Slumping into your job interview without any prior preparation is a surefire way not to get the job. There are numerous ways to give off a bad first impression, so you need to be thoroughly prepared for anything that could happen the day of the interview. With that in mind, here is the timeline you should follow in the 24 hours leading up to the interview.
In this example, your interview is scheduled for 9:00 A.M. At 8:00 A.M. the previous day, you should do a dry-run of driving to the location of the interview. GPS systems and MapQuest are useful to an extent, but you never know if the time you are driving to the interview will be particularly heavy with traffic. You need to plan on arriving between 10 to 15 minutes early for your interview, so you need to know when exactly you need to leave your home to be on time. This is also useful for seeing what the parking situation will be like. There might be a parking lot for you to utilize, or you may need to drive around for a little bit to find street parking. Knowing exactly what to expect will give you the best idea possible of when to leave. If you do not end up getting to the building on time in this dry-run, then you know you need to adjust the following day.
As soon as you get back home from the dry-run, you should begin conducting plenty of research into the company you are applying for as well as the person interviewing you if you are privy to that information. You need to be thoroughly informed so that your responses are relevant to the kind of work you will be doing. This is also the time to prepare for common interview questions like:
- What do you know about this company?
- How would you benefit this company?
- Do you prefer working independently or as part of a group?
- Why do you want to work in this field?
- Tell me about yourself.
You do not need to have your answers completely memorized, but you should have a good idea of how you want to talk about yourself. Once you have gone over your basic responses, feel free to kick back for a little bit and relax. Eat some lunch and get some relaxation from the busy morning.
18 Hours Before the Interview
Once you have rested for a little bit, you should conduct a mock interview with a friend or family member. Whoever is interviewing you should be able to give you notes about your handshake, the amount of eye contact you are giving and how well you respond to all the questions. If you cannot get anyone to interview you, try recording yourself giving your response to typical interview questions. This is a great way of picking up any verbalized pauses like "Umm" or "Uhh" that you may not be aware that you make.
Once the mock interview is complete, feel free to enjoy some downtime. You do not want to stress yourself out for an interview, so partake in your favorite activity, and make sure to eat a good dinner. In the evening, you should go over your research notes and interview questions to briefly familiarize yourself. This should not be intensive as the training you did earlier in the day, but you should focus on any trouble areas. If the interview is at 9:00 A.M., then you should go to bed around 11:00 P.M. so that you can get a good night's sleep and be well-rested for the next day.
3 Hours Before the Interview
Aim to wake up around 6:00 A.M. so that you have plenty of time to shower, shave and brush your teeth. Now is the time to look and smell your best without overdoing it. Before you get dressed, make sure to eat a good breakfast. Even if you are not that hungry, you should get something in your stomach so that it does not growl during the interview. Take your time to get dressed so that you can be certain your outfit is perfect. Make sure you have your resume and other materials you need packed and ready to go, so you are not scrambling to find them the morning of.
Based on the dry-run yesterday, you should know exactly how much time you need in order to get to the office. When that time comes, drive over. You will feel absolutely prepared to tackle this interview, and the fact that you are prepared will ensure that your confidence shines through. Once the interview is over, pat yourself on the back on the magnificent job you did.