You got your foot into the door! Congratulations!!! You spent so much time reformatting your CV/Resume and spent an entire afternoon writing what you hope was a compelling cover letter. Think of that as your ‘pre-game’. Now it’s time for the interview. Typically there is about 3-6 days of downtime before the big day. You will need all of those days to prepare. Here’s what you can do:
First, reread through your CV/Resume, cover letter, and any other pertinent material. This includes the company’s job post. What do they need? They are interviewing you to see if you can provide them with that specific need. If you landed an interview, then on paper you qualify for that need. The interview is the time where you are able to elaborate on your resume, but also who you are as a person that no resume will ever reveal. Handwrite a list of key things you would like to bring up during your interview. Things that you can incorporate into the questions the interviewer asks you. These examples or topics should be specific. Explain the situation, what your action was, the results of your action, and THEN tie it into how it could apply to the company you are interviewing for. How can you best demonstrate your potential worth to THIS company? By writing these things down in detail, not only are you able to keep reviewing it, but it will also store more readily into your memory. During your interview, you will be able to talk with confidence about you, your experiences, and your strengths.
Next, talk with someone who knows you well at a personal AND professional level. For me, this is my mom and my friend Nikki. They know who I am in every day life, they know my experiences, but they both also work in the same field as me. This person may remind you of a strength or of an experience you may have overlooked earlier. This person is also a good candidate to practice interview scenarios with. I personally find it harder to talk with this person when doing a mock interview rather than with a stranger during the real thing because they know you at a personal level and are able to nit-pick a bit more into your responses. But getting the practice in will help you be more concise, organized, articulate, and prepared. Remember to write down notes when you’re talking with (as Meredith Grey would say) your person so that you can review it later on with your other notes.
Start planning what you will wear, your hair, and your makeup at least 2-3 days prior to your interview. Edit as necessary up until the night before so that the LAST thing you are worrying about the morning of is this. There is absolutely nothing worse than trying to multitask your look and your interview preparation a few hours before your interview. I have my standard go-to interview look that I basically stick to every single time. It is my plan in the near future to write an expanded post on this topic. For now, just think professional and simple.
Drive to the interview location BEFORE interview day. Do not rely on Siri to get you there the morning of. Something will always go wrong. I don’t know how many times my Google Maps has (attempted) to direct me through peoples’ lawns, down streets that no longer exist, or my data connection has faltered and the map doesn’t work it all. This is stress that you do not need on your way to the interview. Do not be afraid at the time of scheduling your interview to ask for the best directions, where to park, or what door to come in, etc… Asking leaves a much better impression than showing up even a minute late. When you drive to your location before the interview you can also time how long it takes to get there. That way you are able to give yourself enough time to get there, park, and also be there 10-15 minutes early. There have been times when I would show up 30 minutes early and kick myself for having too much free time in the car beforehand to build up any lurking anxiety.
The last prep tip also has to do with anxiety. Interviewing is stressful. You REALLY want the job, you have no idea what they might ask you or what to expect, and a million things could go wrong. Try to not let anxiety get the best of you in the days and hours leading up to the big moment. This is easier said than done. What are your go to activities to relieve stress normally? Apply those activities to this situation. A long, hot shower and tea are big ones for me. The night before I also like to pop in a comedy that I have seen 100 times because I know I will be distracted for at least a little bit. Staying away from excessive amounts of caffeine will also help alleviate anxiety. There is nothing worse than being nervous and OD’ing on coffee at the same time. Remember that a little bit of stress is a good thing! It motivates you to perform at your highest level possible, and it shows that you really do care about your current pursuit.