Use this Interview Preparation Checklist to help you get the job offer.
If you want more interactive interview preparation, click here.
On average a hiring manager receives 250 resumes for one open position and will select six people to interview.
An invitation to interview is a win!
To help you ace the interview I’ve put together an interactive interview preparation checklist. It includes practical interview tips and 12 steps to prepare for a job interview.
Use this interview preparation checklist to:
- Create the best answers to interview questions,
- Avoid common interview mistakes, and
- Polish your professional narrative to highlight why you are the most qualified person for the job.
Let’s get started!
Interview Preparation Contents
This interview preparation checklist guide is created to help people:
- From different industries,
- With different backgrounds, and
- With different learning styles,
Develop interview skills and get the job offer.
To help everyone succeed an audio option is provided.
To activate the audio option highlight words on the page and click the play button. The words you highlighted will be read aloud.
The Best Answers to Interview Questions
The Best Answers to Interview Questions
Preparing for a job interview is overwhelming especially if you have a short window of time for your interview preparation. In order to be the person that gets the job offer you need to have the best answers to the interviewer’s questions. Before you jump straight to the interview preparation checklist take a minute to learn my interview answer format. You’ll be glad you did!
The best answers to interview questions are always:
- Clear and concise.
- Detailed with examples of work achievements that relate to the responsibilities of the job.
The best answers to interview questions make it simple for the interviewer to understand you:
- Know what the position requires,
- Are experienced,
- Are capable of follow-through and meeting the responsibilities of the position,
- Are results-driven,
- Learn from each work project,
- Apply what you learn to future work projects, and
- Have initiative because your answers demonstrate you took the time to research the company and the position’s requirements.
I am a fan of the STAR technique to answer interview questions however I believe the STAR technique falls short.
The STAR technique does not include what was learned and how the lessons learned can be applied in the future.
As an entrepreneur, for the last seven years, my operational processes have always included “Sunrise Sessions.”
Sunrise Sessions are dedicated time for the team to get together and openly discuss:
- What went well in a project,
- Of what went well in a project what we could have tweaked to get even better results,
- What went wrong in a project,
- Why something went wrong,
- What we learned from what went wrong, and
- How we could have adjusted our approach to mitigate what went wrong.
Sunrise Sessions take a decent amount of time but save countless hours of future time and prevent future mistakes.
By intentionally learning and growing from the good and bad in every project we proactively work to be better in the future. We learn how we can avoid making the same mistakes and to proactively identify possible problem areas that could result in wasted time, money, and poor outcomes. The practice of reflecting on lessons learned and applying what is learned in the future become habits that give the team, independently and collaboratively, tools to maximize outcomes.
There is a huge positive impact to the bottom-line when an employee learns and grows from when they do well and when they perform poorly.
Inversely there is a huge negative impact to the bottom-line when an employee does not learn and grow from when they do well and when they perform poorly.
Employees that do not learn from their good and bad experiences generally end up becoming headaches for HR. They are apathetic, lack professional drive, and do the bare minimum at work or they are overly confident, make the same mistakes over and over, do not ask for help, and do not share when they’ve made a mistake.
Interviewees that naturally address lessons learned and that map out actionable growth opportunities help me move them away from the “headache pool” to the must hire pool.
I have even hired less experienced interviewees because they exhibited strong reflection skills and an intention to grow. I have never regretted these hiring decisions. Interviewees with interview answers that share their lessons learned, how they applied those lessons learned, and more importantly how they intend to apply their lessons learned to the responsibilities of the position will always move to the top of my decision pool.
Based on my experiences I have modified the well-known STAR technique to create an interview answer format that sells an interviewee’s capabilities in a natural, authentic, professional, and growth-oriented way.
Best answers to interview questions format:
S: Situations, share a true story that details a situation in your work history where you had to achieve one of the position’s most important success drivers
T: Tasks, share the tasks you performed to achieve the success driver and why you performed them
A: Actions, share the actions and steps you took to complete the tasks and successfully reach the success driver
R: Results, share the results you achieved, make sure they are quantitative metrics that reflect or relate to the success driver
L: Lessons, share the lessons and strategies you learned
A: Application and Achievements, share how you applied lessons and strategies you learned to achieve better results in another project, share how you will apply lessons and strategies you learned to important responsibilities of the position you are interviewing for to achieve even better/ faster/ other results
Use the STARLA technique to create the best answers to interview questions.
When utilized correctly the STARLA technique is certain to make you a standout. Your qualifications, achievements, abilities, and potential will be clear to the interviewer.
A: Application and Achievements
When a hiring manager makes a new hire the hire reflects on their skills and abilities.
If the hire is good the hiring manager will be seen as capable and skilled. If the hire is bad it reflects poorly on the hiring manager’s abilities. If the hire is a nightmare the hire can result in the hiring manager being fired.
It’s your job to convince the hiring manager that it would be a mistake not to hire you, that you will be an asset to the company, that you will excel in the position, and will reflect well on them. In order to do this you have to avoid common interview mistakes.
The most common interview mistakes are:
• Not researching the company,
• Not researching the person that will interview you,
• Not being familiar with the responsibilities in the job description,
• Not being familiar with the success drivers of the
position so that you can highlight your relevant qualifications,
• Not creating a concise professional narrative that relates to the job you are interviewing for,
• Not preparing examples of achievements from your work history that highlight your ability to meet the position’s requirements,
• Not preparing supplementary interview materials,
• Not confirming interview logistics, and
• Not following up after the interview.
The interview preparation checklist below helps you avoid interview mistakes.
The interactive version of the interview preparation checklist walks you through interview preparation steps. When you complete the interview preparation checklist you will have avoided all common interview mistakes and developed a foundation to create the best job-specific answers to interview questions.
Interview Preparation Checklist Overview
Interview Preparation Checklist
This interview preparation checklist is intended to be a practical “how to” interview coaching guide. It walks you through 12 steps to prepare for a job interview.
To accommodate all interview preparation styles I created both a non-interactive interview preparation checklist (below) and an interactive interview preparation checklist.
If you want to avoid common interview mistakes and impress the interviewer, dedicate time to complete the interview preparation checklist.
How to Prepare for a Job interview, Interview Preparation Checklist:
- Research the Company and Learn the Fundamentals
- Research and Know Your Interviewer
- Make Sure You Know Exactly What the Job Requires
- Identify the Job’s Success Drivers
- Match Your Skills and Experience to the Success Driver of the Job’s Three Most Important Responsibilities
- Practice Answering Commonly Asked Interview Questions
Common Interview Questions
First 90 Days Interview Questions
Qualification Interview Questions
Job Description Knowledge Interview Questions
- Select, Practice, and Master Three Questions to Ask the Interview
Master the One Question You Must Ask the Interviewer
Select and master a second question to ask the interviewer based on what is important to you
Select and master a third question to ask the interviewer based on what is important to you
- Make Your Social Media Profile Interview Ready
Polish your professional profiles on sites like LinkedIn and Indeed
If you have a Website portfolio make sure it is updated
Make sure your social media profiles are consistent with what you say and portray in your interview
To avoid having an interviewer’s opinion of your social media accounts impact their decision to hire you make your social media profiles, images, videos, and messages private
- Prepare Your Interview Materials
Print at least two copies of your resume (at minimum one for you and one for the interviewer)
Print letters of recommendations
- Confirm what you will wear to your interview
Select a backup interview outfit in case something happens to your first choice
Do not apply cologne or perfume on the day of your interview (you do not want to accidentally give the interviewer an allergic reaction)
Confirm what you will eat prior to your interview to ensure you have healthy sustainable energy to perform your best (make sure to avoid strong smelling foods)
- Confirm Your Interview Logistics
To ensure you arrive to an in-person interview 10 minutes early know where you are going, how long it will take you to commute, what the parking situation is like, and how-to access the office within the building (if building check-in is applicable)
If it is a phone or video interview confirm a quiet location with an electrical outlet where you will have your interview
If it is a video interview complete a virtual video interview set-up checklist to make sure you’re comfortable with the video interview format and come across professional
- Send a Thank You for the Interview
Email the interviewer a thank you that follows up on interview details
Standout by mailing the interviewer a “handwritten” thank you note
Interview Preparation Checklist (Interactive + Steps)
How to prepare for a job interview
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Interview Preparation Worksheet
Interactive: Interview Preparation Checklist
Practice Your Professional Narrative with Our Audio Recorder
Practice Makes Perfect
When you complete the interactive Interview Preparation Checklist you create three “scripts” that connect your work history, skills, and experience to the most important responsibilities of the job you are interviewing for.
These three “scripts” should be used as talking points to help you concisely tell, and sell, your professional narrative and make it easy for the interviewer to understand why they should hire you.
To become comfortable with telling, and selling, the interviewer your professional narrative practice your professional narrative “scripts”. Use the recorder below to practice and fine-tune how you tell your professional narrative.
Read your “scripts” aloud while recording yourself. Are you reading clearly and confidently? Do you sound excited when you’re sharing your accomplishments? When you can answer “Yes” to these questions, put down your notes and practice saying the information on your own. Focus on the talking points you created.
Repeat the process until you feel that you sound clear, confident, and have natural professional excitement.
This process may feel awkward and may be overwhelming. These feelings are natural. Preparing for a job interview is not something we do everyday. Be patient with yourself and be proud of every step you take to develop your interview skills. Your interview preparation will pay off!
Practice Your Professional Narrative
1.) Complete the Interactive Interview Preparation Checklist
2.) Access your three professional narrative “scripts”
3.) Click record and practice
4.) Work on sounding clear, confident, and having natural professional excitement
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Now It’s Your Turn
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Preparing for a job interview isn’t about how much you spend on an interview coach.
Successful interview preparation that results in a job offer is about developing your interview skills to ace the most important aspects of an interview:
- A polished professional narrative that relates your work history to the responsibilities of the position,
- Having the best answers to interview questions, and
- Not making common interview mistakes.
I hope you got value out of this interview preparation checklist.
Did you learn something?
Do you have a question about the STARLA technique or what to input to the interactive interview preparation checklist ?
Let me know in the comments below. I’ll respond!