Find Jobs

The "Hidden" Interview Checklist -
Interview Tips from a CEO


This guide to getting a job offer from your next interview is written by one who has had the privilege of working in top management for most of his career.  He has interviewed thousands, and hired hundreds, not as an HR person but for his own teams and his own company.

This is the perspective of the person sitting on the other side of the desk.  The person whose decision affects whether you get a job offer or not.

Do you want to know what he is looking for as he interviews you?


The "Hidden" Interview Check List

If you are trying to get into a successful, well run company, you will most likely be interviewed by at least three or four hiring managers.

In each of their brains will be a hidden interview checklist of what they are looking for. If you match most of the important items on this check list you will get an offer to join their team.

Wouldn't it be good to have the checklist before you do the interview?

Is Your Job Grinding You Down?

Take Our Career Assessment Test

Career Test GIF and Link
Put Your Career Back On Track

In very well organized companies, this check list will actually have been written by the hiring manager and given to each of the people who have a stake in filling this position.

However, in many companies they are too busy to take the time to write it down.  So you need to figure it out on your own.

Before the interview, you should determine the most important items on this checklist.  How do you do that?


Getting Your Hands on the Interview Checklist

Whenever I had to fill an open position on my staff, I would write both a job description and an interview checklist.  Both went out to the recruiters who were trying to help me fill the position.

The job descriptions were then posted on the company web site.  So you can go there if you have not already done so. However the checklist is harder to come by.

Ask the headhunter if he has a written checklist.

If there is no written check list, make your own.  Simply list the top key words from the job description. Then ask the recruiter what he thinks is most important.

Visualize the hiring manager, sitting at his desk.  What is he looking for?  What is his biggest challenge?  What keeps him awake at night?

Write these down using just key words, not even full sentences.

Between the recruiter and the job description you should be able to guess what is most important to the hiring manager.  Then you can be well prepared to cover those items.


What's On The Interview Checklist?

Because job descriptions appear on the web, they will contain marketing hype about how great the position and the company are and why you should join them. 

On the other hand, checklist will be all about what they want from you.


should look like.

A snippet of an interview checklist is shown below. 

We used the same template over and over and just modified it for each position. 

Look at the priorities. 


Making Your Own Interview Checklist

First figure out what Job #1 is. 

What do they want you to accomplish?  This will be listed in the job description but you may have to search for it. 

It's the most important task they want you to accomplish. Sure they will want you to achieve many things, but what is most important to them. 

Job #1 is the task that if you fail you should be fired.

Ask the headhunter.  If he has spoken to the hiring manager he will know exactly what they want the new person to accomplish.

There is always one thing they want you to achieve.  What is it?

Although we encourage you to figure this out before the interview, you should validate it during the interview by asking these questions:

  1. What is the biggest problem you want this new person to solve?

  2. If this task is not done right, how will it hurt the company?

Here are some examples of Job #1:

  • Grow sales
  • Create new products
  • Create new content
  • Find new clients or customers
  • Identify new opportunities
  • Make new customers feel welcome
  • Train our people
  • Serve up food and drinks
  • Take care of finances
  • Run a machine
  • Improve quality
  • Reduce cost
  • Schedule and plan our production
  • Build and ship our products on time
  • etc

Make sure you are prepared to demonstrate and prove how your WORK EXPERINCE will allow you to do Job #1.

Next, identify Job #2 and 3 and that is as far as you have to go.  Sure we all do 25 different jobs each day, but there are always one or two that make the difference.


Next determine what personality, behavior and abilities they are looking for:

Determine what type of personality they are looking for.  Do they expect to see:

  • Someone who is introverted and has great concentration and focus
  • Someone who is extraverted and is the life of the party
  • Someone who prefers to work alone
  • Someone who will be leading a team
  • Someone who is detail oriented
  • Someone who is big picture
  • Someone who is a driver
  • Someone who is a follower
  • Someone who is a good team player


Just two things to remember while preparing for your next interview:

1) Make sure you know what Job#1 is and sell yourself based on that.

2) Understand what sort of personality they want and show them how well you fit.