I’m young, I’m fresh, I’m ready to go! No wait, let me change my top, it’s not right. What was the name of the founder of the company again? Crap… my bike tires are flat. Nevermind, I’ll walk, I have to go… Where are my keys?! These were all the things running through my mind two minutes before I left for my first job interview as a graduate. Whether it was because I hadn’t prepared enough or just because I was ridiculously nervous, I knew I needed some kind of kick-ass check list for next time. So after my interview, with a packet of M&M’s and a cup of tea, I wrote all the things I should do/remember next time.

1. Know your sh*t!

Research the company, its (important) employees and the job beforehand – be prepared to answer questions about the organisation. Don’t worry it’s not a test, but it shows your interest!

2. Dress to impress

Dress accordingly. Being overdressed is always better than underdressed – it shows that you care. Also, pick out your outfit the night before, it will save you a lot of time in the morning!

Tip: If you’re interviewing at a startup, suiting up is generally not the way to go, keep it more on the casual side. If you’re interviewing for a law firm, suiting up is your best bet.

3. Don’t be late for this date

Make sure you’re on time! Take an earlier train/bus/tram than you usually do. It doesn’t only ensure that you arrive on time, but it will also help you keep your cool. No one wants to show up sweaty and red faced. (Also know where you’re going!)

4. Show interest!

When waiting at the reception for your interview to start, don’t read a magazine or stare at your phone, instead look around you! This way you express extra interest in the company (and its environment) and you can see whether you would see yourself working in that environment.

5. Body language is key!

Like your mum taught you – don’t slouch and keep your hands on top of the table. That way you show confidence and open body language. Also, don’t forget to make eye contact with the interviewer, but don’t overdo it – after all, you don’t want to seem creepy.

6. It’s all about you!

Think of at least three of your strengths that would contribute to the company and to the job before the interview. If you can, think of examples where these strengths came in handy, even better!

7. Know your weaknesses!

Your weaknesses can be points of improvements. If it comes up in the interview, explain that you believe this job will help you develop and improve those points. If you can give examples how you’ve overcome weakness before, bring those up.

8. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Try and prepare them beforehand. Make them count.

9. Focus

Don’t get distracted by other people outside the interview. Minimize distractions for yourself by turning off your phone or putting it on silent mode as well.

10. Stay strong

If something doesn’t go according to plan or you feel like you haven’t answered the question sufficiently, don’t let it rattle you. Take a deep breath and a sip of water and carry on with confidence.

Finally, remember this: They asked YOU to come in for an interview. They are already interested, so keep them interested. Show your full potential! Good luck!!