What To Do 24 Hours Before Your Interview

The day begins the night before.

This adage is especially true if you are preparing for a job interview.

By doing as much prep work as you can beforehand, you may be able to put the odds in your favor. Here’s a list of what to do 24 hours before your interview to help the process go more smoothly…

1) Take out the outfit you plan to wear. All of it.

From ties to jewelry to shoes and socks. Check to make sure it’s all cleaned and pressed. Polish your shoes, if necessary. Don’t wait until the next morning to discover that there’s a ripped seam, a missing button or that the fit isn’t what it was six months ago. Opt for no surprises! Try everything on. Does it still fit nicely? Are you comfortable in it? Is it too snug when you sit down? If you have any concerns about how good you’ll feel in those particular clothes, work them out now or pick something else to wear. An extra tip to remember. When getting dressed the next day, a mild spritz of cologne or aftershave is nice, but be careful not to go overboard. You don’t want to announce your arrival before anyone even sees you.

2) If at all possible, go for a trial run to the office at the exact same time you plan on leaving the next day.
If you have a 2:00 pm meeting and you think it might take 30 minutes to get there, give yourself an hour. Your goal is to simulate the same general traffic conditions. You’ll be able to assess if there are road construction issues that might hold you up. Or discover toll booths of which you weren’t aware. Also, if your appointment is at 2:00, and you arrive at the building at 1:55, you still might not be on time. You may have trouble finding a parking space or not know exactly where to go once you enter the building. So once you arrive, don’t stop at the parking lot. Go inside and get a better feel for the place. It will alleviate your anxiety if you’re comfortable with the new surroundings and already know the little things, such as where the bathrooms and elevators are.

And keep in mind the Shakespearean quote, “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” Being a couple of minutes late might not seem earth shattering to you, but it gives the hiring manager the impression that you are, at the very least unprofessional, or even worse, arrogant, cocky or uninterested.

If  for some reason, you are unable to do a practice run the day before, give yourself an extra forty-five minutes more than you think you’ll need. That way, if you do encounter a traffic issue, you’ll be safe. Quite possibly you’ll get there a tad too early, but that will give you extra time to review your notes and to stop and take a few meditating breaths.

3) Check out the company’s website one more time and go over it backward and forward, up and down.
Read everything you can without putting your brain on overload. You want to have a handle on what this company is all about: the projects, the company culture, what distinguishes them from their competition.

​4) Make extra copies of your resume.
Don’t expect the office to have them on hand, although they probably will. And definitely don’t expect them to make extra copies for you if you are shorthanded because you are interviewing with more people than you had expected to. Bring more than you will need.

5) Review the questions you expect to be asked and the answers you’ve prepared.
Practice the trickier ones, like a gap in your employment history or why are you thinking about leaving your current job. Rehearse until you are comfortable responding to them. No need to memorize a reply. Just be sure you can answer any query without feeling awkward.

6) Write out between five and ten questions you’d like to ask.  
Traditionally you will be given an opportunity at the end of the interview ask questions. Obviously you should stay away from inquiring about salary and/or vacations. Select questions that show an interest in the business or that shares your level of knowledge about the company. Doing so implies that you are interested in their success, as well as your own.

7) Before going to bed, make sure your phone is fully charged
Also make sure you have the name and number of your contact person, should there be an unanticipated problem in your drive to the job interview the next day. Remember, no matter how well you plan, you can’t count on not getting a flat tire or there not being a car accident up ahead. At least you will be able to pull over and either reschedule, or at the very least explain your situation. Anything at all is better than being a no show or showing up 45 minutes late due to unforeseeable circumstances.

8) Eat some protein about an hour or so before your interview is scheduled.
Stay away from sugary foods or carbohydrates. While a bagel or muffin seems easier than making an omelet, you don’t want to get sleepy, or worse, have to fight dozing off during your meeting. Eat the foods that keep you mentally alert; not those which make you feel as if you’ll need a nap in a few hours.

9) After you arrive at your destination and you’ve gone into the bathroom for a final inspection of your outfit, seek out the receptionist or secretary to announce your arrival.
Be courteous and friendly to this gatekeeper, as she is often asked by the hiring manager her first impression of you. In fact, treat everyone you come in contact with as well as you would the CEO. It never hurts to be polite and sociable. Put every possible advantage in your corner.

One final thing to remember. You are at this interview at their invitation, because you’ve earned the right to be there. Whatever you did you get to this far, you did it well enough that they want to meet you. You are already a contender. So relax. Good luck!