The Night Before a Job Interview Nerves: 15 Ways to Ensure Success.


What to do the night before a job interview - Soul-based Job Search How to increase your chances of getting a job offer.

As a job seeker, you may be wondering what to do the night before a job interview to boost your chances of getting a job offer. There are actually 15 things you can do the night prior to the job interview to make sure you make a good impression on your interviewer.

    How to Increase Your Chances of a Job Offer

    Let’s face it, the night before a job interview can be stressful. Do you know where you are going? What job interview attire is appropriate?

    How are you going to remember all the good answers you’ve developed during your mock interview sessions? These are all common worries of interviewing for a job.

    The stress level can increase if you are interviewing for a position you’re really excited about.

    The key to avoiding job candidate blunders such as being 20 minutes late or forgetting extra copies of your resume, is to be prepared.

    Think of how to prepare for an interview like you would if you were taking a test in school. You’d research the best answers, find out the structure of the exam and take steps to be mentally and physically prepared so you can ace the test.

    Acing a job interview to get hired requires the same discipline. When you prepare for a job interview, you can eliminate worry and focus on doing your best.

    Here is a checklist of 15 items you need to do the night before a job interview. The first section helps you optimize your environment, get rid of stress and get yourself in prime condition for even a tough interview.

    1. Set Your Alarm Clock, Watch, Phone, Etc.

    Man setting his watch alarm

    Read the instructions for the interview again for the interview time.

    Then triplecheck that you have the alarm set for the correct wake-up time. Make sure it’s a.m. not p.m. or vice versa. Check the sound to make sure it is loud enough to get you out of bed.

    Have at least two alarms set, preferably on two different devices. If you have a friend or family member who is up at that time of day, ask them to call you to make sure you are awake.

    The reason for this: Punctuality counts. You must show up on time to the job interview. Don’t be late because it will drastically reduce your chances of a job offer.

    Setting an alarm will give you oodles of time to get ready, sit in traffic, get lost, lose your keys, find your phone and deal with delays without being late.

    2. Lay Out Your Outfit

    Unless you are doing only phone interviews, your clothing matters.

    Maybe you do this already and that’s great. But if you don’t, literally placing your clothes out can help you be well prepared for the busiest of mornings.

    You’ve probably bought something new to wear to the job interview. Make sure those plastic thingies that hold the price tags are snipped and there are no transparent stickers anywhere.

    If you are wearing something you already have, inspect it for tears, stains, pet hair or strings.

    When you go to an interview, you want to look as freshly pressed as possible. If something needs ironing, watch a youtube video and iron the article of clothing.

    Make sure you have your accessories, shoes, underwear, coat, scarf, and glasses ready to go. It will save you a ton of time in the morning.

    If you don’t know what to wear to your interview yet, check out my post on this classic outfit and this one about wearing red to an interview.

    The reason for this: Looks matter. Non-verbal communication such as body language, eye contact and knowing how to dress make up the majority of what you are telling your potential new boss.

    If your job interview outfit is not appropriate for the company, you are saying “I don’t get you and I won’t fit in.” If you are distracted by shoes that are too tight or a blob of cat hair on your shirt, you won’t have a good answer ready when they ask you how you handle conflict.

    3. Organize Your Emergency Kit

    A job interview emergency kit includes:

    • extra working pens
    • notepad or journal to take notes
    • copies of your printed resume on resume paper
    • phone charger
    • lint brush
    • mints
    • sewing kit
    • hairbrush
    • extra pair of earrings
    • feminine supplies if it is within a week of your monthly
    • Advil
    • antacid
    • $20 cash with $1s and $5s
    • kleenex
    • a rabbit’s foot for good luck
    • Bottled water

    Ok, you can forget the rabbit’s foot, but put the emergency kit in your car. You’ll have the stuff in case you need it.

    The reason for this: You never know what little emergency is going to pop up. Being prepared for the unexpected brings you peace of mind. During the interview, peace of mind reads as confidence.

    4. Stop Stress Before It Starts

    For one night you are in a stress-free zone. This guided meditation is unbelievably soothing and will help you calm down.

    Don’t tackle pre-calculus with your preteen or pick a fight with your spouse. Don’t open the vet bill or look at your bank account. Put on some happy music or a comedy and try to relax.

    Take a bath, take the dog to the park. Enjoy your life and don’t allow any stress to drain you before the big day. Meditation is an awesome stress buster, I wrote all about meditating for beginners here.

    The reason for this: Job interview tips won’t help you if you are frazzled, tired and a nervous wreck. You are trying to sell yourself as the best candidate, and stress can undermine your appearance of being competent and confident.

    Give yourself a break the night before a job interview and think positive thoughts. This video and blog post shows you how to use job interview affirmations to ease anxiety.

    5. Get Moving

    When I am stressed, I like to get moving. A 15-minute walk or a full-on workout at the gym can clear the mind and get rid of nervous energy. Just make sure not to overdo it. If this is the first exercise you’ve had in months, a walk is just fine.

    Don’t exercise too late in the evening, it might keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. And don’t overdo it. The last thing you need is to hurt yourself or be super sore the day of your interview.

    You can’t hide a grimace and if you’re over 40, being sore will say “I’m old” faster than you can whip out your reading glasses.

    The reason for this: Exercise works off stress and releases feelgood endorphins that will make you feel more positive about your chances of getting your dream job.

    6. Eat Food for Fuel, not for Feels

    pork chop with vegetables is a nutritious choice

    Don’t gorge on ice cream at 10 p.m. and expect your body to thank you with great sleep.

    You want to eat a nutritious dinner that’s not too heavy or will give you heartburn, gas or other digestion issues. Trying the newest kimchi bar the night before a job interview is not a good idea.

    If you eat breakfast, prepare the foods you’ll need the night before. Cut up berries for cereal or a smoothie. Get the coffee maker set up to brew.

    The reason for this: There’s nothing worse than feeling low-energy and having an unpredictable stomach on the day of a job interview. Eating nutritious food makes you feel good.

    You may be wondering should I drink alcohol the night before a job interview? The short answer is no. If you usually have a glass of wine with dinner or a beer, then you can probably drink that and be fine.

    Going out to a happy hour or watching the big game at a sports bar, on the other hand, could get you all kinds of hungover.

    7. Double-check the Driving Directions

    Read the interview confirmation email for the address and plug it into Google maps. Don’t kinda know where it is. Know exactly where the place is. Are you directionally challenged? Study Google street views for landmarks. If you are going to a new part of town, do a test run to be sure.

    The reason for this: What you think you know and what is the truth may be two different things. I interviewed for a job where I thought I knew where the company was, but when I got there it was the wrong building. Luckily I had time to drive around the block to the correct building.

    8. Give Yourself the Gift of Time

    You want to give yourself a buffer for all of life’s unexpected delays. Did a freak thunderstorm turn usually clear roads into a traffic jam? Stay calm. You have time.

    Your cat, dog, bearded dragon decide to go berserk and escape the house, you have time. Little Johnny forgot his Spiderman lunchbox, but you gave yourself time to run it by the school.

    Double the time you think it will take to get ready and be on time to the interview. If you get there 30 minutes early, go for a walk or watch an episode of Fleabag.

    The reason for this: Time is tricky. We think we have more than we do.

    Even if you have an hour to wait before your interview, you can fill the time. Observe the people who work for your potential employer. Visualize yourself working there. Practice answering common interview questions.

    9. Get Your Zzzzzzzs

    cat sleeping in a blanket

    Go to bed early and read or meditate to wind down. Pop a melatonin tabletOpens in a new tab. (these are the best), if you currently use it and drift off to dreamland.

    Sleep not only enhances your looks, it also improves cognitive ability and mood. Play some soothing music on your phone, pretend tomorrow is a regular day and you are catching up on your sleep.

    You should sleep like a teenager after you’ve finished everything on this list. Sleep tight because there is nothing left to worry about.

    The reason for this: Sleep or lack thereof can affect your ability to remember things and think on your feet. As an interviewee, you are expected to have a concise, well-said interview answer.

    Ummimg and aaahing your way through it will make your interviewers think you are not prepared.

    The Night Before a Job Interview: Interview Prep

    Now these last 6 items on this list of what to do the night before a job interview are about the actual interview. These things will, I hope, improve the quality of your interview.

    10. Get Your Chit-chat Together

    Whether you like it or not, small talk is part of the interview. The hiring manager or members of the interview panel are likely to make chit-chat with you as you are escorted to the interview room.

    They will likely ask one of the most common interview questions: Tell me about yourself. You may be asked about a current event or about your location. Have several responses ready.

    The reason for this: Making small talk tells employers you are likable and good with people.

    11. Make Sure Your Facts are Straight

    As a job seeker, you’ve already researched the company you’re interviewing with. But the night before a job interview do a quick Google search for breaking news. Check their social media pages for the latest and greatest.

    The reason for this: You don’t want to sound out of touch or state incorrect information. Things change quickly for large corporations and you want to look as though you really understand the company culture.

    12. Outline What You Want to Say

    Remember, you are in control of your career.

    A job interview is not a one-sided conversation. Be sure to draft the points you want to cover during the meeting. Include reminders on how to answer behavioral questions — including weaknesses and failures.

    Make sure to address red flags such as gaps in your employment or layoffs. Ask questions about the management, priorities and overall expectations of your role in the company.

    The reason for this: Having notes and reminders will give you the chance to interview the interviewer. Voice your concerns, priorities and what you are looking for in your next career move.

    13. Practice, Practice, Practice

    The night before a job interview, you only have a few hours, but practicing is crucial.

    Review your answers to tough questions. Record them on a video or say your answers in front of the bathroom mirror. Look at your movements and listen to the confidence in your voice.

    Keep practicing until you feel comfortable with your answers.

    The reason for this: We all have nervous habits and verbal crutches. Seeing yourself in the mirror or in a video can help you identify and reduce them.

    The job market is highly competitive, you must appear confident and friendly, even when you are nervous.

    14. Print Your Resume on Nice Paper

    This is part of your emergency kit, but you want to have a few copies of your resume on resume paper. If you are reading this on the night before a job interview, just make sure you print out the resume on printer paper.

    The reason for this: Some people are paper people. They like to see things on paper and hold a piece of paper. Managers also like it when you anticipate their needs. If the interviewer references your resume, you can hand a copy to him or her. Here ya go Boss!

    15. Follow up, But Don’t Stalk

    The interview doesn’t end when you give your interviewer a handshake and walk out of the room. The night before a job interview, set a calendar reminder to follow up with a thank you note or a thank you email.

    You should send the note or email the same day of the interview. The message should remind them of the job you applied to, include a brief summary of what you discussed and have any information that you wanted to mention again. It should not be more than 5 sentences.

    The reason for this: These days hiring managers expect you to send a thankyou note. It depends on the hiring manager if they give extra points for following up, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

    The night before a job interview is going to be a busy one. But you will lay the groundwork for avoiding blunders and acing the interview. Good luck and lights out.

    Tracey Lamphere

    Tracey Lamphere, M.S. IMC is the editor of Job Affirmations, a publication that provides information and ideas to use mindfulness, positive affirmations, and visualizations to transform your career.

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