A 12-Step Checklist For Interviews To Prepare Yourself Better

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 29 October 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Being successful at a job interview means preparing well, including spending your time, energy and focus to train yourself. You may focus on things like the way you dress, preparing for tough questions and researching the company and the role. It helps to have a list to check if you have covered all the important parts of your preparation. In this article, we list 12 steps of preparing for a job interview that you can use to increase your chances of success.

What Is A Checklist For Interviews?

A checklist for interviews is a set of specific steps involved in the various stages of a job interview. It covers everything from the way you dress and other physical aspects to things like being prepared to answer tough questions. This is useful as it removes any uncertainty about whether your preparation covers all the important parts of the upcoming interview, and can increase your confidence before you face the interviewer or hiring committee.

Related: Interviewing Techniques To Help You Succeed In Interviews

The 12-Step Checklist For Interviews

You can effectively increase your chances of a successful interview if you cover the following 12 steps:

1. Spend time on research

When you begin your preparation, set some time aside for research. Discover and analyse the company itself, and even the specific role you are applying to. This is the most important part of any checklist for interviews. Interviewers understand your interest in getting hired when they see that you know the about company and the role.

Go through the company's website, their social media pages and other sources of information. Get familiar with their products and services, their position in the industry and the stakeholders you are likely to work with. Your attention to detail is likely to impress the interviewer and therefore increase your chances of success.

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2. Prepare questions for practice

With a bit of research, you can use this technique to increase your confidence. Start by searching for typical interview questions for the role. You can look online and ask colleagues and friends with experience in the industry. Using this information, try to frame some interview questions of your own. Now, when the interviewer asks you the same question or a similar one during the interview, you are ready to answer it with ease.

3. Practice giving your answers aloud

When you prepare your answers for the questions you have put together, practice by speaking your answers out aloud. Prepare as if you are at the interview, sit facing a table and deliver your answers the same way you plan on doing that during the interview. You can ask a friend or a loved one to help you do this and take their feedback if possible to make any necessary modifications to your answer for improvements.

Related: Essential Tips To Avoid Being Over-Prepared For An Interview

4. Prepare questions to ask the interviewer

Typical interviews today are more than a one-way conversation with you answering questions asked by the interviewer. Many hiring experts ask candidates if they have questions towards the end of the interview. You can try asking questions about the role, the team you are about to join, the company or any other question you may have regarding the work culture or other aspects. This shows that you are interested in contributing meaningfully to the company's success.

Try to focus your questions on your work, and not on details like your pay package, benefits and working hours. The company would give you all that information when they hire you. Use the questions you get as an opportunity to show your readiness and passion for the role you are applying to.

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5. Give attention to the job description

Read the job description more than once or twice. Make sure you do the following to scrutinise all the job details carefully:

  • Evaluate if you have the right experience for the job.

  • Check if you satisfy the minimum ‘years of experience' condition.

  • Understand the skills you require to excel in the role.

  • Check if your work style fits your potential new role.

  • Prepare questions beforehand about the details you do not understand well.

  • Prepare a plan for overcoming your inexperience in a certain aspect of the role, as this is better than just admitting your possible lack of experience.

  • Try to understand where you fit in among the company's teams, and how you can contribute both within and outside of your role.

6. Prepare both your body and mind

Before you walk into an interview room, you require preparing physically and mentally to do your best. A high-protein and low-carb diet can help you feel light, content and full of energy. Breathing techniques can help you calm down so you can focus on the answers and can successfully impress your prospective employer. Get a good night's sleep, so you can wake up refreshed and ready for the challenge.

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7. Plan your outfit for the interview

The way you look communicates subtle details about your personality and attitude to someone evaluating you. Look at the company's dressing culture if possible, and try to create a look that fits well with this. If you are unsure what to wear, it is safe to pick business casual clothes with a neutral colour palette such as shades of black, grey or blue.

Examples for men include formal shirts, pants and shoes with an optional tie or blazer. For women, examples include skirts or pants, a blazer and a suitable pair of heels or flat shoes. Whatever you choose to wear, make sure you look neat and well-groomed. Ensure that your clothes are clean and ironed and do not have any stains or cuts.

8. Pack all the essentials

No interview checklist is complete without a list of all the things you require to take. Make sure your list covers:

  • Printed copies of your resume.

  • Soft copies of your resume ready to email whenever required.

  • Stationery like pens and some paper.

  • Printed and digital versions of your references.

  • A bag, briefcase or backpack to carry your required items to the interview.

  • Personal hygiene items like deodorant spray, breath mints and tissues, or wet wipes.

  • Your portfolio.

  • Address and identity proof, such as your government-issued driving license.

  • Your school and college mark sheets if required.

  • A bottle of water.

Take a quick look at this list before you leave your house, and you would not require to worry about whether you have packed everything you need. Then, you are free to focus on making a good impression at the interview.

Related: How to Prepare and Practise for a Mock Interview

9. Make travel preparations in advance

Especially if you live far away from the company's office space or if there is a lot of traffic along this route, plan your commute in advance. If you require taking a cab, bus, train or auto-rickshaw, consider doing a test run before the day of your interview. This takes some effort and commitment, but it is a good way to make sure that you arrive on time or early when you walk in for your interview.

If you decide to do a test run, do this on a day and time with similar road conditions as your scheduled interview. If you are using multiple modes of transportation, check how much time each part of your commute takes so you can plan the journey accurately.

10. Present the best version of yourself

Attempt to demonstrate your interest in the role with a realistic approach. Be authentic and calm and maintain positive body language. Relax and smile when appropriate, practice a firm and confident handshake, sit comfortably without slouching and speak clearly. This helps you show the interviewer your confidence and your ability.

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11. Take notes

Once the interview is over, take notes on the experience. Write down what you did well and even the areas where you can improve. With your memory fresh from the interview, write the specific questions you found difficult to answer. All of this can help you in further interview rounds and other job interviews.

12. Follow up with your interviewer

Most interviewers are available to contact via email after the interview. If you can contact the person who interviewed you, use this as an opportunity to get in touch. You can write to them a few days after the interview, thanking them for the opportunity and their time. If it is possible, consider sending them a personal note, asking about your performance and areas you can work on. This helps you stand out among other candidates, which is useful as it shows that you are serious about the job opportunity.

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