So you have a job interview tomorrow. First of all: congrats! Landing an interview for a job you want is a big deal, and it’s an accomplishment in itself. Now it’s time to nail it.
Second of all: You’re probably nervous. That’s normal. The best way to combat your nerves is to do the prep and feel confident in the stories you’ll be telling. But even if you have your prep down cold, there are still a few things to do today to help make tomorrow happen smoothly. You don’t want all your excellence and preparation and fit for this job wrong-footed by a logistical detail.
Here’s what we recommend.
Rehearse the first few minutes
As the adage goes, you only get one shot to make a first impression. Spend a few minutes in the mirror. Practice your introduction. If you’re interviewing in person, practice your handshake if you can. You can even think of a topic or two you might use as small talk while you walk to the conference room or before you dive into the core professional stuff.
Visualize the day
Well known as a training technique for athletes, visualization can be a powerful way to rehearse for the future and combat nerves. Set aside time today to imagine yourself walking through the entire interview process, from greeting to closing, with confidence, ease, and flow.
Push back against imposter syndrome
Imposter syndrome — feeling like you don’t deserve your success, or like you’re a fraud — is really common. 70% of people have felt it at some point in their lives. The day before an interview is the exact kind of moment when imposter syndrome pops in to say hi, so here’s what you can do: List out four or five reasons why you are so amazing and why you deserve this job. Spend time with them. Remember that there is a reason you were called to interview — this is not luck.
If you’re interviewing in person
You’ll need a few copies of your resume to give to the people you’re talking with, a notebook, and a pen. Get these things ready and pack them in your bag. Pack light for in-person interviews, if you can. You don’t want to have to juggle too many belongings when you walk in the door and shake someone’s hand. If you can fit it, include a small fix-it kit with some band-aids, mints, floss, and menstrual supplies (if you use them).
Pull up and double-check directions to the interview location and a plan — along with a backup plan — to get yourself there in plenty of time. (I can tell you horror stories of interviewees who got lost, took the bus the wrong way, or arrived in plenty of time … to the wrong location.)
If you’re interviewing remotely
Get set up at your desk (or wherever the spot in your home with the most professional backdrop is). Have a notebook and pen ready for jotting down notes and questions. It can’t hurt to have your resume file in an easy-to-locate spot on your computer, just in case you need to send it through. You might also want to print one so that you can reference it, too.
Check the lighting at the time of day you’re going to be talking to see if you should move lamps around. And do a practice run of Zoom (or whatever your potential employer is using) so that you know you have everything downloaded, the microphone and video functions work, and you’ll be ready to go at go time.
Decide what you’ll wear
This is important. People expect you to be your most polished self during an interview — they want to see how professional you’re capable of being, when it matters most. They want to see that you are willing to put in the effort.
Do your best to figure out what the typical office attire is at the company. If you know someone who works there, ask them what employees tend to wear. If not, maybe you can find some photos on their website or social media platforms of the inside of their office, people included. And if that turns up empty, use your judgment based on the impression you’ve formed so far.
And then, whatever you learn or assume is appropriate attire for that office — dress a notch or two above that. It’s a hundred times better to be overdressed than underdressed.
Also, a note about Zoom interviews: Don’t slack on your outfit below the waist. You might accidentally spill some water and need to stand up. You don’t know what could happen — better to avoid the “work mullet” in the interview.
Take care of yourself
And finally, when you feel good, you will be more comfortable and confident. Eat lightweight, healthy meals the day before and the morning of your interview. Get as much sleep as you can the night before. Meditate, if that’s your thing. It can all help.
And then, right before you walk in that door or log in to that Zoom, take a deep breath, and remember: You got this. And I’m rooting for you.
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