Tips for an interview: before you meet the interviewer

You may think that interview preparation involves only the interaction you will have with the interviewer, this is a mistake. Being ready for the interview involves more planning. There are several elements you will want to take into consideration before going into the interview itself. These elements can be filed into three main categories:

  • Being prepared
  • Time management
  • Last minute issues

Being Prepared

Being ready for the interview requires being prepared, not only to talk with the interviewer but for the entire event from the time you get the interview appointment up until you leave the interview. Here are some general elements to take care of which will help with interview preparation.

  • Get sleep - get enough sleep the night before; this ensures alertness, clear thinking and you will look and feel better
  • Do research - know about the company and the job before you get to the interview; the interviewer will want to know if you can handle the environment
  • Have answers ready - be ready for any possible questions about your work history or personal life involving work; you want to avoid the 'deer in the headlights'' look when asked a question
  • Eat beforehand - have a light snack before getting to the interview; a growling stomach is a bad distraction
  • Have identification - have your picture ID and Social Security card with you; you may need it for security reasons or you might need it for verification purposes

Time Management Tips

Time management is a key element for interview preparation. Being ready for an interview will take time, and you should take as much time as necessary.

  • Arrive early - always arrive early; this ensures you are there on time, and also allows you to calm yourself and mentally prepare
  • Check directions beforehand - as soon as you have the location of the interview, start planning the best route and the length of time it takes to get there; misunderstanding the directions or underestimating the time needed to arrive are two main excuses for applicants to arrive late and lose a chance at the job
  • Don't rush - be calm, and take your time; this is not the day to appear hurried or rushed as you walk into the interview

Last Minute Issues

Some of the issues of interview preparation are handled at the last minute as you arrive at the location. While they are last minute issues, they are still an important part of being ready for an interview.

  • Go alone - don't bring friends or your children with you to the interview
  • Leave the cell phone off - once you arrive at the location, turn the cell phone off; don't even touch it until you leave the building after the interview
  • No last minute alterations - don't walk into the building fixing your tie or adjusting your clothes, it makes you look rushed
  • Be calm - from the moment you arrive until the moment you leave you should present yourself as a calm, confident, and professional person to everyone
  • Be polite - be courteous, polite, and friendly to everyone in the building; be energetic and friendly when asking for the interviewer
  • Be patient - once you have announced your arrival, find a seat and sit quietly while waiting for the interviewer

Being ready for an interview will give you a huge advantage over many other applicants who arrive ill prepared. Interview preparations should normally start the night beforehand to ensure success. Even though it is only a half hour meeting, being ready for an interview can lead to many days of paid work.