How To Ace An Interview - The Checklist

Posted by

A job interview is a screening tool. For you, it's an opportunity to assess whether or not you want to work for a company. For the employer, it's an opportunity to decide whether or not they want to hire you. Both sides are looking for a match. You can ace an interview and win the job you want even in this economy; even with the competition that wants the same job as you. You will have to work hard, but it can be done. Know that the work you do upfront and afterwards will make the "during" (while you are interviewing) much easier for you. Here's a checklist to help you: I. PREPARE BEFOREHAND - Do your homework and find out who you will be interviewing with. You are looking for job title, responsibilities, accomplishments, as well as anything else that impresses you about this person. - Know as much about the company as possible. Get on their web site and memorize their products and services. Look at their press release section for news. Talk to a few people about what they know. Look online for comments, discussions, blogs, forums, and additional insights. Don't just look for good news. Look for challenges that the company is facing, and think about how you might contribute to their success. - Write out the top 3 points you want to make sure you get across. - Write down what makes you different or unique. - Have a story/example for each bullet on the job description and each bullet in you resume. Include the challenges you were up against, the action you took to solve these challenges, and the results you achieved. - Write down answers to questions such as your strengths, weaknesses, where you want to be in the future, etc. The questions that employers don't always feel comfortable asking. The same questions you don't always feel comfortable answering. Nevertheless, expect to be asked these questions anyway. - Write down the answers to the questions you don't want to be asked. If you have a gap in your resume, have a good response for when you are asked about it. If you were fired, be prepared to tell the employer why with a positive spin. Don't shy away from these questions and hope they won't be asked. Expect them to be posed to you and have your answers mapped out and ready to go. - Write down questions to ask the interviewer; three to five should do. Questions like, "What are you looking for in a candidate?" OR "What's the biggest challenge you are facing right now?" These questions may be answered during the interview, and other questions may come up as the discussion progresses, but these questions will give you a place to start. - Write down an introduction; an opener that says who you are and what you do. Include your past title, the type of work you have been doing, why you are excited to be interviewing with this company. II. DURING THE INTERVIEW. - Be upbeat, passionate, and excited to be there. - Use your prepared introduction and introduce yourself. - Right after your introduction; say something flattering to the interviewer. Reveal what you like about the person or the company. Include what impresses you the most. Sincere flattery starts the interview off in a positive way. - Answer questions and ask them. Remember, it's a two way conversation, and an opportunity for both parties to see if there is a match. Don't forget to listen and let the interviewer talk. - Make sure you cover anything that was not discussed in the interview before you leave. For example, did you cover your 3 points? Did you tell the interviewer what makes you different? Did you handle all objections properly? Did you ask the questions you wanted to ask? Cover this now; afterwards may be too late. - Tell the interviewer again why you want the job. - Ask what the hiring process is, and when you can follow up with them again. III. AFTER THE INTERVIEW. - Send a thank-you note. Email one version and also send a handwritten version. Thank you cards work well here. - Include in your email anything you left out during the interview. Add credibility to your email by mentioning something specific the interviewer said that impressed you. - If you promised to follow up on a specific day and time, keep that promise. - Continue interviewing. No matter how great an interview went, no matter how many people told you that you are "the one," you do not have the job until you have formally been given a job offer in writing. Don't let everything ride on one job. Keep going until you are officially employed.

Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

  • Sankalp
    A very good article
  • Sutarto
    What are common questions during an interview and can you give the answers them?
  • Ellie
    Excellent article.  I had an interview last week, and if I had followed your advice, I might have been hired.  Luckily, I have another interview next week.  I'm sure I'll have a much better chance of getting the job this time, after reading your article and putting it into practice.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  If I get the job, I'll let you know!
  • Tennille A.
    Tennille A.
    Very Good Article! It reinforced many of the points I heard about during my job placement training. I did all of the above but was sabotaged when my interviewer droppped out at last minute, negating all of this good advice! But I will keep forging ahead!
  • Jacqueline
    Prior to this article I conducted interviews a different way. Now that I have read this article I realize that I've been leaving out vital details.  This article changed my interview method and gives me the confidence for the next interview I have. Thank you
  • Manuel Vera
    Manuel Vera
    Very good article. Came just in time since I have an interview in two days. I've have preped but this will help me improve. Thanks.
  • LaDonna Shirley
    LaDonna Shirley
    Thank you so much for this information! I have been unemployed for over 6 months and have had several interviews.  I have an interview tomorrow and I am definitely going to use some of your pointers to assist me in obtaining this position.  I am really excited to show off what I have read..
  • Wenda Zonnefeld
    Wenda Zonnefeld
    Excellent article. I work freelance and now realize that when I interviewed well, I had been doing just what this article said.  Now that there is a "checklist", I'll make sure all interviews go well.
  • Abdul Rasheed
    Abdul Rasheed
    Nice tips
  • Deb Shapiro
    Deb Shapiro
    Thank you for this very well written piece - probably the most relavent and consise I've seen; and just in time to prepare for another first interview tomorrow. Your advice here really helps to bring the focus needed in preparation for, during and as follow up in the interview process - a real sales tool to help me sell my skills and determine a right fit.
  • Sandi
    Wow! This is one of the best online articles pertaining to the interview process that I have read. Really great stuff here and it help provoke a few ideas for my next interview. Thank you so much....
  • Melinda McAnnally
    Melinda McAnnally
    This is valuable information for interviews, something I do not always do well.  Could have used it last year!  Right now, I can not work, but I will keep this article for the future.  Thank you to whomever wrote this.
  • Marco Rodriguez
    Marco Rodriguez
    Good, precise and most importantly concise advice here. I will try to apply any or all, as appropriate, in future interviews. Thank you, Marco.
  • LindaE
    Great suggestions. Unfortunately, I have done all these things and more over the past 18 months of unemployment, to no avail. My one question is: how do you overcome age discrimination? As someone over 50, I have lost jobs I was supremely qualified for to people in their 20s with almost no experience. How do you overcome this bias, which is business as usual these days.
  • mivchael pollard
    mivchael pollard
    Retiring in June of 2011 after 44 years as a high school teacher; now seeking a 2nd career either in education on the collegiate level or in industry. Your info is valuable, thanks
  • Deborah M.
    Deborah M.
    Thank you so much!  I have been unemployed for some time and have read a lot of suggestions for interviewing.  This is the very best I have read! Wish I had read in about a week ago. I'm sure my interview would have gone much better.  I will definitely use this advice going forward.  Thanks again.  Debbie
  • lee williams
    lee williams
    this was information that was right on time I have a very important interview coming up on Wed. I did do some prep work however your post gave me some more prep work to do. Thanks again
  • shannon veneri
    shannon veneri
    Extremely helpful! I just wish I had seen this article a couple of days ago! I just had an interview and they asked the same questions that was covered in the article!
  • Patricia Miceli
    Patricia Miceli
    Very helpful exercise to do for developing great interviewing skills which will help me, the person being interviewed, be more in control of the process.  Thank you so much for this invaluable tool.
  • Ruth Nicolosi
    Ruth Nicolosi
    Great advice. I had an interview last Friday at 2:00 in the afternoon, after my husband and I had been running around all day.The questions were kind of hard, I had a hard time focusing, but I felt like the interview went okay, but could have been better. when I got home, I e-mailed the interviewer to thank her and wrote some things I wanted to say, but didn't. Last week she called back and next week I am "job shadowing" someone.
  • radgie malveda
    radgie malveda
    The last time i have been interviewed for a job was 15 years ago. i just recently lost my job, now i don't really have an idea how the jobs interview goes nowadays, this is really a big help for me for my up coming interview, Thanks.
  • Delores Perkins
    Delores Perkins
    I had a interview the other day and was asked: If under a serious time constraint and all of a sudden you were out of time and had no resources ,What would you do?  How would you answer that question?
  • Sandra
    Thanks for this helpfll information, I will use them for my next interview. I have been looking for a dental hygienist job position for 6 months now, no luck. I am awful on interview.
  • Marie Rosen
    Marie Rosen
    Great info that I have used and am successful ...but NOW I need to see the same for "phone" interviews....I tend to talk "over" the interviewer ( a very bad thing to do! ) but without 'seeing' them it is difficult. Need pointers for phone interviews please.  Thanks
  • sonya
    Good article

Jobs to Watch