At the risk of sounding alarmist, there are tons of things that can go wrong on the day of a job interview — many before you even sit down with the hiring manager.
While you can’t prepare for every single contingency, you can follow the advice of Lisa Quast, author of Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach: A Foolproof Guide to Getting the Job You Want Every Time. Speaking with College News, Quast recently outlined “5 Tips for Reducing Stress the Day of Your Job Interview,” a terrific set of suggestions good for recent grads and veteran workers alike.
Quast’s first tip may seem obvious, but it’s important: “Know where you need to go.” Check the address a few days before the interview and plan your route. Remember, there could be traffic, so it’s smart to leave early and know some alternate routes. Quast suggests making a “trial run” in advance, just to get a sense of parking options and where the building is. And since technology isn’t absolute, bring a printout of the directions on interview day.
Of course, getting there is only part of the challenge. Once you arrive, you want to look professional and prepared, and to that end, Quast recommends bringing a printout of the job description and the name of the person you’re scheduled to meet with. Sometimes, she says, people show up without knowing the name of the position or the hiring manager, and that’s incredibly bad form.
Next up, Quest suggests blocking out ample time for the interview. This is crucial if you already have a job and are interviewing during a lunch break or “doctor’s appointment.” During the interview, you’ll want to give the other person (or people) your undivided attention, and that means not checking your watch or eying the clock. Plan for the possibility the interview will take longer than you think — and it could, especially if they like you and want you to meet with people you hadn’t anticipated.
Just as it’s bad to keep glancing nervously at your watch, it’s a major no-no to look at your phone or even have it go off. The best way to avoid this: turn it off. Even on vibrate mode, it’ll be audible, so really, power down.
From technology, Quast turns to biology and advises using the bathroom before leaving the house and avoiding coffee and other liquids in the lead-up to the interview. If you get there and hear nature’s call, ask the receptionist to show you to the restrooms before he or she alerts the hiring manager you’ve arrived.