Jul 212012

Do we really need a checklist of things to have and do prior to an interview?


For some, Interviews are the most challenging part of the job search and as a result the in-person interview proves to be a focal point of anxiety and stress. Many highly technical jobs like surgeons and pilots require them to complete a thorough checklists prior to starting their work. Professionals operate with systems to ensure the best possible outcome. So can you!

The best way to combat some of these insecurities and nerves is to make sure you’re as prepared as you can possibly be prior to going in. As simple as it may seem, you can’t just “wing it” at the last minute. Overlooking interview preparation can be the difference between getting a job and remaining unemployed.

The following is a list of things that you should have ready 24 hours before your interview so don’t find yourself scrambling at the last second.

Copies of Your Resume and References in a Professional Folder:

Now more than ever it seems like a growing number of people, especially younger people don’t own their own printers. If you don’t have a printer then you need to be aware of places that you can go to print out copies of your resume and list of references to present to the employer. Check out places like Staples, Office Depot, Fedex-Kinkos, the UPS store, etc.

If you have difficulty finding any of those places near you, consider asking a friend, neighbor, or family member who might have access to a printer.

Once you have three copies of your resume and three copies of your professional references put them in a nice folder. You don’t need to buy anything too snazzy but presentation of using a professional binder goes a long way. By doing this, you’ll demonstrate many intangible qualities like, you’ve got your act together, you’re serious about the job, and you’re organized.

Pen and Pad of Paper:

Even if you think you know the job up and down it’s still important to bring a pen and paper just in case you need to take notes. When you take notes while someone is speaking it appears that you’re listening intently and value the information enough to put it down to be looked at later.

Also, you never know what kinds of forms you may be asked to fill out so it’s always good to have a working pen handy.

Application and Forms:

This is only a request of an employer about a third of the time. Some employers may ask you to print out an application and fill it out prior to your arrival. This application would also sit in that folder you brought with you.

Your Interviewing Clothes:

What to wear to an interview can be a lengthy discussion on its own and we do cover that class in the Gigspire Program but you should set aside the clothes you plan on wearing. You want to inspect all the garments up and down and be sure the clothes fit prior to you heading off to your interview. There shouldn’t be any wrinkles, stains, odors, tears, etc. on the attire you’re interviewing in.

Most jobs for men: Dark Suit, ironed shirt, tie, dark socks, dress shoes.

Most jobs for women: Formal attire, conservative dress, nothing too low cut or short.

If you don’t own any of the above items check out thrift stores or discount stores for great deals. A simple google search should answer any further questions about this one.


If you’re taking the train or the bus make sure you know well in advance which stops you need to take and how long on average the commute will take. Give yourself plenty of time and bring a little extra cash in case time is tight and you need to grab a cab or you’ve run out of money on your quick pass for the bus or train.

If you’re driving and/or using GPS or your phone to get to the interview, make sure you also have a tangible or easily accessible copy of the directions in case your phone or GPS stops working at the worst time. We’ve all been there.

Give yourself plenty of time! Even if you know the area well and especially if you don’t; you want to arrive at least 15 minutes early to be sure you’re not stressing yourself out and racing through traffic just to be on time. You can’t plan on traffic jams, accidents, road work, etc, it’s just better to be early.

Information and Research:

Be sure to write down the names, job titles, and phone numbers of the people you’ve already talked to and who you’ll be interviewing with well in advance so you don’t have to scramble in case you’re asked who you’ve spoke to and which person(s) you’ll be seeing that day. It’s also good to have the phone number in case the “impossible” happens and you’re running behind.

We go over how to research the company and people within it prior to the interview extensively in the GigSpire Program but it’s a no brainer that you need to do some quality research before setting foot in front of anyone representing a company you want to work for.


You need to practice answers for some of the most basic questions and also have a list of your own questions for the interviewer about themselves or the company. There’s nothing wrong with having a cheat sheet with a few bullets but make sure it’s nothing more than an aide and not a full on crutch.

The Little Things:

  • Phone
  • Wallet
  • Identification (ID)
  • Gas in the car
  • Deodorant
  • Drink enough water
  • Eat breakfast
  • Brush your teeth