Congratulations, you landed an interview!
Whether for an internship, job, volunteer work, or graduate school, you will want to prepare—both well in advance and during the last 24 hours. An interview is just like any other big event; the better prepared you are, the less likely you will be to panic!
Let’s assume you’ve done your homework. You’ve learned all about the prospective employer or school from online research and from contacts. You’ve gone over potential interview questions and even have a few to ask the interviewer as well. You picked out your interview outfit and know how to get to the interview site. You’re good to go. Well, not exactly. Here are some tips for the night before and the day of the interview.
The Night Before the Interview:
Charge your cell phone (in case you get lost or anything causes you to run late) so it doesn’t run out of juice.
Gather the following and put them in a portfolio, briefcase, or professional-looking handbag:
- Multiple copies of your resume, cover letter, and references. One for you to refer to, one for each interviewer, and a few extras (just in case).
- The address of the interview site and the name(s) of the interviewer(s).
- A pad of paper and a pen in case you need to jot something down during or after the interview.
- A separate portfolio (if applicable) for artwork, writing samples, press releases, etc.
- Your ID if needed for security check-in.
- A brush or comb, breath mints, and any other grooming items.
Like any other big event, get a good night’s sleep and make sure your alarm clock is set!
The Day of the Interview:
Allow plenty of time to arrive at the interview site. Plan to get there a half-hour in advance of your interview. There are too many situations that are out of your control (subway delays, traffic, snow, etc.) for you to cut it any closer. If you arrive more than 15 minutes early, take a walk or wait in the lobby.
From the moment you arrive, remember that you are on display! Everyone you meet may have input regarding your candidacy. Don’t eat, chew gum, or be on the phone. Visit the restroom for a last minute check of clothing, hair, teeth, etc.
Observe your surroundings and try to picture yourself working in that environment. Be polite if asked any questions while you are waiting and stay positive.
If you have prepared for your interview, there will be no need to panic. Keep calm and you won’t bomb the interview! In fact, you’ll probably ace it! Good luck.