Pre Interview Checklist - The Arnold Group
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Pre-Interview Checklist

Do your Homework

Research the company beforehand so that you can showcase that knowledge during the interview.
This will boost your credibility with the interviewer and will help you to formulate intelligent questions to ask him or her.

Know Where You’re Going

  • Make sure to find out where the office is, how to get there, how long it will take to get there, and parking availability.
  • Do you have the name (including correct pronunciation), title and phone number of the person you’ll be meeting with?

Save time and unnecessary stress by knowing these things before heading to the interview.

Look the Part

Your clothing should be neat, pressed, and professional looking. As it can be difficult to know the culture of the office environment beforehand, so err on the side of conservative.

Even if everyone’s wearing jeans when you arrive, you’re still probably better off having shown up in a business professional or business casual attire.

Rehearse Beforehand

  • Prior to your interview, prepare answers to common questions the interviewer is likely to ask.
  • Conduct a mock interview with a trusted friend  practicing can help you remain calm and confident during the interview.

Secure Your References

Find at least three key people – former supervisors, colleagues, or instructors – who are willing to serve as your professional references.
*Be sure to secure their permission beforehand, and be certain that they will speak highly of you if contacted by a potential employer.

Arrive Early

Arrive Poised and confident.

  • Be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes before the interview.
  • Visit the restroom and check your appearance in the mirror.
  • Announce yourself to the receptionist to let him or her know you have arrived and have an appointment.

Be Professional and Courteous

  • Turn your cell phone off so it doesn’t ring during your meeting.
  • Remember to be very polite  employers will often ask the receptionist for their first impressions of interviewees.

Items to Bring

Ensure you have all necessary items with you before leaving home:

  • A list of questions to ask prospective employer
  • Appointment book/calendar
  • Business references from former supervisors, colleagues, and/or clients
  • College transcripts (if you are a recent graduate)
  • Extra copies of your resume
  • Folder, pad-folio, or small briefcase
  • Identity and employment eligibility documentation
  • Memos or letters confirming past achievements
  • Notepad and pen
  • Personal compensation history
  • Portfolio of non-proprietary writing samples or other professional work

>>Watch the Video

Employment Applications

If presented with an application, fill it out neatly and completely.
*Don’t attach your resume unless requested. Your resume is generally considered a supplement to the application, not a substitution.

Demonstrate Interest

Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and an enthusiastic smile.

  • Maintain eye contact with your interviewer.
  • Show you want the job with your interest.
  • Ask the right questions– early in the meeting, try to get the interviewer to describe the joband the duties to you so you can focus your responses on your background, skills and accomplishments that relate to the position.
  • Be enthusiastic – how that you are willing to take on the necessary job functions. If you are lacking necessary skills, show that you are willing to learn these skills to help you do the job.
  • Positivity is key – remain positive and avoid negative comments about past employers.
  • Pay Attention – listen carefully and respond succinctly and articulately.
  • Be good to yourself – be sincere and truthful while focusing on communicating your specific professional achievements that relate to the position.
  • Stay relevant – relate your responses to the interviewer and his/her company by focusing on achievements relevant to the position.
  • Be friendly – encourage the interviewer to share information about his/her company by asking appropriate questions.

Sell Yourself

The interview is your chance to shine, so now is not the time to be humble.

  • Develop your elevator speech, a compelling 30-second sales pitch outlining why you should be selected. It should include your strengths, your abilities, and what sets you uniquely apart from other applicants.

Don’t Neglect to Ask Questions

  • Based on your earlier research, ask how the responsibilities of the open position relate to the company’s goals and plans for the future.

Candidates who show interest by asking knowledgeable questions about the organization often favorably impress interviewers.

Interview Don’ts

Keep the following in mind during your interview:

  • Avoid being vague– don’t answer with a simple “yes” or “no.” Explain whenever possible, but do so succinctly.
  • Don't sabotage yourself– never pretend to know something or someone when you don’t. If you don’t understand a question, or need a moment to think about it, say so.
  • Don't forget to sell yourself– don’t rely on your application or resume to do the selling for you. Interviewers will want you to be convincing.
  • Don't diss– don’t make negative remarks about present or former employers. When explaining your reasons for leaving, communicate your rationale professionally.
  • Don't say too much– don’t over-answer questions. If the interviewer steers the conversation into controversial, or even illegal, topics, try to do more listening than speaking and keep your responses non-committal.
  • Don't be too forward– don’t inquire about salary, vacations, benefits, bonuses or retirement on the initial interview unless you are sure the employer is interested in hiring you.

*If the interviewer asks what salary you want, give a range based on your research of the job market, but indicate that you’re more interested in the opportunity for continued learning and professional development than in a specific salary.

>>Watch the Video

Closing the Interview

Be Proactive.

  • Reiterate your interest in the job and the company by asking about the next step in the process.
  • If you get the impression the interview is not going well, don’t let your discouragement show. Remain poised, upbeat and professional. There may be other opportunities in the company that would be a better fit. 
  • Be enthusiastic about the job and the company. The people you meet during your job search and at your interviews can become valuable networking sources, even if you don’t get the job.

Follow Up

After the interview, send a handwritten note or friendly email thanking the interviewer for his or her time and consideration, as well as restating your interest and commitment to the position.
About a week after the first interview, call the employer to check on the progress of the job search. Take the extra time to make this final impression a positive one.

Through proper preparation and conduct, you can be at your best during the interview, giving yourself the best chance for success. Take a few minutes to review interview questions you might face , interview questions you might ask and be sure you're dressed for success to increase your chances of landing the job!