This post is Part 6 in our 7 part series on how to manage your job search.

Interview Checklist

There is so much great advice out there on how to interview. But I think it’s worth reiterating some advice to drive the point home and to give other advice that I don’t believe is highlighted enough.

1. Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

Research: I’m not just talking about researching the basic information about the company. I’m talking about doing an incredible amount of work to study the company: you need to know the individuals, their business model, their successes/failures, the culture, marketing, public relations, industry trends, etc. You will be asked about them so do your homework and let yourself shine as to the depth of your insight on the company. Hopefully you are following our Jobspeaker recommended process for managing your job search and you already know several people at the company, so digging out some of this information and getting more insight should be a breeze.

Prepare Yourself: If this is THE job, then make sure you have gone through several mock interviews with friends, colleagues, counselors and even some warm-up interviews (preferably in the same industry or job specification). Doing so will enable you to rehearse some answers and judge the interviewers response or get some feedback, plus it will give you good insight as to what questions the companies are likely to ask. But above all it will get you into Interview Mode.

Interview Mode is a different state of being – you should be yourself but you have to take on a positive, enthusiastic, always getting-things-done persona. Some of you may say that it’s mis-representing yourself but that’s not true – everyone has bad days, but in an interview situation you need to show your best side. So, getting into that mode takes time, takes practice and is sometimes draining especially if you are someone who is not used to talking about yourself the whole time. But when you interview, that’s what you are expected to do and do it naturally.

And a few logistics that people sometimes forget:

2. Know how long it will take to get there
I was 4 hours late for my first job interview because I missed the train (I still got hired but that was a very bad first impression).

3. Dress appropriately
Always dress above the dress code for the office. But not too much above! Showing up in a 3 piece suit at an employer where the employees wear t-shirts and jeans can be almost as bad as showing up in shorts and flip flops where they wear suits. First impressions last so be presentable: clean, neat and friendly.

4. Leave your ego at the door
There are exceptions to every rule, but most employers don’t want to hire an egotistical maniac. If you can really walk on water while spinning plates, good for you; but to most interviewers that does not go over well. Zappos, a sensation in the online clothing industry, says in order to judge the humility of their candidates they ask the driver who brings the candidate to/from the job interview how they were treated and if they were not treated with respect then they do not hire (despite how great the candidate might seem otherwise).

5. Say Thank You
Don’t forget to get the interviewer(s) contact information so that you can send a thank you note. Some say a hand-written note is best but I haven’t received a hand written note in years. It really depends on your industry, your location and the norms for that company, position or region. Most times a hand-written note is positive but sometimes a well written concise email is more appropriate.

6. Be Yourself
Hopefully by the time you interview at this company, you have networked your way in and so other people in the company know you, like you and think you’d be a good fit. So don’t try to be someone else, just be yourself.

Usually I’d say Good Luck, but luck favors those who are well prepared so do you homework.

Step 7: Congratulations – you now have an offer for a job, should you accept?

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