Your Interview Begins the Moment You Leave for It

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3 July 2012

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A job interview starts with a focused state of mind.  You’ve prepared; you’re organized; you’re professionally dressed and ready to go.  But did you realize your interview begins the moment you leave for it? Here are some common sense suggestions to get your head in the game and to make a positive first impression.

From Your Residence to the Parking Garage:

  • To minimize stress and anxiety, allow yourself plenty of time to arrive. Remember to budget for parking, which, depending on the size of your city, could add 10-15 minutes or more to your drive time.
  • Take only essential items with you to the interview. This includes copies of your resume, questions to ask, interview itinerary (if provided), work samples and pen in a professional folder. Also remember to bring any documents requested by the company such as a completed employment application or non-disclosure agreement.
  • For day-long interviews, it may be a good idea to pack an extra energy bar along in your briefcase or purse, along with a breath mint or two (no gum).
  • Leave your mobile device in your car. If you must take it with you, make absolute certain all alerts are turned off.
  • If applicable, remember to bring your parking ticket in the event the company  has told you they will validate it.
  • Depending on the size of the company or building, you may need to present a photo ID to security at building check-in in order to obtain a visitor badge, so make sure to bring it inside with you.

From the Parking Garage to the Reception Desk:

  • Just as it is rude to arrive late, it is also rude to arrive too early. Do not enter the company’s office more than 10 minutes ahead of your scheduled interview time.
  • Be mindful of how you carry yourself as you leave your car and enter the building. Stand tall, look straight ahead, and walk with purpose.
  • Depending on the building layout, and if you have time, you may wish to visit the restroom before the interview as a final check on your appearance.
  • Follow the sign-in procedure with the receptionist or security desk. Make sure you know whom to ask for.
  • Barring physical limitations, when waiting, stand rather than sit so that you are in position to greet your first interviewer. If you must sit, watch so you can quickly rise to greet your interviewer with a firm handshake.

Bonus Tip:

  • Respect the receptionist. Often times the receptionist is a covert participant in the hiring process and reports your actions back to key decision makers. And if you’re interviewing with a small company, the receptionist could be the boss, or one of the boss’ relatives.

Whether you are the receptionist, HR representative, hiring manager or experienced job seeker, what other advice would you share? Please add your feedback below.


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