by Lisa Grimaldi | August 01, 2007

The following checklist was compiled with the help of Dawn Penfold, CMP, president of New York City-based The Meeting Candidate Network Inc. (;

Before the interview

  • List the skills required by the hiring company, and list the skills you have that meet those requirements.
  • Research the salary potential, and determine whether this position is a good opportunity.
  • If the salary is lower than what you earned in your previous position, work out a budget to determine what is financially feasible. Determine if other assets (flex time, working from home, educational opportunities, etc.) would make up for the reduction in pay.
  • Research the company on the Internet; know the industry and who the company considers to be its competition.
  • Ascertain what problems you can solve for the company.
  • Prepare and memorize a “pitch” for when the interviewer asks you to talk about yourself and explain why you are the best candidate for the job.
  • Be prepared to answer questions such as, “What have you done in this situation?”
  • Prepare a mental list of questions to ask the interviewer about the company, the industry and the specific position for which you are interviewing.
  • Prepare or update a list of references. Be sure all contact information is current.
  • Put together a portfolio of your work. Include material from special events, meetings and conferences, as well as any forms (request for proposal, banquet event order, registration, etc.) you have standardized or streamlined.
  • Refresh your memory about your work on previous programs. Know properties and facilities used as well as key contacts. Be prepared to discuss prior events in detail.
  • Print out and take along several copies of your resume on high-quality paper, along with a copy of your references.
  • Be sure to get directions to the company prior to the interview, and take the phone number of the office and the names of the people with whom you are scheduled to meet.

  • Arrive early enough to be able to freshen up if necessary. Be sure to turn off your cell phone or PDA.
  • To make a good initial impression, greet the interviewer by name, and be sure to offer a firm handshake.
  • Smile often and maintain eye contact.
  • Relax, listen, use good posture and enjoy the conversation.
  • Learn as much as you can about the company or association from the interview. Ask detailed questions based on your pre-interview research.
  • Ask what the company is looking for in a quality candidate, and translate your skills to this criteria.
  • Provide examples of your past accomplishments and how they could be applied to the organization.
  • Outline explicit reasons why you are the ideal candidate.
  • Focus on the points you have prepared without sounding rehearsed.
  • At the conclusion of the discussion, thank the interviewer and determine the next step.
  • Ask the interviewer for a business card for your files and for following up.
  • Following up

  • Within one day, write a thank-you note to each person you met. If a decision is being made within days, e-mail the letter. Preferably, if time allows, handwrite it on quality note paper and send it via standard mail.
  • If you do not hear from the company within a week, follow up with a brief letter reminding the interviewer of your interest and qualifications.
  • Notes: