Big Interview Checklist
So you scored a big interview. Congratulations! Looks like you and your resume did your jobs in getting you that big meeting. Good for you!
In order to knock this interview out of the park, it’s important to show up prepared, and you need to prepare at least a day before the interview. This way you’ll be sharp, you’ll be informed, and you’ll have the edge over the other candidates.
What do to? Here’s your pre-game preparation list:
The day before your big interview:
1. Get some exercise – If it’s a big interview, you’re probably nervous and a bit on edge. The best way to harness that energy is go out and get some moderate physical exercise. Walk, power walk, or run! Go for a bike ride! Have you done any yoga lately? Even a good session of stretching will work off some of that energy and get your blood flowing. You know what works best for you!
2. Eat right – Especially now, it’s a good time to eat the way you’re supposed to. Focus on eating fruit, vegetables, and proteins. For the proteins, go for nuts, fish, or chicken breast. These will feed your brain, help you handle stress, and keep you on your toes. Stay away from heavy carbs like pasta and breads. And don’t let me see you anywhere near a fast food restaurant!
3. Printouts – Print out one of your resumes for each person you’ll interview with, plus one or two more, just in case. You’ll want one to refer to, and some interviewers are so busy they will have misplaced your resume. Come to their rescue and be prepared with a resume for everyone. Also print out the job description and/or the job listing and highlight some of the top areas you want to focus on during your interview. If necessary, also print out directions to your interview location and make sure you know exactly where you need to go. Don’t rely 100% on your GPS. They are notorious for getting directions wrong when you need them the most!
4. Research – This is one area that can set you apart from the rest. Research the company you’re applying to the day before. You can even take some notes on the company and bring them along with you. One favorite question interviewers love to ask is ‘So, what do you know about us?’ Be prepared to tell them.
5. Prepare your interview questions – Another area of preparation that will set you apart is the questions you ask. Many people don’t ask questions after they’re done with an interview, and it makes them look uninterested or lazy. Don’t be like that! Develop at least two or three good questions to ask during each interview round. Those questions should be about the company, how they operate, what the working environment is like, and how you can help the company. The questions should NOT be about how much vacation you’ll get, how early you can leave, or what their Internet surfing policy is. Ask questions about the work, not how to avoid it!
6. Clothing – Arrange your professional, crisp, vibrant, but not obtrusive interview clothing the night before so it’s one less thing to worry about.
The day of the interview...
1. Timing – Wake up with plenty of time to get ready and get to your interview. Eat a good, protein-rich meal before the interview. Allow time for traffic snarls. Ideally, arrive five minutes before you are expected. If you arrive too early, hang out in the parking lot or in a coffee shop until it’s time for you to arrive. If you’re late, apologize professionally, but please, don’t be late! You’ve worked too hard to get to this point.
2. Hungry? – If you’re expecting a long interview, a series of interviews, or if you simply get hungry, keep a breakfast bar in your coat pocket or purse and, when you have a break, take a bite or two to keep your energy up. It’s a great refresher!
3. Business Cards – Get a business card from everyone you interview with. If they don’t have one, get the spelling of their name and their email address. This way you will have all the information you need to send each person a thank you follow up email within 24 hours of your interview.
4. Nervous? – Good! You’re supposed to be a little nervous. It will keep you on your toes, and it means that the interview is important to you. Just try not to be jumpy, overly anxious, or otherwise annoying. Be like a duck; calm and alert on top of the water, working like hell underneath!
While there are no guarantees to a great interview, following these tips will help you be organized, on top of your game, and present your best professional self.
Let’s get to work!