15 Things To Do Before an Interview

February 22, 2021

What you do before an interview is crucial to your overall performance within it. For best results, many prospective applicants practice the interview process and determine their strengths and weaknesses. It better prepares them for the interview itself and ensures they deliver effective and impactful answers to every question. In this article, we discuss the importance of preparing for interviews, list the benefits of preparing for them and outline 15 specific things to do before any interview.

Why is it important to prepare for an interview?

Interviewing is a skill, making practice essential in becoming a better interviewee. Interview practice involves learning how to answer questions related to your role and studying them. For example, you might pair with a friend and allow them to ask you a series of questions. Doing this assesses how well you answer each question in the moment and how well you approach questions that are unfamiliar to you. Practicing is also a time to work on your posture, appearance and non-verbal communication such as how you use your hands in conversation.

Benefits of preparing for an interview

Here are several of the benefits you earn by preparing ahead of your interview:

  • Improves your comfort
  • Increases your confidence
  • Gain constructive feedback
  • Understand your body language

Improves your comfort

Preparing for an interview at home better prepares you for the real interview. When you know many of the questions they might ask and understand how to answer them, it relieves stress and increases your comfort level. When you're comfortable at an interview, you answer each question clearly and effectively.

Increases your confidence

As you alleviate stress and prepare for your interview, your confidence rises. Knowing how to answer questions feels empowering, ensuring that you're ready for the interview. Confidence within an interview increases the chances of remembering the skills and experience you earned in previous positions.

Read More: How to Build Self Confidence: 5 Key Tips

Gain constructive feedback

Mock interview processes and practice help clarify your responses to certain questions. The mock interviewer you pair yourself with can identify your strengths and outline your weaknesses. They show you where to make improvements and advise you on how to do it. For example, a mock interviewer notices and advises you on areas such as:

  • Shortening answers
  • Speaking clearly
  • Sitting up straight
  • Smiling more often

Understand your body language

Mock interviews help you in determining your body language and improving your professional etiquette. This includes how you greet your interviewer and how you leave the interview. It often helps to have a mock interviewer assess your body language as they identify problem areas that are unknown to you.

Related: 18 Body Language Tips to Remember During Your Next Interview

15 things to do before an interview

The following list outlines many of the things the best interviewees do before any interview to maximize results:

  • Research the company.
  • Research your interviewer.
  • Prepare a set of questions.
  • Conduct a mock interview.
  • Print out physical copies of your resume.
  • Eat a healthy meal before the interview.
  • Clean and press your clothes.
  • Dress for the role.
  • Write thank-you notes for delivering after the interview.
  • Determine the fastest route to the interview.
  • Create a note with critical terms and names.
  • Turn your cell phone off before the interview.
  • Sleep well the night before.
  • Prepare for different types of interviews.
  • Consider stories from previous positions.

Research the company.

Before going into the interview, research the company along with its history, values and mission. Check their official website first, then move onto other sources. If there are any client, customer or employee reviews, study them and identify any recurring themes that might alter your decision to work with them. It also prepares you to answer any questions relating to the company, proving to your interview that you familiarized yourself with who the company is.

Research your interviewer.

Along with researching the company, identify who within the organization might interview you and research them as well. Identify their professional social media profiles and scan through their interests. It often helps to find common ground with your interviewer and bring it up during the interview. For example, if you mention that you both enjoy hiking, you immediately stand out to the interviewer, ensuring they take additional consideration toward you after you leave.

Prepare a set of questions.

At the end of the interview, most interviewers open up to questions from the interviewee. Having questions prepared at the end often shows that you have a greater interest in the role and want to learn more about the company. Consider questions such as:

  • What is the company culture like?
  • Is there an opportunity for growth in this role?
  • How do you measure employee performance?
  • What is the most challenging aspect of the position?
  • What do you enjoy most about working with this company?

Conduct a mock interview.

Find someone you trust or who has experience in interviewing and conduct a mock interview. Assign them a series of questions to ask related to your role. Encourage them to find or come up with additional questions as well without telling you what they are. At the end of the interview, take any feedback they have on improving your performance. Once ready, conduct the mock interview again.

Related: How to Prepare for a Mock Interview

Print out physical copies of your resume.

Even though they have your resume on file, many interviewers prefer seeing a physical copy during the interview. Print several copies out before your interview in preparation for them to ask. Additionally, if they ask any questions directly related to your resume, you can immediately reference it to address their questions or concerns.

Eat a healthy meal before the interview.

Consider eating a healthy meal several hours before your interview. Consider foods rich in protein, healthy fats and fiber such as:

  • Whole grain toast
  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Whole eggs

Clean and press your clothes

At least a day before your interview, ensure you have a clean set of clothes. Iron and press formal clothes such as dress pants and dress shirts to free them of wrinkles. Additionally, pack make-up and deodorant for small touch-ups just before your interview, if necessary.

Dress for the role.

Choose a set of clothes that are appropriate for the role. For best results, choose clothes that are a step above the role's normal standards. For example, if the role requires business casual attire, choose business professional attire for the interview, including a suit and tie or skirt and blouse.

Write thank you notes for delivering after the interview.

Thank you notes are a great way to leave a lasting impression as interviewers have an item to remember you by. Prepare a handful of thank-you notes before your interview. If you know before the interview how many people you might meet or interview with, ensure you make the same amount of thank-you notes. Leave each interview a single thank-you note before exiting the interview.

Determine the fastest route to the interview.

Use helpful mobile applications that monitor local traffic and map out the fastest route to your interview. Consider the time of day in which your interview occurs and if there are any traffic concerns in your area at that time. Determine how long the drive takes and leave yourself that amount of time to get there before leaving.

Create a note with critical terms and names.

It's not uncommon to forget your interviewer's name or other critical terms during an interview. Take a small note with you and hide it discreetly in a folder with your resume copies. Reference it as needed throughout your interview.

Turn your cell phone off before the interview.

Bringing your phone into the interview with you is often a necessity. If you need it, consider silencing it or turning it off. Ensure no vibrations or other tones emanate from your phone or interrupt the interview.

Sleep well the night before.

Ensure you gain proper amounts of rest before your interview. Doing so ensures that you are more aware and more alert when answering questions. Because you're alert, you pick up on subtle cues from the interviewer such as their body language or their tone. Understanding their mindset helps you adapt to the interview by imitating their physical posture or other movements.

Prepare for different types of interviews.

There are three primary types of interviews. A behavioral interview focuses on how you react in employment-based situations. Most of the questions present specific scenarios and allow you to address how you might handle them. Experiential interviews focus on your previous experience and the decisions you made in the past. The third type of interview is a combination of both behavioral and experiential interviews.

Consider stories from previous positions.

Interviewers often ask questions that encourage you to describe situations that occurred in previous positions. This gives them a better understanding of how you might react to similar situations that occur within their workplace. Before your interview, think back to your previous positions to memorable situations that you excelled in. Use them as examples to answer certain questions.


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