Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

The Ultimate Last-Minute Job Interview Checklist

checklistSuccess depends on preparation, said Confucious, and that bit of 2,500-year-old advice is especially true for job interviews.

The longer you have to prepare for an important interview, the better. But there’s lots you can do in a short space of time to improve your odds of getting the job.

“Even if you have less than a day before your interview, you can outshine the competition with a little preparation,” says

Let’s say you have limited time – one day or less – to prepare for an interview. The first thing to do is not panic. You’ve submitted your resume and been invited to an interview. You’re halfway home. All you need is a few final touches to make it across the finish line.

Last Minute Interview Checklist

The following six steps should require half a day or less.

  1. Do some quick research. Learn as much as you can about the firm and the person conducting the interview. Start with their website and social media presence. Study staff bios to see what type of person they hire. Do a Google search. Look for press releases and news articles. Read the job description carefully. If you’ve already done all this, do it again. Things might have changed since you last checked.
  2. Find out who you’ll be talking to. This might require a phone call. Will it be your manager or HR personnel? Try to identify things you have in common – hometown, schools attended – that can serve as icebreakers.
  3. Get directions to the office. Print them out, along with a contact telephone number. Depart early enough to deal with unexpected delays. You want to arrive calm and relaxed, with extra time to get mentally psyched.
  4. Practice your introduction. The goal is to make a great first impression. “Your immediate physical intimacy is with your handshake, so practice it on your family members,” says jobs blogger Don Goodman. “If you are concerned that your palms may be sweaty, sprinkle a little baby powder in your pocket. Makeeye contact and smile.People instinctively react well to happy, smiling people. Put some bounce in your step. Act like you are excited to be there and are filled with ideas.”
  5. Come up with positive stories about yourself. “Write down and memorize three achievement stories,” says this expert. “Talk about times you’ve really felt proud of an achievement at work or school. These stories demonstrate all those hard-to-measure qualities like judgment, initiative, teamwork or leadership. Wherever possible, quantify what you’ve done, e.g., ‘increased sales by 20 percent.’ Non-work achievement stories are good too. If you volunteer for the local food pantry, write down a time you overcame a big challenge or a crisis there.”
  6. Select your outfit and lay it out the night before. If you’re unsure about what to wear, dress up, not down. But don’t overdo it. You can always call the receptionist or administrative assistant and ask about the dress code. Chances are, they’ll be happy to help.

Finally, take three deep breaths and tell yourself, “I’ve got this.”

What items would you add to the last-minute checklist?


About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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