"Must Not Miss" Interview Prep Checklist
In my tenure as manager, I've participated as a panelist in my fair share of interviews for nurse practitioner positions. During interviews, you have one opportunity to leave a [positive] first impression on your potential employer. When it comes to in-person interviews, panel members and individual interviewers are looking for several things. First, they are trying to gauge how interested you are in the position. Second, they are evaluating how qualified you are for said position. Lastly, they are figuring out if you are a potential fit for their team. All of these factors are essential to consider as you prepare for your in-person interview. To assist with this preparation, I've compiled a list of "must not miss" checklist items:
It might sound obvious, but no matter how many times you have interviewed in the past, actually spend time preparing for your upcoming interview. I'd like to emphasize that you can never be too prepared for an interview. In this case, more is better. Preparation means researching the employer, anticipating potential questions you may be asked, creating a list of example answers for questions, etc. Alternatively, when you do not prepare, the lack of preparation can be easily apparent to the interviewers. And trust me, it will not boost your potential for hire.
Bring your resume
Imagine if an interviewer asked you to provide a copy of your resume, and you simply respond saying, "I'm so sorry, I don't have a resume copy with me." That's not exactly a great way to start an interview. I've seen it happen, and it immediately changes the vibe of the interview from the start. Don't be caught in this scenario. Bring all of the necessary documents that would highlight your experience, such as your resume, reference letters, or cover letters. It pays off to spend a little more time preparing and bringing these copies in a neatly arranged portfolio (no matter how digital our world is becoming).
Dress to impress
Another obvious item, but don't take this one lightly. There's a very thin line between dressing professionally, and dressing casually. If you're not familiar with the work attire of the employer, it pays to visit the employer ahead of time and observe the clothes that the staff are wearing. Are they wearing more professional and formal outfits? Or do you see that they are dressed-down? Make these observations, and generally you will be able to have a better sense of what to wear on interview day. Nevertheless, if you're really uncertain, it is always safer to err on the professional side. I have never been in an interview where my first impression of a candidate was negatively impacted by the candidate dressing "too professionally."
From the time that you leave your front door, to the time you enter the interviewer's office, a lot can happen. Traffic can build up, your clothes might get stained, a document might be forgotten. Anticipate for these potential emergencies. Always arrive early to an interview. Several employers have a time limit where they determine if an interview needs to be rescheduled or canceled. You do not want to close an opportunity for interviewing just because you didn't get there on-time - it's a huge waste of time and effort on your part. So take this time to get there as early as possible. And no matter what reason you have for being late, you never want the employer to believe that you do not value their time.
You can learn a lot from an interview based on a candidate's answers as well as their prepared questions. An interview is not a one-way street. If you are truly interested in this position, show it! Prepare a list of essential questions to ask your interviewers so that you can determine if this job is the right fit for you. Having questions prepared shows a lot of great qualities about you as a candidate - it shows that you have initiative, that you're not just looking to accept any job offer, and that you have really spent time thinking about the position and weighing your pros and cons.
I could go on and on about checklist items for an interview, but I have found that these specific tips definitely ought to be under your "must not miss" radar. While these specific items may appear obvious, it is a great reminder for things to keep in mind before the big interview day. Most importantly, do your best - you have already captured the employer's interest, so use all of your preparation to seal the deal!