your research to marrying someone without getting to know them.
Pick your Wardrobe
Decide beforehand what you want to wear so you can ensure that it’s clean and ironed. If you wake up the day of your interview only to realize there’s a ketchup stain on your favouriteblazer, it’ll probably put a damper on your mood.
Girls — minis may be fine for the dance floor, but they’re not the best choice for the office. Boys — wear your pants at your waist; no one wants to see your LooneyTunes underwear.
“You can never overdress, but you can always under dress,” says McMurchy. He also shares this tip for men: Wear a jacket and tie and if you feel over dressed once you arrive, the jacket can always be removed.
Make sure you know where you’re going. Know your travel time and take traffic into consideration. The last thing you want is to miss your interview because you took a wrong turn. Use a GPS, Google Maps, or even do a “dry run” before hand to ensure you know where you are going.
Compile a Portfolio
Get together samples of your work to show your potential employer your skills. Use your best pieces — No one cares about your high school essay on Hamlet, sorry.
Print Extra Copies of your Resume
Your interviewer may have forgotten to print out your resume. You may even have multiple interviewers, so having extra copies on hand will make you look prepared and reliable.
Come up with some Questions
At the end of an interview, more often than not, you’ll be asked if you have any questions. Be prepared with two or three questions. Curiosity about the company will show you did your research and know your stuff.
Also, ask them when you should hear back from them — Days, weeks? This way you’ll know when to follow up.
Go to Bed Early
Get your beauty sleep. If your interview is early in the morning, go to bed at a reasonable time. Jersey Shore can wait a day or two. You won’t feel too confident meeting your interviewer with puffy bags under your eyes.
Bring a Pack of Gum
Chew on a piece of gum before going in. That delicious everything bagel you had for breakfast may turn against you once your interviewer catches wind of it. Just make sure to spit it out before the interview!
Bring a Detergent Stick
Crazy drivers are all over the place, especially during rush hour. This means coffees spills inevitable. If you have a detergent stick on hand, you can get rid of stains and avoid looking like a slob.
Treat Everyone with Respect
“Treat everyone you meet in the office with respect from the janitor to the boss,” says McMurchy. It would look pretty bad if you closed the door in someone’s face on your way in and that someone turned out to be the boss.
Say Thank You
After your interview, send your interviewer a thank you note. It will help you look respectful and polite as well as help them to remember you.
If you follow these tips when you go in for an interview, you should be good to go. “Preparation is key,” explains McMurchy. Going in there knowing all there is to know about a company and being as prepared as you can be will boost your confidence. We know you can do it. Good luck!