The final 15 minutes leading up to a job interview can be a harrowing experience and your actions within those minutes can have a major effect on the outcome of your interview.
Those 15 minutes are your opportunity to get yourself into the right frame of mind, and set your energy and focus on who you'll be meeting with, what you want them to remember about you, and what you want to ask them. To help you take advantage of the 15 minutes before your interview, here are 11 things you really should do:
1. Arrive early, but don't go inside.
Running late for your interview can create unnecessary pressure on yourself and affect your whole interview. Make sure you plan ahead and if you a catching public transport, be sure to regularly check live timetables for delays etc.
When you do arrive, wait in your car or a nearby café, as being too early can place unnecessary pressure on your interviewer. Being more than 10 minutes early can come across as imposition, as if you are expecting the interviewer to drop whatever they are doing to attend to you.
2. Be friendly to all receptionists and security guards.
When you do finally walk into the office or building, remember to be friendly and polite to everyone you meet. It is often very likely that the receptionist and/or security guards will be reporting back to the hiring manager about how you behaved.
3. Take a bathroom break and look in a mirror.
Duck into a nearby bathroom and check yourself out in the mirror. If you get the chance to use a restroom before going into reception take it. You may have left the house looking perfect, but you can easily arrive looking scruffy.
This is also a great time to wash your hands and make sure your fingernails are clean and your palms are dry. If you wore comfortable shoes and plan on changing into dress shoes/heels, be sure to do this in the bathroom and not the office.
4. Don't check your voicemail, email or social media accounts.
You may see or read something that will get you worked up or distract you from focusing on the interview. Being thrown off your game is one of the worst things that can happen, and can easily ruin your interview.
5. But do check the organisation’s social media channels.
Have a quick glance on the organisation’s social media channels to make no major news or hot information has appeared since you did your research. Should something be trending and be brought up during your interview, you want to appear to be in-the-know.
6. But don't do any additional research.
You should be done researching, preparing, and rehearsing. Waiting for your interview is not the time to be looking up the organisation as you risk misinterpreting information or data.
7. Instead, briefly review your notes.
When preparing for your interview, write some notes contain key information like your interviewer’s name and title. You don’t want to walk in and say “Hello Gerry” when in fact your mean “Perry”. You should also include answers to questions that you hope won’t be asked, so you can less worry about them.
8. But stop rehearsing.
Do not use this time to over-prepare or rehearse responses as this can make your conversation seem scripted. Trust that you know what you know, and that the interview will take its own flow.
9. Notice what is happening around you.
While sitting in reception or the waiting area, observe the environment; what it feels like, what’s on the walls or what mementos are in the area. This often shows what the organisation considers important and can give you a feel of what it is like to work there.
10. Stay calm and breathe.
When you become stressed or panicked, your body releases stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine. Depending on the level of your stress, these can slightly, or greatly, inhibit your ability to think clearly and preform.
Ensuring that you remain calm, collected, and cool in the minutes leading up to the interview is necessary to avoid this hormonal elixir, and keep your mind clear. Staying calm also allows you to listen better and stay focused. Achieve this state by concentrating on your breathing.
Counting your breath is one of the most immediate and impactful techniques for calming your nerves. Simply focus on your breaths, counting each until you reach 10, and repeat.
11. Think happy thoughts.
Thinking of happy or positive memories and thoughts can make you smile and feel good, which will help put in the right state on mind going into the interview.