While most interview preparation focuses on research and preparing for typical questions; it will all be for nothing if you enter the interview late, dishevelled or distracted.
Effective interview preparation isn’t just memorising your CV or researching the employer, it’s being ready for everything; including the minor details. So, once the research is done, what should you do on the day of the interview?
The night before
You need to be as efficient as possible on the day so choose what to wear to the interview and have it ready in advance. Leave out any other materials you need to bring like portfolios, presentation materials or interview notes. Don’t waste time on the morning of the interview looking for things, get all of that done the day before and give yourself a relaxing start to the day.
Plan your journey
The other major factor is travel. Figure out exactly how you will get to the interview and don’t deviate from it. If you are driving make sure you know exactly how long it will take to get to the office, with traffic. If possible, do a dry run at around the same time of day as the interview and note the time taken. If you can’t go there beforehand, use Google Streetview to find out exactly what the office looks like. This will make everything easier on the day.
Before you leave
Clear the day of distractions before or after the interview. Don’t try to squeeze it in on a lunch break. This interview could be the next step in your career; it deserves your undivided attention. If the interview is first thing in the morning, give yourself enough time to have a good breakfast to set yourself up for the day. Make sure you have enough time to arrive at least half an hour before the interview. Before you leave double check that you have everything, including the correct address, time and name of the interviewer. It may be your last chance to check them before you get to the office.
When you arrive
Try not to arrive too early. If you do, get a coffee nearby rather than sitting in reception waiting for the interview; this will only add to any pre-interview jitters. Bring broad notes to look over, don’t try to memorise a lot of detail just before you go in. A list of key points will help you to get in the right frame of mind without creating a task to complete while you wait.
Use the time before the interview to ensure that you are looking your best. Turn off your phone, don’t just put it on vibrate. Give yourself 5-10 minutes to settle into your seat and relax before the interview.
Employers want to hire confident, capable people; that’s how you will appear if you go into the interview with an air of calm and a smile. If you have done your research and taken care of the little details; you’ll be ready to answer any question they might throw at you.