Even when you’re totally prepared for your job interviews, it’s easy to forget one little thing that can mess you up. Do you have your résumé handy? Some way to take notes?

And of course what you need for your interview depends on what kind of interview it is. Are you interviewing in person? On the phone? On a video call?

These interview checklists will help you make sure you don’t forget anything for your next job interview.

What kind of interview are you preparing for?

In-person interviews

Here’s an interview checklist to make sure you’re prepared for your in-person interviews:

  • Be 15 minutes early
  • Bring copies of your résumé
  • Bring a notebook and pen
  • Dress one level above the company dress code

Be 15 minutes early

Want to make a good first impression? Be 15 minutes early to every in-person interview to show them that you’re a punctual professional they can depend on. This will allow you time to check in, get a visitor’s badge, and handle anything else you need to handle before your interview. It will also give you a buffer in case you run into traffic or get lost on your way there.

Bring copies of your résumé

You probably already submitted your résumé online or emailed it in, but sometimes the specific person who interviews you won’t have a copy.

So bring a few copies of your résumé to hand out if you need them. Not only will this help your interviews go more smoothly, but it will remind your interviewers that you’re a professional who came prepared.

Bring a notebook and pen

You’ll need something to carry those copies of your résumé, so you might as well keep them in a notebook. Take notes in your interview any time something interesting comes up. If you’re asked a question you don’t know, write it down. If you discuss possible start dates, write them down. If your interviewer suggests a book for you to read, write it down.

Don’t use your notebook as a crutch, but do use it to take some notes and show the interviewer that you’re paying attention and that you plan to follow up after your interview.

Dress one level above the company dress code

The rule of thumb is to dress one level above the company dress code so you stand out without being overdressed. If you can’t find the company dress code online, ask the person who helps you schedule your interview.

Here’s what I recommend for men who are going on interviews (I don’t want to embarrass myself by giving ladies advice on what to wear):

If the company wears jeans and t-shirts, you could wear jeans and a button-down shirt. If the company wears jeans and button-downs, wear slacks and a tucked-in button-down. If they wear slacks and a tucked-in button-down, wear that plus a tie. If they were that plus a tie, wear a suit.

Here’s a good article on how to dress for your next job interview.

Get the printable The Interview Cheat Sheet

Includes a printable version of these checklists and other ways to prepare for your job interviews.

Buy The Interview Cheat Sheet

Phone interviews

Here’s an interview checklist to make sure you’re prepared for your phone interviews:

  • Be ready 5 minutes early
  • Have your résumé ready to email
  • Have a computer or notebook handy
  • Find a quiet place to talk
  • Use earbuds or a hands-free headset
  • Have some water handy

Be ready 5 minutes early

Your interviewer is probably going to call you to start the interview, so be ready for the call at least 5 minutes before the scheduled meeting time. This means you’re set up at a desk or table, ready to answer the phone and get started.

Don’t answer the phone and say, “Hello?” … “Oh hi Tracy! Just a minute, let me close this door.” The door should already closed. You’re already seated and ready to begin the interview.

Have your résumé ready to email

You probably already submitted your résumé online or emailed it in, but sometimes the specific person who interviews you won’t have a copy.

So have your résumé ready to email just in case. I recommend having it available in Microsoft Word and PDF formats. Not only will this help your interviews go more smoothly, but it will remind your interviewers that you’re a professional who came prepared.

Have a computer or notebook handy

Take notes in your interview when something interesting comes up. If you’re asked a question you don’t know, write it down. If you discuss possible start dates, write them down. If your interviewer suggests a book for you to read, write it down.

If you’re taking notes on your computer, make sure you tell your interviewer at the beginning of the interview so they don’t think you’re goofing off on Facebook. “You might hear me typing in the background—I’m just taking some notes.”

It’s easy to use note-taking as a crutch—don’t do that. Take some notes and show the interviewer that you’re paying attention and that you plan to follow up after your interview, but don’t hide behind your notebook!

Find a quiet place to talk

Do your best to find a quiet place to take this important phone call so you can concentrate. You also don’t want you or your interviewer to be distracted by background noise.

If you’re interviewing for a remote job, your interviewer will notice if you’re in a noisy environment. It’s a small thing, but many managers will be leery of hiring someone who will be a distraction on every conference call.

Use earbuds or a hands-free headset

Keep your hands free so you can take notes. It’s hard to take notes when you’re cradling your phone with your shoulder.

Have some water handy

If you’re excited for the interview and you do a lot of talking, your throat could dry out so it’s tough for you to talk. That could hamper your interview, so have some water handy in case your voice starts to give out.

Get the printable The Interview Cheat Sheet

Includes a printable version of these checklists and other ways to prepare for your job interviews.

Buy The Interview Cheat Sheet

Video interviews

Here’s an interview checklist to make sure you’re prepared for your video interviews:

  • Be ready 5 minutes early
  • Have your résumé ready to email
  • Make sure you have a good internet connection
  • Use earbuds or a hands-free headset
  • Make sure the camera, lighting and background are good to go
  • Find a quiet room to talk
  • Test your video calling software
  • Take notes
  • Dress one level above the company dress code
  • Have some water handy

Be ready 5 minutes early

Your interviewer is probably going to call you to start the interview. Make sure you’re ready for the call at least 5 minutes before the scheduled meeting time. That means you’re set up at a desk or table, you’ve tested your camera and lighting, there’s nothing distracting behind you, and you’re ready to answer the call and get started.

Don’t answer the call and say, “Hello?” … “Oh hi Tracy! Just a minute, let me close this door.” The door is already closed. You’re already seated and ready to begin the interview.

Have your résumé ready to email

You probably already submitted your résumé online or emailed it in, but sometimes the specific person who interviews you won’t have a copy.

So have your résumé ready to email just in case you need it. I recommend having it available in Microsoft Word and PDF formats. Not only will this help your interviews go more smoothly, but it will remind your interviewers that you’re a professional who came prepared.

Make sure you have a good internet connection

Test your internet connection to make sure it’s stable and fast enough for a video call. Here are the requirements for Google Hangouts. Here are the requirements for Skype.

To test your connection, I recommend fast.com or speedtest.net). Make sure your internet connection is stable and that your bandwidth supports the video call software you’ll be using.

Also, make sure to disable synching on Dropbox, Google Drive, music streaming services and any other syncing services you may have. If Dropbox tries to sync a huge file during your interview, it could gobble up your bandwidth and cause issues for your video call.

Use earbuds or a hands-free headset

Using the microphone in your laptop is a bad idea because it could make the call echoey and it may be hard for your interviewer to hear you.

Make sure the camera, lighting and background are good to go

Make sure your webcam is working and that you can be seen well. If the lights in your room aren’t strong enough, try facing a window so you can use natural light.

And please, please, please, make sure your background is clean, professional, and free of people wandering by. If something is moving behind you, your interviewer will be distracted, and that means they won’t hear all of your great answers to their questions.

Find a quiet room to talk

Do your best to find a quiet place to take this important phone call so you can concentrate. You also don’t want you or your interviewer to be distracted by background noise.

If you’re interviewing for a remote job, your interviewer will notice if you’re in a noisy environment. It’s a small thing, but many managers will be leery of hiring someone who will be a distraction on every conference call.

Test your video calling software

Interruptions are bad for an interview. And video calls can quickly turn into troubleshooting sessions where your interview is wasted with “Hello? Are you there? I can see you, but I can’t hear you. Can you hear me? Hold on, let me try restarting the call.”

Call a friend to make sure everything is working correctly. Can they see and hear you? Do they see anything distracting in the background?

Take notes

Take notes in your interview when something interesting comes up. If you’re asked a question you don’t know, write it down. If you discuss possible start dates, write them down. If your interviewer suggests a book for you to read, write it down.

If you’re taking notes on your computer, make sure you tell your interviewer at the beginning of the interview so they don’t think you’re goofing off on Facebook. “You might see me typing while we talk—I’m just taking some notes.”

It’s easy to use note-taking as a crutch—don’t do that. Take some notes and show the interviewer that you’re paying attention and that you plan to follow up after your interview, but don’t hide behind your notebook!

Dress one level above the company dress code

Yes, even if you’re just doing a video call!

The rule of thumb is to dress one level above the company dress code so you stand out without being overdressed. If you can’t find the company dress code online, ask the person who helps you schedule your interview.

Here’s what I recommend for men who are going on interviews (I don’t want to embarrass myself by giving ladies advice on what to wear):

If the company wears jeans and t-shirts, you could wear jeans and a button-down shirt. If the company wears jeans and button-downs, wear slacks and a tucked-in button-down. If they wear slacks and a tucked-in button-down, wear that plus a tie. If they were that plus a tie, wear a suit.

Here’s a good article on how to dress for your next job interview.

Have some water handy

If you’re excited for the interview and you do a lot of talking, your throat could dry out so it’s tough for you to talk. That could hamper your interview, so have some water handy in case your voice starts to give out.

Get the printable The Interview Cheat Sheet

Includes a printable version of these checklists and other ways to prepare for your job interviews.

Buy The Interview Cheat Sheet