The night before an interview can be a stressful time—usually one filled with “what if’s?”
What if I don’t know the answer to a question? What if I trip and fall on my way into the office? What if I sleep through my alarm and miss the entire thing and never get a job ever again?
This is only normal, and you’re certainly not alone in these thoughts.
But that’s why you should actually spend time the night before doing a little something called preparation! Because when you’re prepared, there’s really no reason to worry.
And we know just what you should do. In fact, we made you a handy checklist to make sure you’re covered on everything from tough interview questions to finding directions to the office to prepping for any mishap.
1. Lay Out Your Outfit
Even if this is something you never do on a regular basis, laying out your outfit the day before ensures you’re not scrambling in the morning to come up with something appropriate. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to check and make sure your shoes match and that your clothes are stain and wrinkle-free.
2. Pack Your Bag
Next stop, pack your bag with all the essentials—a stain stick, makeup, and of course, a copy of your resume (and portfolio if needed).
For even more ideas of things you should pack, this list of nine just-in-case items can help you out.
3. Figure Out Where You’re Going and How You’re Getting There
Hop on Google Maps to make sure you know the route—and check any emails from the company for important information on parking, confusing entrances, and anything else. (Oh, and if you realize it’s a big building or company, plan on spending five to 10 minutes dealing with security.) Write the directions down in your phone so they’re ready to go in the AM.
4. Review Answers to the Most Common Questions
You’ve hopefully been practicing for a few days now. But in case you haven’t, here are a few must-reads:
- How to Answer the 31 Most Common Interview Questions
- How to Answer “Tell Me About a Time When” Questions
- The 6 Types of Stories You Should Have on Hand for Job Interviews
This feels like a lot—but don’t worry. Any preparation is better than none. So learn what you can tonight and don’t stress about cramming.
5. Research Your Interviewers
Make sure you not only know names, but also titles and department. If you have time, do a quick Google search and a little LinkedIn stalking to get a little background on what they might be working on.
6. Print Out Your Resume
The hiring manager may have your resume on hand, they may not (insert frustrated sigh here). Prepare for the person walking in not only empty-handed, but also with a few extra people who would love to see a copy.
7. Plan Your Breakfast
Seriously, I don’t care if you never eat breakfast—you should before an interview for all the reasons you already know about. (Or if it’s in the afternoon, sub in lunch.) Don’t let hunger, or hanger, throw you off.
8. Prepare for the Worst
Bad things happen—it starts pouring on your walk, there’s traffic on a street that never has traffic, your shirt rips. While some things can’t be prevented or predicted, they can be proactively planned for.
For example, if you’re worried about showing up late, give yourself even more time in the morning. (Or have this “running late” template handy and ready to send.)
Or, if you’re worried about blanking on an interview question, learn how to stall for time.
Lastly, if you’re stressed your micromanaging boss is going to notice you being out of the office for a while, make sure you have an acceptable excuse on hand (your dentist appointment went long, you got caught in traffic, you’re not feeling well).
9. Create a Cheat Sheet
This can be a huge lifesaver when you’re moments away from meeting the hiring manager and blanking on their name. So jot down all the nitty-gritty details: who you’re meeting with and what their titles are, a couple past work accomplishments or stories you want to bring up, and the questions you want to ask at the end.
And great news! We made you a cheat sheet that you can fill out, and either print or just have handy on your phone!
10. Set Your Alarm
This may sound silly, but sometimes you need an extra reminder.
11. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Finally, you worked hard tonight, and you don’t want to wake up cranky, so get some sleep. That means turning off your TV, powering down social media, and getting cozy at a reasonable hour. Your morning self will thank you.
Phew, I think you’re ready! Now go kick some butt and land that job.
TopicsInterview Basics , Interview Nerves , Job Search , Syndication , Interviewing for a Job , The Muse Editor's Picks , Worksheets
Photo of clothes on bed courtesy of Indeed/Getty Images.
As an Associate Editor for The Muse, Alyse is proud to prove that yes, English majors can change the world. She calls many places home, including Illinois where she grew up and the small town of Hamilton where she attended Colgate University, but she was born to be a New Yorker. In addition to being an avid writer, Alyse loves to dance, both professionally and while waiting for the subway.More from this Author