Imagine you are Jack Bauer in Fox’s popular TV series,24. In 24 hours, something momentous will happen. In this case, the anticipated event is not terrorists destroying the U.S., but your job interview. And instead of 24 hours that unfold chaotically prior to the event, you know exactly what you’ll be doing in each of those hours. This kind of planning can help you perform at your best at your interview. The scenario below assumes you can spend a large part of the day before your interview preparing. If you have other work or family obligations that keep you from following this preparation plan, do your best with it. You may need to spread the prep plan over several days rather than implementing it all the day before.
Let’s assume it’s 9:00 a.m., and your interview is in 24 hours. First, let’s cheat a bit and begin our countdown 25 hours before the interview. The interview will be in your city but in an unfamiliar location. You believe the site to be about 45 minutes away.
8:00 a.m., 25 hours before your interview: Get in your car and do a dry run to the interview location. By driving the route at exactly the same time as you’ll be doing the next day, you’ll simulate the same traffic and road conditions. You will previously have obtained a map and/or directions to the site by calling the employer’s office or getting a map from an Internet map site, such as Mapquest, Google Maps, or Yahoo Maps (the fact that these maps are not always reliable is another good reason for your dry run). Doing the dry run enables you to make sure you know how to get to the site, assures you you’ve estimated the timing correctly, familiarizes you with traffic and other issues “ such as road construction or unexpected toll booths — that could be obstacles, and allows you to check out the scene at the interview site. Is it easy to park? Is there a security checkpoint that will take time to pass through?
9:00 a.m.: Ideally, you will have arrived at the site at 8:45. You may want to go through the same parking routine you will do the next day, as well as enter the building to see how easy it will be to find the interviewer’s office. If the timing of your dry run reveals problems with timing your drive to the site, plan to make adjustments tomorrow on interview day. You may need to leave the house earlier than planned.
Spend the drive home doing a visualization exercise that will help psych you up for the interview. Imagine it’s 24 hours later, and you’re on your way home from the interview. Imagine that it was a fantastic interview, and spend your drive home basking in how well you performed. If you have any lingering questions about interview logistics, calling the company as soon as you get home is a good idea. Perhaps you have a question about directions, parking, office location, paperwork, attire, the type of interview that will be conducted, or other issues. Now is the time to ask. It also doesn’t hurt to simply call and confirm the interview time at this point.