If you watch elite athletes right before a competition, you'll see
they are fiercely focused. Whether they're quietly preparing or psyching
themselves up as a team, all the attention is directed at the goal
ahead. Last-minute job interview preparations are similarly important.
these 9 steps from the moment you exit your car or step off public
transportation and before you sit down to snag your dream job, and
you'll be at the top of your game at go-time. Check Twitter one last time.
you've done your due diligence prior to heading to your interview --
Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, the whole social media shebang. On your way
in, tap on Twitter and the company's website one last time to see if
there is any company breaking news you might be able to relevantly
reference. "It will make you seem interested, informed and help you
stand out from other candidates," says Meryl Weinsaft Cooper
Check yourself out, too.
Especially if your appointment is
after lunch, find a mirror and do a quick stain/spinach-in-teeth check.
So simple, yet so often forgotten in the well-intentioned desire not to
be late. "One of my clients, in her haste to dress and rush to the
interview, discovered that she was wearing her blouse inside-out," says
Scope out your competition.
Being aware of the people around
you and your surroundings from the time you enter the building until the
time you sit down across from your interviewer can give you clues that
you can use on the fly. "Often the person leaving as you are arriving is
your competitor. Or you may be waiting in the same area as other
Check out the scenery.
Part of being aware of your
surroundings is noticing what's on the walls, in people's cubicles, and
in the lobby. This can give you nuggets about the company that can't be
found with Google. "Sometimes looking at what is on a whiteboard in a
conference room can give you valuable information. A client once saw
three issues that were hitting sales on a board in the room he was asked
to wait in. He was able to talk about them during his interview," notes
Get your mind revved up.
Ever feel like you settle into an
interview after a few minutes? That doesn't go unnoticed. "As a former
recruiter, I would see candidates come alive three or more minutes into
the interview," says Caroline Ceniza-Levine, partner with
SixFigureStart, a career consulting firm. Unfortunately, that's a big
strike against you: "That's three minutes too late, as I've already
formed an opinion about them," notes Ceniza-Levine, a former Fortune 500
recruiter. She suggests taking five minutes in the waiting room to
review an index card with key points or an inspirational quote to make
sure you're operating at 100 percent the moment you sit down.
Organize your grand entrance.
interviewer is not a surprise situation -- you know you'll probably be
in a waiting room and that at any moment you'll be called in. So be
ready. "I can't tell you how many candidates scramble for their bag,
their coat, their water, their book, and hunched over and arms full
still try to shake my hand. It's hard to look professional and poised
this way," says Ceniza-Levine. So pare down what you're carrying and
leave a hand free to shake. She adds that you should make sure your
first impression isn't a wardrobe malfunction (for women, that may be a
skirt that rides up too far, and for a man, pants that are hemmed too
short). "One job seeker wore Mickey Mouse socks that so distracted an
interviewer, he went from front-runner to discard," recalls
Respect the front desk.
The security team or receptionist
isn't just a gateway into the office, he or she may be a pseudo-spy for
your boss-to-be. Act as if anything you say or do will be relayed to
your interviewer. "Many candidates don't realize that the receptionist
holds more power than you think. Starting on the wrong foot with the
receptionist could prematurely end your candidacy for the position. And
the worst part is that you may never know what happened," says Cheryl
Palmer, founder of Call to Career, a career coaching firm. Part of
showing respect means finishing any cell phone conversations before you
enter the building and turning off your ringer.
Use the bathroom beforehand.
you're traveling a longer distance, try to leave time to use the
ladies' or mens' room. "Nothing is more distracting than nature's call
mid-interview. [You] may not be able to concentrate fully on questions
that you are asked and those you need to ask to appear engaged and
focused," says Cohen. Having to take a bathroom break during your
meeting will make you seem unreliable and disorganized.