You walk into an unfamiliar building, are led into a strange room and introduce yourself to a handful of people you’ve never met. You sit in front of them as they openly scrutinise you for an hour, firing you question after question to determine if you’re someone with whom they want to spend their 38-hour work week.
There are no two ways about it: job interviews are daunting. The stakes are high – and that means the pressure is, too.
To help you get on top of any potential nerves, you’ve hopefully brushed up on everything you need to do to blitz the interview itself. But what about what happens before the interview? Here are five things you should avoid doing on the morning of your job interview:
1. Overthink everything
Will they like me? Are they going to think I have enough experience? What if I spill some coffee on my shirt, or can’t answer a question I’m asked?
Breathe. Relax. You’ve already overcome the most difficult hurdle of job-seeking: the interview call-back. Allow the knowledge of being among a small handful of interviewees from potentially hundreds of applicants to boost your confidence enough to conquer your anxieties.
Avoid mentally building up the interview in your mind. Instead, try to frame it as just a casual conversation. Staying calm means you’ll have the clarity of mind to answer the interview questions as confidently as you do in your practice runs at home.
2. Neglect your personal hygiene
Bad breath, unkempt hair, smudged lipstick – recruiters could conflate these with unprofessionalism, lack of preparation and poor attention to detail.
On the morning of your interview, brush your teeth, take a shower and check your reflection. After all, you want the interviewers to remember you for your achievements and dazzling personality, not for the parsley in your teeth.
And if you’re a smoker? Many employers react negatively to the smell of cigarette smoke on a candidate, so refrain from smoking in the hours before your interview.
It always seems to happen the morning of an important appointment: your alarm inexplicably fails to go off, or you somehow manage to sleep through its usually painful shrill.
To beat Murphy’s Law, set at least two or three alarms as a safety net. Even better? Go to bed early and get eight hours of sleep – this will ensure you’re alert and ready to field all the questions you’re about to face.
4. Arrive late
Nothing speaks louder to your lack of respect for others than being late. In today’s uber-competitive job market, recruiters are often splitting hairs in deciding who to hire – and by arriving late to your interview, you’re helping them make a decision in someone else’s favour.
Counterintuitively, aiming to arrive on time can set you up for failure – as they say, if you’re on time you’re late.
Arrive on site at least 10 minutes early, being sure to give yourself an ample time buffer to account for any potential snags.
Familiarise yourself with the route you’ll take, the general bulk of traffic at that time of day, and, if you plan to drive, where you’re going to park. Google Maps is a great tool for this.
5. Forget the basics
Is there anything you need to bring to the interview? If you’re unsure, ask your interviewer when you confirm the interview with them.
Then before your interview, write a list of everything you need. At a minimum, a printed copy of your CV is useful to refer to during the interview.
For many professional roles, a printed portfolio of your work in previous roles can be a great way to showcase your experience. Just don’t forget to take it with you!
Other things you might need include documentation of qualifications, or copies of any tasks you might have been asked to do for the interview.
On the morning of your interview, make like Santa and check the list twice, just in case you missed something vital.
With a little preparation and forethought, last-minute blunders before an important interview can become a thing of the past. Now go get that great new ethical job!
This post is based on an article that originally appeared on Glassdoor.
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