What To Include on an Interviewing Checklist

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 17, 2021

Interviewing is one of the most important steps in a job search, as it means a potential employer sees you as a strong candidate and wants to discuss your qualifications further. An interview checklist is a tool that can help you prepare to perform well in an interview. Creating a one of these plans can make you feel more confident and ready to impress hiring managers. In this article, we explain what an interviewing checklist is and share steps for developing one of these plans to excel in an interview.

What is an interviewing checklist?

An interview checklist is a list of items to do or consider when preparing for or taking part in an interview. Following the steps on an interviewing checklist helps you enter the interview with confidence, and that you feel prepared and professional. Though you might add additional steps for certain industries or companies, having a basic checklist is something you can use each time.

Related: How To Ace Your Next Job Interview

How to prepare an effective interview checklist

Follow these steps to prepare an effective interview checklist for your next interview:

1. Research the company

Researching the company means reading through their website, social media sites, and understanding their products and services. This shows interviewers you're genuinely interested in the role and invested in working for their company. Read about its history, mission statement, search for information about its company culture, and learn about key stakeholders. If you reference specific aspects of their company, they are likely to notice your research and interest. If you apply for a job that requires a lot of experience, research relevant technical information so you can better answer questions.

2. Prepare for interview questions

This step helps increase your confidence during the interview. Look for both generic interview questions, such as why you want to work for the company, and specific questions related to your field. Ask some of your professional contacts what questions they may remember answering, or what questions they typically ask candidates interviewing for a similar role. Based on this information, you can anticipate common questions and prepare answers to get ready for the interview.

Read more: 19 Common Interview Questions and Answers

3. Practise your answers aloud

Once you prepare some answers, practise saying them out loud. Try to imitate the interview as much as possible by sitting down and reading your answers aloud. Enlist the help of a friend or family member to enhance the experience. Having someone across from you asking the questions helps your mock interview feel more authentic. Practising in the mirror can also help you notice your body language, like your posture and eye contact.

4. Review your resume

Interviewers typically bring a copy of your resume to the meeting and ask you specific questions about the information you included. It's also advisable to bring additional copies of your resume in case they don't have one, or if there are additional interviewers who may want a copy. It's important to check that it's error-free, updated, and accurately describes your achievements.

Confirm that you can speak confidently about each role, company, school, responsibility, and skill listed on your resume. For example, you may list "Conducted performance reviews for a team of ten" as a responsibility from a previous job. In this case, the interviewer might ask how you managed unique personality types or organized your time to finish the performance reviews on schedule.

5. Prepare questions for the interviewer

Interviewers may ask you if you have any questions for them at the end of an interview. Come prepared with a list of at least three questions related to the company, the department you'd be working in, or the position. This shows the interviewer that you're invested in the role and want to know more about the position. Wait for the interviewer to bring up information related to your wage and benefits. You typically learn more about this later in the hiring process, but you can prepare to discuss your expectations in case the hiring manager asks in the interview.

Some questions to consider asking include:

  • What would you expect me to achieve in the first 90 days?

  • How would you describe the company culture?

  • What unique skills do you hope a candidate brings to the team?

  • What do you enjoy most about working here?

  • What are the next steps in the hiring process?

Read more: 15 Best Questions To Ask at the End of an Interview

6. Study the job description

Ensure you've read and understood the job description. This includes studying the qualifications, requirements, summary, and any other relevant information. If a recruiter or hiring manager scheduled an interview, they likely think you could perform the necessary duties, and may ask about certain tasks or skills listed in the job description. If you're familiar with their listing, you can prepare detailed answers.

Similarly, interviewers want to see how you can apply your knowledge and abilities to succeed in the role. Reviewing what soft and hard skills they seek can help you think of scenarios where you applied them and prepare for behavioural questions.

Read more: Common Behavioural Interview Questions With Example Answers

7. Address your physical and mental needs

To ensure you arrive at an interview feeling your best, take care of any needs that may distract you during the interview. For example, prepare healthy meals high in protein and low in sugar to give your body the energy it needs. Plan to be in bed early the night before so you can wake up feeling rested and energized. Practise breathing techniques and meditate to calm any anxiety you may experience prior to the interview.

Related: How To Prepare for a Job Interview

8. Dress professionally

Dress professionally to show that you understand and respect the company culture. Consider purchasing business casual or business professional outfits for easy access if you receive an invitation to an interview. This provides you with more time to study the company, the job description, and their website. A professional dress code usually involves neutral colours like black, white, grey, or tan.

Depending on the industry, you might change your outfit to match the company culture. For example, if you interview for a role as a marketing professional for a fashion magazine, you might wear a style that shows your knowledge of current trends.

9. Practise driving the route

Depending on where you live in relation to the workplace, you may want to conduct a test run to avoid being late, especially if you live in a high-traffic area. If you need to use public transportation or have someone take you to the interview, factor in how these methods of transportation increase your overall travel time. Go one step further by practising your test run at the same time of day as your interview estimate how long it takes to get there. Once you get the company's address, plan or test your journey to see how long you take to get there.

10. Gather the essentials

This is an essential part of your interviewing checklist. Before you arrive at your interview, prepare the essentials. Some items you may need during your interview are as follows:

  • Five copies of your resume

  • Pen and paper

  • List of references

  • Questions for the interviewer

  • Bag or briefcase for your items

  • Personal hygiene items like breath mints or tissues

  • Creative portfolio, if applicable

  • Identification

11. Be confident

Being engaged in the interview shows that you're excited at the prospect of a new job. Smile, give a firm handshake, and speak clearly throughout your discussion. Companies hire people who show competence, and body language is an essential part of presenting yourself with confidence. Pay attention to the way you communicate with the interviewer to make sure you make a great first impression.

12. Write down your experience

Journalling or note-taking is a great way to remember details. After your interview, write down what happened. Reflecting on what went well and what you can improve can help give you confidence when preparing for your next interview. Here are a few questions you could consider answering in your notes:

  • What questions did they ask?

  • Which part did you struggle with the most?

  • Which part was easiest for you?

  • How can you improve for your next interview?

13. Send a thank-you note

Sending a thank-you note to hiring managers shows you appreciate their time and consideration. A handwritten note can show personalization, but an email is more efficient and can work, too. Be sure to mention something specific about their company or something that was said in the interview to make a better impression and show your sincerity.

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