Written by Mithul Roy
Pre-Interview Checklist: (Use this to prepare for your next interview!)
- Use Glassdoor/Big Interview to lookup potential questions
- Research the company
- Prepare 2-3 questions to ask the interviewer
- Review your application materials (resume, cover letter, etc)
- Review the job posting
- Update and print your resume
- Network with people at the company via LinkedIn
- Review interview scenarios based on industry type
- Practice via Big Interview or setting up a mock interview at Wasserman
- Plan your route for the day of
- Pick your outfit ahead of time
- Pack a notebook/pad folio
When it comes to preparing for a job interview, ignorance is not bliss. Having a checklist at hand to guide you through each job interview can make the process less daunting, and much more methodical.
Do Your Research
Start your interview prep by learning about what to expect from the experience. You should be able to answer generic and common interview questions such as “tell me about yourself” but you can also use resources like Glassdoor to read up on common interview questions for the company you are interviewing with. Following this, do your research on the company. Look up their website, social media profiles and recent news to get a sense of the company’s history and where it’s headed. You can also use resources such as Vault (via Handshake) to look up the company’s competitors and further information on the industry it operates in. It might also be helpful to go the extra mile: know the name of the company CEO, where its headquarters is located, its geographic locations and reach, as well as how many people it employs. You should read up on things like the firm’s culture, and how it’s different from its competitors or changing the market landscape. Other things to look out for are the firm’s business model, its mission statement, and core values, all of which will help you explain why you want to be employed at that company.
Update Your Materials
Before any interview, it is essential to re-familiarize yourself with all the materials you have used in your interactions with the company. You should make sure your resume is up to date and tailored to the job and industry you are interviewing for. It is a good idea to have at least two pairs of eyes look over your resume, like having a Wasserman career coach review your resume during drop-in hours or during career coaching appointments. Be sure to review your resume, cover letter, job application and any other materials submitted with your application as well as all prior communications with the company. If you have had previous interviews with the company, review your notes from those interviews too and print out copies of your resume and other materials submitted with your application. Your recruiter will likely have a copy of your resume but you will look a lot more prepared if you have one to offer in case they do not. Pack a notebook and pen to take notes during the interview which will indicate to the interviewer that you are intent on learning as much as possible from the experience.
Always have an overarching story for your career journey, and the path that has brought you where you are now professionally, and where you want to go. If you are looking to make a career shift from the experiences indicated in your resume, make sure you are able to explain your motivations for such a shift as well. You should review the job posting and make sure you know how your skills meet the job requirements as well as how you intend to work on any skills that you may be lacking from the job description. You can reach out to people who work at the company you are interviewing with through LinkedIn ahead of time to get a sense of the culture and what to expect from the process. You can also look up your interviewers on Linkedin to get a sense of their career trajectories and any common interests you may have. If you are preparing for a technical interview, make sure to review any technical questions or case studies that you are likely to face.
Practice makes perfect!
The more you practise interviewing, the easier each interview will seem. Try doing mock interviews with mentors, friends or with a Wasserman career coach during career coaching appointments. You can use Big Interview, which you can access through Handshake, to practise your interview answers. Big Interview allows you to video record yourself answering its catalogue of dozens of questions that will prepare you to tackle even the most unexpected questions on your interview and perfect your body language.
Get Ready for the Day
It is always a good idea to prepare as much as possible before the interview day, including looking looking up the location of your interview ahead of time and planning your route in advance, taking care to leave extra time for any unforeseen contingencies. You can also lay out your interview outfit the night before so you are not rushing in the morning of the interview and do a trial run if needed. Lastly, Prepare at least two questions to ask your interviewers; make sure your questions are specific and show that you have researched the company. Never ask a question that can be solved with a quick google search or a generic question that could apply to any company.
Taking the time to adequately prepare for your interview can make the interview much less intimidating, and having a game plan to approach interviews can shorten your prep-time before each interview. Best of luck on your future interviews!