I read recently about the importance of checklists in complex processes. In 2001, though, a critical care specialist at Johns Hopkins Hospital named Peter Pronovost decided to create a checklist for basic sanitation in medical treatment. Infections cause thousands of deaths every year in hospitals nationwide, and he decided to see if checklists could ensure that every medical professional would take the precautions every time. After all, commercial and military pilots never take off without checking off every pre-flight item. According to the New Yorker article that told this story, the hospital estimated that the checklist had prevented forty-three infections and eight deaths, and saved two million dollars in costs in one hospital over a 15-month span. Your next job interview is not a matter of life or death, (although it may feel like it to you) but a checklist is a great idea to help you remember important steps no matter how nervous you are.
Checklist for a Great Interview
- Pick out interview clothing the night before; make sure it’s in good repair, clean, and that your shoes are shined. Lay a lint brush out for last minute lint or cat hairs.
- Print out 3 – 5 copies of your resume and references and a copy of the job posting and put them in a portfolio or folder. Lay out a pen to take with you (make sure it writes)
- Go online to get directions to company and plan driving route. Plan for parking if needed (change for the meter, etc.) Plan driving route based on heavy traffic, so you have plenty of time to get there.
- Browse the company’s website for information: products or services, locations, news, and mission and values may all be helpful in the interview. Write down the company address and phone number; keep the number handy so you can all in case you get lost or run late (which shouldn’t happened because you planned your route in advance.)
- Look up your interviewer on LinkedIn; you may learn things about her career or connections that you can discuss in the interview. You will at least recognize her when she comes out to greet you.
- Go over your resume and your accomplishments. Plan out some of the answers or themes you want to develop during the interview. Review the job posting; prepare some ideas about how your skills and experience are a good match.
- Review salary research for the occupation; get a feel for the range the job should pay.
- Prepare some questions to ask the interviewer.
- Get a good night’s sleep and eat a high-protein breakfast.
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