‘Twas the night before the big interview, when all through the house, an unprepared candidate was still ironing her blouse …
You've polished your pitch to a tee, memorised every detail of the company's history and shined your shoes to glossy perfection. You're ready. You will nail this interview tomorrow.
But then the doubts start to creep in: Have I prepared for every possible line of questioning? Will they think I'm underdressed? Or overdressed?! Oh what's the point, I won't get the job anyway!
Don't worry, we all have those night-before jitters ‒ they couldn't be more natural. Follow the tips below to help keep the nerves at bay and make sure you're firing on all cylinders come the big day.
Check your transport
Often it's the little, more mundane tasks that will slip your memory the night before an interview. That's understandable ‒ there will be a lot of information rattling around up there if you've done your preparation correctly.
Still, no matter how confident you are of your route to the interview location, always double check the transport situation the night before. If you're driving, is there enough fuel in the car? Are there any road closures? If you're taking public transport, are there any delays forecasted? Is your Travelcard topped up?
There's little worse than turning up late to an interview. Plan ahead to massively mitigate that risk.
Prepare for weather conditions
Come rain or shine, you want to give the very best impression in that interview room, so don't let the weather throw you off your stride.
Check the forecast, and check it again. If it's going to be a scorcher, that heavy sweater will be true to its name ‒ and that won't be pleasant for anyone in the room! Likewise, don't forget your brolly if showers are forecasted. A figurative damp squib is bad enough when it comes to job interviews.
Have a think about your breakfast
The importance of a good morning meal to jump-start your brain can't be overstated, especially with a taxing cerebral session like an interview on the horizon. Avoid a mad dash to the shops in the morning and make sure you've got your food planned the night before.
Slow-release carbs like porridge or wholegrain cereals will power you steadily through the day, making them great pre-interview chow.
Distill down your notes
The night before really is the eleventh hour when it comes to interview prep. You may well have reams and reams of notes ‒ and if you've committed those to memory, all the better ‒ but at this late stage, it's all about hammering the basics.
What are your strengths and weaknesses? What appeals to you about this job? Why do you think you're suited to the role? Give us an example of how you've dealt with a challenging situation.
They may be well-trodden, but these sorts of questions are very likely to come up. Use the night before to really nail down your responses.
Role play with family and friends
You might've learnt your material inside and out, but if you can't articulate it on the day, you're in trouble. Lay aside some time the night before to have a family member or friend hold a kind of mock interview.
Have them start out asking you the questions above – the standard interview fodder. Then branch out to more role-specific enquiries. Nailing your answers with clear, concise and intelligent responses will work wonders for calming nerves.
Get a second opinion on your outfit
One man's resplendent shirt is another's technicoloured nightmare. No matter how confident you are in your outfit, it's always worth running it past an impartial eye the night before.
When selecting your attire, consider your prospective employer's corporate culture. The sharp lines of that deep blue suit may win plaudits with three lawyers sitting across the table, but it'll do little to impress a casually clad web-design boss. When getting a second opinion, make sure your accomplice knows a bit about the job you're going for.
Forget all about it!
Once you've done as much of the above as you can, it's time to take your mind off of things entirely. Staying up all night cramming your notes or agonising about the perfect first impression may feel productive, but it will do little to help your freshness or clarity of thought on the day.
We've all got our own ways to unwind ‒ cooking, reading, going for a jog, running a nice hot bath. Above all, make sure you leave enough time the night before to really let your mind settle.
If your go-to methods aren't cutting it, try some simple meditation. Mindfulness, which involves slow breathing and visualisation, is a tried and tested way to relax the brain. There are a number of resources that can help you get into it, like the app Headspace. It is free to download and can help you achieve a clear head the night before your crunch interview.
Don't forget that it's totally normal to be nervous ahead of an important job interview; if you weren't, you should question how much you want the position. It's only when those nerves get out of hand that you've got a problem. Stick to these tips for the night before and come the big day, you'll be at your best.
Click on the following link for more interview advice.
Before you can worry about the interview, your CV has to get you through the door. Will yours? Get a free, objective critique from TopCV to find out if your CV is interview-worthy.