Interview Checklist for Job Seekers

how to prepare for an interview

You’ve done it: You’ve landed an interview with the company of your dreams, and you’re eager to impress. You know all the basics already – show up on time, smile, make eye contact – so let’s cover some of the lesser-known facets of nailing the interview and getting the job you want.

Nail the Outfit

If you ask anyone how to prepare for an interview, the first thing they will tell you is to “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” But what does this really mean? If you’re gunning for a career as an archeologist or marine biologist, are you supposed to wear extra-nice cargo pants?

Instead of thinking about it as needing to wear something “fancier” than you would on the job, imagine the kind of clothing you’d wear if your prospective company hosted a conference or a client meet-and-greet. Choose an outfit you know would represent them well without being overly formal, and save your fatigues for when you’re actually waist-high in dinosaur dust.

Research the Company

Don’t just research them on their website. It’s great if you can get to know the team’s bios or read several of the company’s case studies, but that’s not always enough. If you want the best chances of getting – and liking – the job, you should do your due diligence.

Look the company up on Glassdoor to see what previous employees thought of it. If you’re still interested, look up current employees on LinkedIn (reference bios on company site), or do a search for previous employees using LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature.

Prepare a List of Questions

What’s that? Not prepare to answer questions, but prepare a list of your own? That’s right: Qualified jobseekers prepare a list of questions to ask at a job interview. Not only do you get a better feel for the job and whether it’s a good fit, you look more desirable. Desperate candidates don’t ask any questions; they just take whatever they can get.

Knowledgeable, intelligent jobseekers, on the other hand, are savvy and willing to turn down a job if it doesn’t meet their needs. So ask away, covering topics such as:

  • What do employees in this role go on to do, inside or outside the company?
  • What are the biggest challenges of this role?
  • What’s a typical day in the life of this role?
  • What one quality will I need above all others?

Remember Your Public Face

Here’s how not to prepare for an interview: Post a bunch of boozy, inappropriate photos of yourself online in the months and years leading up to an interview, toss in some Debbie Downer-isms along the way, and sprinkle a generous helping of insulting comments about your boss on top.

Got that? Okay, here’s how to prepare: Cull through your social media profiles carefully. Take out any posts that are inappropriate, negative, overly political (unless you’re in politics) or otherwise take too hard a stance. Google yourself and see what pops up on the first three pages. If something unpleasant appears, do something about it. If you can’t, remove the tag or set your profile to private. Rinse, repeat for all social profiles.

It’s a lot of work preparing properly for this opportunity, but with the right attitude, enough lead time and a mock interview or two, you can work magic on your approach, appearance, and public persona. So go get ‘em!

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