Interviews can be nerve-wracking experiences. Even if you’ve prepared extensively, those last minute jitters before an important job interview are only natural. However, with some last minute preparation, you can help calm those nerves and set yourself up for interview success.
This comprehensive guide covers 15 tips to help you make the most of the final hours before a job interview. Follow this advice to enter the interview room feeling confident and ready to impress your potential employer.
Research the Company One Last Time
Use any spare minutes leading up to the interview to refresh yourself on key details about the company. Reread the About Us section of their website and social media pages to remind yourself of their mission, values, history, products/services, culture, recent news, etc.
Understanding the company inside and out shows interest and enthusiasm.Knowing a few extra specifics about the business also allows you to tailor your responses. You can explain why you’d be a great culture fit or how your skills align with current company objectives. It helps you stand out from other candidates who just superficially researched the basics.
Review the Job Description Again
Similarly, take another close look at the job description. Make sure you understand all required and preferred qualifications for the role inside out. Identify any skills, experiences, traits, or buzzwords that you should emphasize from your background during the interview.
Also, plan out how you’ll provide specific examples of times you demonstrated any key qualities they’re looking for. Recalling detailed stories will serve as proof you possess those abilities, making you seem like a stronger candidate.
Practice Answering Common Questions
During your prep, you likely already practiced responding to frequently asked interview questions. Use any spare minutes to do so again out loud.Verbalizing your answers rather than just thinking them over internally makes a difference. It helps train your brain to form coherent responses on the spot.Focus especially on tricky questions you struggled with previously. Ask someone to do a quick mock interview with you or, if you’re alone, record yourself speaking so you can evaluate your own responses.
Review Your Resume
There’s a good chance at least some interview discussion will center around your resume and past experiences. Before the interview, read over your resume again, taking special note of key accomplishments you want to describe in detail if asked.This refresher ensures you accurately represent previous positions. It also reminds you of projects, awards, stats/data, testimonials, press coverage, or other achievements you should highlight to impress the interviewer.
Plan Your Interview Attire
First impressions matter, so make sure to pick out appropriate interview attire in advance. The standard go-to is traditional business wear in neutral colors and minimal patterns/accessories. However, always first check if the company website or interview confirmation provides any dress code guidance.
Lay out your full outfit the night before so you’re not scrambling last minute trying to iron, steam, or pick lint off clothes. Check for stains, tears, missing buttons, scuffs on shoes, etc. If you need a quick clothing repair, handle it early so you’re not rushed.
Prepare Your Interview Supplies
Get any other supplies together as well, such as:
- Paper/notepad and pens to jot notes
- Portfolio or folder with extra copies of your resume
- Work samples relevant to the role
- List of references
- Notebook containing your research and questions for the interviewer
Practice Good Sleep Habits
It’s crucial to be well-rested, focused, and energized for an interview rather than groggy. Be sure to practice good sleep habits the night before your meeting. Limit screen time before bed, avoid caffeine late in the day, create a cool/comfortable sleep environment, do relaxing activities, set multiple alarms, etc.Getting adequate rest ensures you’re at your mental best to make a fantastic impression during the interview itself.
Eat a Nutritious Breakfast
Have a nourishing breakfast the day of the interview as well, even if nerves decrease your appetite. Stick to easily digestible foods that provide steady energy, like oatmeal with fruit, Greek yogurt with granola, eggs with whole grain toast, etc. Stay hydrated too.This gives your brain fuel for top performance. It also prevents distracting growling stomachs or lightheadedness which can happen if running on empty. Bring healthy snacks too in case the interview runs long.
Make sure to arrive 10-15 minutes early to the interview location. Account for factors like traffic, parking, stopping for gas/food, unsure building navigation, etc. Rushing creates unnecessary panic.Instead, get there early so you can calmly enter the building, find the exact office or meeting room, use the restroom to check your appearance if needed, grab water, catch your breath, and review your notes one last time before the interview start time.
Do Breathing Exercises
Then, while waiting for the interviewer, do some deep breathing exercises to manage nerves. Inhale slowly through your nose, hold for a few counts, exhale out your mouth, and repeat. This stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to help you feel calmer.Use positive self-talk as well.
Mentally repeat affirmations like “I am prepared for this” or “I am qualified for this role.” Visualize yourself smoothly answering questions. This boosts confidence right before you head into the interview.
Be Authentic and Personable
During the actual interview, the key is to come across as authentic, likable, and passionate. Back up your skills and experiences with genuine examples. Share your personality, interests, values, and motives rather than just reciting rehearsed responses.Building personal connections with interviews makes you memorable in a positive way. It distinguishes you from other applicants who seem overly formal or stiff. Relax, make eye contact, smile, sit upright, nod, and actively listen.Project confidence through your body language and tone. The interviewer wants to envision you thriving in the position, so give them every reason to see you as the right fit.
Ask Good Questions
The interviewer will likely end by asking if you have any questions for them. This is your chance to show additional interest and learn key information you’ve been wondering about.
Have a list ready of intelligent, engaging questions that demonstrate your understanding of the company/role and eagerness to contribute. What are current challenges facing the team? How are candidates evaluated and selected? When can they provide an update regarding hiring decisions? etc.
Follow Up Politely
Finally, nicely follow up within 24 hours thanking the interviewer for their time and consideration. Briefly reiterate your interest and qualifications for the position. Add any relevant information you forgot to mention that further highlights why you’re the right candidate.
Following up promptly and professionally makes a strong last impression. It also shows you truly care about obtaining the job, giving you an extra edge over less enthusiastic applicants.
Using the final hours before an interview wisely ensures you step into your meeting cool, collected, and ready to succeed. Spend this last preparation time researching, practicing, organizing, and centering yourself through healthy habits and positive self-talk.
Then during the interview itself, aim to build authentic connections as you highlight your achievements. End by asking thoughtful questions and following up politely. These last minute tips help you leverage those critical hours so you can ace your interview and hopefully land your dream job.
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