It’s extremely easy to make mistakes the morning of your job interview, and it’s no secret your nerves can get the best of you.
Luckily, there are ways to protect yourself from life’s most common interview slip-ups. If you don’t have a plan in place to protect you from these mistakes you could be losing out on the job of your dreams.
Here’s a list of the worst and most common mishaps that can happen the morning of your job interview and how to avoid them:
1. Don’t overthink everything.
By now you’ve done your research and know the company like the back of your hand — so relax.
The biggest challenge is receiving a call back for an interview — and you’ve already conquered that. The morning before your job interview, sip some coffee and be proud of all your accomplishments. The moment you shake the hiring manager’s hand is the moment you should be the most calm, cool and collected.
Easier said than done, right?
Try not to get inside your head and over-think the interview. Approach it just like you’re having a casual conversation. Calmly listen and answer the hiring manager’s questions and tell them about all of your impressive experience. Your confidence will shine through and impress all the folks in the room.
2. Bad breath.
Stating the obvious — no one wants to have terrible smelling breath when they begin an interview, but too often, candidates forget to throw their gum out before the job interview begins.
If you’re snapping away during the interview, it might not communicate the right message about your seriousness in wanting the job.
Chances are you’ll be sitting right across the table, if not next to, the hiring manager. Instead of gum, pop in a few mints beforehand to nix the morning breath.
You already know you’re not suppose to oversleep the morning of an interview. It’s common knowledge, right? However, it’s always best to have a plan.
To be extra prepared for your interview, you stayed up late to practice introducing yourself and went over any potential questions the hiring manager might ask. Unfortunately, as a result of staying up late, you hit snooze way too many times and now you’ve overslept.
To avoid the panic of sleeping through your alarm, set at least two alarms for the morning of your job interview. It’s better to be prepared than to chance the one day you might oversleep.
It’s important to get enough sleep so you can function at full capacity the next morning. In general, most people need about six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep to be able to fully function the next day.
4. Arriving late, period.
Employers find it unacceptable to be late to a job interview. Showing up even a few minutes late could tell the hiring manager that you have little respect for their busy schedule. And just remember, if you’re on time, you’re late.
Plan your route accordingly. Even if you intend on arriving to your interview destination early, construction and traffic delays could slow you down. To avoid being late for your interview, give yourself a buffer.
Let’s say your interview is located 40 minutes away in the heart of downtown. It’s common sense to know that traffic in the city is unpredictable and far more congested than anywhere else. So how will you know how bad traffic is?
Use Waze (available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone) or a similar GPS app to get you to your destination.
The app offers more than basic directions; it also shows local traffic conditions in real-time, using data collected by other motorists using the service. A route that’s backed up with traffic will be displayed in red — a clear route will be shown as yellow or green. If you hit a traffic jam, you can discover the quickest alternate routes by clicking on them.
Also, if you’re relying on your smartphone’s GPS system, make sure you bring a car charger. The GPS will be no use to you if your phone is dead.
5. Forgetting the basics.
You expect hiring managers to show up prepared with questions and information on the company — they expect the same from you.
In fact, a 2015 survey from the Creative Group reported 70 percent of respondents said that, if candidates don’t bring requested items such as a resume, portfolio of work and references, they would immediately discount them in consideration for the job.
You want to look and be prepared when you arrive. The night before your interview, make a list of all the appropriate documents you will be bringing to the interview — and check it twice in the morning. It’s hard to show the hiring manager your previous work experience if you show up empty-handed.
What to take:
- Resume hard copies. The interviewer will more than likely have a hard copy, but it is a good idea to have several copies printed out for others you might meet in the interview.
- Include references’ names, company names, titles and contact information. For personal references, specify the nature of the personal relationship. While job seekers mostly provide professional references, don’t skip out on personal references, especially if the reference has a relationship with the company.
- Portfolio of your work. A professional portfolio is an appropriate way to showcase your talent by putting together a book of previous working documents. Also, be sure to include any news articles or corporate collateral that mentions your work. If applicable, offer to show presentations via PowerPoint in place of or in addition to addendums and portfolios.
- Certification list. Whether you’re interviewing for a job in IT or HR, put this list together on a separate sheet to provide interviewers with if appropriate.
How are you avoiding these common mistakes during the morning of a job interview?