Congratulations! You’ve made it through the screening process and have scheduled your first in person interview. But it doesn’t matter if it’s your first job interview or your 100th, it’s normal to feel a bit apprehensive before the big day. Check out these 14 things you can do the night before your interview to set yourself up for success.
1. Print your resume
Make sure you have enough (color!) copies for each person you are meeting with – plus a few extras. You don’t want to be caught off guard if an extra executive joins your interview or something gets spilt on a few copies.
2. Review your email conversations with the contact
Make sure you have the correct time, date, location, the necessary materials and names of people you're meeting with, which brings us to the next point...
3. Research the people you will be meeting with
A simple "go wildcats" once secured me a job interview—and eventually a job offer—with a company, because I took just a few minutes to skim the recruiters LinkedIn profile to learn she was a University of Kentucky alumni. Take just ten minutes to scan the LinkedIn profiles of each person you'll be meeting with so you'll know the basics about them and their job history.
4. Research the company
At bare minimum, you should peruse the company’s website, paying particular attention to about and leadership pages. But take it a step further and give the company a quick Google and see if they’ve been in the news, plus see what current and former employees have to say on sites like Glassdoor (and Fairygodboss!). Don’t forget to check out social media pages as well.
5. Prepare your questions
The worst thing you can do in an interview when the interviewer asks if you have any questions is answer “no.” Interviews are an opportunity for you to learn about the company – and for the company to learn about you – so have 3-5 basic questions in mind to ask, plus be prepared to ask question based on what comes out of your conversation.
6. Create a “cheat sheet”
This should include the questions you want to ask, the names of the people your meeting with and their job title, and anything else relevant you gathered while you were researching the company and the people you’re interviewing with.
7. Pick out your outfit
There’s nothing worse than staring at your closet the morning of your interview, grumbling because you have nothing to wear or trying on ten different outfits before finding one that suits you. Save yourself a headache the morning of the interview and pick out your outfit the night before.
8. Plan your pre-interview meal
The last thing you need distracting you during your interview is a rumbling stomach, so make sure to plan for a high energy meal before your interview so you’ll stay alert. On a similar note: if at all possible, plan on eating in different clothes than you’ll be wearing to the interview, so you don’t risk food spills.
9. Pack your bag
In addition to what you normally a carry, pack your resumes (in a nice portfolio), an umbrella, a water bottle, and a mess-free snack in your purse (if it’s large enough) or your brief case. Have it sitting at the door ready to go so you aren’t scrambling as you’re getting ready to leave.
10. Prepare for anything that might come up during the day
This includes everything from what to tell your current boss and coworkers to learning how to buy a few more seconds to think if you’re asked a question in the interview you aren’t sure of the answer to. Don’t get bogged down by negative thinking, but do take some time to think about what you will do if a challenge arises.
11. Go to bed early – and try some natural remedies to fall asleep
Do your best to go to bed early – or at least on time – so you’re rested and not fighting grogginess during your interview. If you find nerves are getting the better of you, try a natural remedy such as melatonin, to help you relax and fall asleep.
12. Practice your route
If you live close enough to where you’re interviewing at, drive from your house to the location once before the interview, scouting out the best route and parking location. The same goes for those of you who will be walking or taking public transportation to your interview. Also be sure to check traffic apps, like Waze, to make sure you’ve accounted for traffic when planning your route.
13. Secure your transportation
If you’re not driving, make sure you have cash for a cab, a new metro card or other means of transportation secured before the morning of your interview. If you’ll be walking to the interview, make sure you have a backup plan in case of bad weather.
Nerves are normal, but it’s important to think positive! If your nerves start to get the better of you, focus on all you’ve accomplished in your career (so far) and remember that if the interviewers didn’t think you had what it takes to succeed, they wouldn’t have invited you in for an interview!
Samantha Smoak is a journalist turned tech public relations professional based in Nashville, Tennessee. For sports jokes and dog pictures, follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @samanthaksmoak.