It’s not really cheating. It’s a checklist to make sure you’re on track and staying focused. Preparing a sheet will help you feel prepared and confident. This is not a sheet to be memorized or checked during the interview, but used as an aid to remind you of key facts.
Cheat Sheet Contents
Prepared during the days before the interview
• Job Posting – “What they are looking for.” Compare against your qualifications – “What you have to offer.”
• Research the company; the industry, the competition.
• Prepare your “60 second personal statement” – “Tell me about yourself”
• Write at least five success stories to answer behavioral interview questions. (“Tell me about a time when…,” or “Can you give me an example of a time….”)
• List 10 questions to ask the interviewer about the job; the company; the industry.
• Research salary data – jobstar.org – Know your worth.
• Know your salary needs, based on your living expenses – your bottom line.
• Get permission from your references to use their names.
Checklist before you leave for the interview
• Appearance – check yourself in the mirror – part of your confidence will come from looking good.
• Item to carry to the interview
Several copies of your resume on good paper
Copy of your references
Pad of paper to take notes (notes are optional)
Directions/map to the interview site
• Answers to the 10 most common interview questions
Tell me about yourself.
Why did you leave/are you leaving your last position?
What do you know about this company?
What are your goals?
What are your strengths/weaknesses?
Why do you want to work for this company?
What has been your most significant achievement?
How would your last boss/colleagues describe you?
Why should we hire you?
What is your salary expectation?
• Arrive early, enter the building 10 minutes before your appointment.
• Review your preparation stories and answers.
• Go to the restroom and check your appearance one last time.
• Announce yourself to the receptionist in a professional manner
• Stand and greet your interviewer with a hearty (not bone crushing) handshake.
• Smile and look into the interviewer’s eyes – note the color.
During the Interview
• Try to focus on the points youhave prepared without being rehearsed or stiff.
• Relax and enjoy the conversation. Learn what you can about the company.
• Ask questions and listen; read between the lines.
• At the conclusion, thank the interviewer and find out about the next step.
• Ask for the interviewer’s card (to send the follow up letter).
After the Interview
• As soon as possible, write down what you are thinking and feeling.
• Later in the day, look at what you wrote and assess how you did.
• Write a follow up/thank you letter. Remind the interviewer of your qualities.
This sheet will work as your road map through the interviewing process. This type of preparation will pay off. Being prepared will boost your confidence and, in turn, you will be able to be more relaxed and make a positive impression.
Carole Martin is an expert on the subject of interviewing. Her websitewww.InterviewCoach.com has a wealth of information available to you. She has authored three books on the subject of interviewing – “Interview Fitness Training”- “Boost Your Interview IQ.” – “Perfect Phrases for the Perfect Interview” (March 2005).