05/15/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Just Listen -- A Job Interview is a Terrible Thing to Waste

I hear the beginning of "good news" rumblings on the job front. I hope that means that in the near future, many people who are out of work will be interviewing to get back to work and get back on their feet.

An interview is a terrible thing to waste and as they say, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression."

To help you make the best first impression, check out and heed this advice and excerpted piece from Harvey Mackay's brand new book (and hands down the best one I have ever read on job searching), Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door: Job Search Secrets No One Else Will Tell You:

Timing and Advance Planning

1. Scheduling--Try for the time of day you shine best.
2. Get a good night's rest the day before.
3. Try to work out in the morning. It will help improve your alertness and relax you.
4. Create a contact sheet for each company with names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses.
5. If a recruiter is involved, have a pre-meeting huddle about positioning for the interview.
6. Review your own videos of your simulated interviews.
7. If any forms are needed, complete them neatly in advance.

Apparel and Appearance

8. Shine shoes, check fingernails.
9. Get a haircut and styling, comb.
10. Choose a suit with shirt and tie or blouse.
11. Coordinate accessories (including watch, umbrella if necessary, etc.).

Reading and Research

12. Read recent articles on the prospective company.
13. Research company Web site for their latest news and press releases.
14. Know the company's most recent annual and quarterly sales and profits.
15. Google people you'll be meeting for background on them.
16. Know how to pronounce names of people you will meet.
17. If possible, learn the names of the receptionist and administrative assistants.
18. If this is a second interview, review notes of past meetings.
19. Scroll through the day's business news so you have something to talk about.
20. Create a list of good questions you will ask the interviewer.
21. Check e-mails just before leaving for any last-minute rescheduling.

Take Withs

22. Portable phone (turn off before interview)
23. Portfolio or business case
24. Resume copies (at least two)
25. Business cards
26. Blank paper or notebook and pens
27. Breath mints or spray
28. Your personal calendar if a follow-up meeting is discussed

Getting There

29. Plan on being punctual and intend to arrive several minutes early.
30. Check weather report in case you need to plan on extra time.
31. Google map and either pre-drive or investigate road congestion.
32. Investigate parking practices.
33. Identify the correct building entrance.
34. Anticipate going through security and having to wear a visitor badge.

If Meeting Over a Meal

35. Eat something like a power bar or piece of fruit beforehand.
36. If possible, know the menu in advance.

Just Before Showtime

37. Do a once-over in the mirror for hair and clothing.
38. Pay attention to your posture.
39. Have a reasonable idea of appropriate, positive opening comments.
40. Put on a warm, relaxed smile.
41. Prepare for a dry, firm handshake.

Plan Follow-up Pre-Interview

42. Anticipate beforehand how and where you will debrief yourself.
43. Have stationery and postage ready for handwritten thank-you notes.
44. If a recruiter is involved, know how to reach this person after the interview for a debriefing.