Preparing for an Interview: Candidate Checklist

prepare for interviewJob interviews are a lot like first dates.  There is only one opportunity to make a good first impression, and awkwardness or a lack of confidence can reflect quite poorly.  That is why preparing for the interview process in advance is essential for any candidate wishing to stand out amidst a crowded field of job seekers.

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  • Do Your Homework.  Researching the company prior to the interview shows hiring managers a level of professionalism and can aid a candidate in making a good impression with relative and confident responses.  Perusing company websites and searching on-line for industry information are easy ways to gain valuable insight.
  • Prepare Questions.  There is nothing worse for an interviewer than to hear silence when a candidate has the opportunity to ask questions.  Prepare a list of questions relating to the hiring company, human resource related items and job duties.  This will not only demonstrate interest and professionalism but also provide valuable insight when considering the position.
  • Rehearse.  In any interview process there are some standard questions that a candidate can assume will be asked.  These questions can include aspects such as previous employment, job skills or educational achievements.  Detailed responses for these types of questions should be rehearsed in advance with a focus on valuable details and fluid response.
  • Prepare an Elevator Pitch.  Interviews are not a place to be humble.  Candidates should be prepared with a 30 second sales pitch on what separates them from other applicants, and pertinent details that will aid hiring managers.
  • Be On Time. Being punctual for a job interview means being early, approximately 10-15 minutes prior to the scheduled meeting time.  This time will allow for filling out any necessary forms and settling into the office environment.  Part of ensuring an early arrival is planning travel routes and allowing for possible traffic delays.  There is no excuse for being late to a job interview.
  • Dress for Success.  A job applicant’s attire should be neat, clean and professional.  Even if a job posting refers to a casual dress code workplace, candidates should dress conservatively for the interview.
  • Get Good References.  At least three quality references should be obtained from colleagues, former supervisors or friends prior to the interview.  The list should be typed with contact information and relationship to the candidate.
  • Gather Documents.  Documentation that a hiring manager may request can include a hard copy of a resume, a portfolio or work samples, passport or drivers license.  Make copies in advance and bring them in a professional folder.

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