Congratulations if you are getting ready for an important job interview! The preparation to make a good impression, form the best answers to questions, and to find out about a new organization can be time consuming and stressful.
Even with all the work, take a few extra minutes the day before your interview to make sure you have these last-minutes tasks checked off. If you can do this on the day before, you can focus on the interview itself the next day.
1. Dress for Success
Nothing makes you stand straighter than looking good. And you don't have to go buy a new suit to wear, as long as the clothes you have are neat and professional. Get your outfit, and yourself, ready. Check your clothes to make sure they are pressed, stain-free, and ready to go. Make sure you have pantyhose (if you wear them) and a back-up pair, and inspect your shoes for scuffs or dirt. Guys should examine any collared shirts for discoloration and should be sure they have black (not white!) socks to go with their shoes. Everyone should give an outfit the once over for missing buttons or dropped hems.
2. Look the Part
It is much to easy to overlook the little things when you are getting ready for a job interview, but those are the very things an interviewer will notice. Take off any chipped nail polish, decide the neatest way to wear your hair, and make a conscious effort to wear professional (i.e., minimal) makeup. Now is not the time to try a new bright lipstick or wear tons of jewelry. Both men and women should go easy on any perfume or cologne or hair product.
3. Get Your Papers in Order
Instead of searching for your resume just before you are out the door, take the time to assemble a few copies of your resume, a blank notebook, and a couple of pens (you don't want to be caught unprepared if one runs out of ink!). Jot your questions down ahead of time and go over any potential questions in your head. Know how you might put a positive spin on tricky questions, like what your biggest weakness is. Have a few mints (but no gum) before your appointment to freshen your breath. Just make sure there's nothing in your mouth when you check in for your interview.
4. Map Your Route
Believe it or not, roads can be closed, a GPS can malfunction, weather can change your route, and traffic delays can force you to find another way to get to your interview. Find a few ways to get to where you are going and print out those directions (and reverse directions for when you leave). Plan to leave in plenty of time in case of unexpected delays. You don't want to be late to your interview.
5. Think Ahead
Call any references you might use ahead of time. If your interviewer asks for references, you don't want a company to call them without you saying something first. Check in with them and tell them you have an interview and ask if it would be okay to use them as a reference, if needed. This step makes you look professional to both your references and to the company with whom you are interviewing. And be sure to get the business cards of anyone you interview with so you know exactly where to send a post-interview thank-you note.
6. Take a Deep Breath
With all those tasks out of the way, you can relax a little and feel better knowing you are as prepared as possible. Good luck!