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The Night Before

If you have an upcoming job interview, your first impression might be your only shot. This is why it’s so important to prepare so that you can avoid being late and give yourself the best chance possible at getting the job. There are things you can do in the time leading up to the interview, starting with the night before.

You should never, ever save all of your preparation for the day of your interview. Last minute emergencies are sure to pop up and you’ll rarely be able to find everything that you need, right when you need it. Not only does this threaten to make you miss your appointment time, you’ll also be stressed and flustered, making it difficult to think clearly and answer questions to the best of your ability. Interviewers can sense that stress and could be turned off to hiring you. There are several things you can do the night before to ensure smooth sailing in the morning.

  • If you’re planning to pack a lunch, don’t wait till the morning to do it. Have it all ready to go and waiting in the fridge.

  • If you have an early appointment, you may want to go ahead and prepare your breakfast as well. Don’t plan on making pancakes and eggs the morning of, just plan something simple and prepare it the night before, if possible. Also, try to choose a healthy meal with a balance of carbs and protein so you have adequate energy and a clear mind.

  • Go to bed early. The night before a job interview is not the time to plan a night out on the town or stay up late to watch a movie. You want to show your potential employer that you are bright and attentive, not yawning and exhausted.

  • It may sound juvenile, but plan your outfit. This is much more important during an interview than any normal day on the job, so put a lot of thought into it. Dress a step above what is required in the office and make sure you look professional. A sloppy appearance is just about as debilitating to your hiring potential as being late.

  • Plan your route. This is especially important if you’ve never been there before, but even if you have, figure out which way you’ll go as well as a couple of alternate routes. Also, check for things like construction and other road blocks that may affect your drive.

  • Print multiple copies of your resume and any supplemental materials you may be bringing. Place everything you’ll take by the door in a briefcase so you won’t forget it.

    A Few Hours Before

  • If your appointment is in the morning, set your alarm early enough to allow plenty of time to get ready and look your best. If you tend to hit the snooze, move it to the other side of the room so you’ll have to get out of bed to turn it off.

  • Don’t try to cram in too much in the morning, even if you feel like you’ll have extra time.

  • Keep things simple and quiet and continue to run through practice questions in your head.

  • Double check everything before you leave. Make sure you have the necessary papers, directions and anything else you’ll need that day.

    Immediately Before

  • You should leave in plenty of time to allow you to take it easy as you drive to your interview. Leaving late may force you to speed, which could result in you being pulled over by a police officer and ticketed, taking more time and making you even later than before.

  • Don’t enter the office more than 15 minutes early. It’s perfectly fine to arrive before that time, just don’t go inside. Spend some time checking out the area and reviewing interview questions in your head.

  • Once you do enter the building, check in with the receptionist. Be warm and friendly to possible future coworkers, but be sure to respect their time and demands.

  • If you need to use the restroom or get a drink, try to do it as soon as possible. It would be awful to go to all the effort of arriving early, only to be assumed late because you weren’t in the waiting room when they came to get you.

    Once you’re taken back for the interview, you’ll know that you passed the first rule of great impressions by being on time. Avoiding being late not only saves you stress and a headache, it could also win you a job.

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