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Often, the anticipation in the days leading up to a job interview can be even more stressful than the interview itself. So it’s important to channel that nervous energy to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success come interview day.
By the eve of your interview, you’ve probably already done a lot of the prep work; you’ve practiced your answers, polished your resume, and planned your route there. But there’s still a lot to accomplish. To avoid last-minute emergencies and cut down on any additional stress on the day of your interview, here are six things to do the night before the big day.
1. Prepare your outfit
Your choice of attire is incredibly important when it comes to making a good first impression. In fact, most people have a go-to suit or skirt and blouse combination that makes an appearance at just about every interview. No matter what professional outfit you wear, you’ll want to make sure it’s clean, unstained, and wrinkle-free. These small details can speak volumes about your confidence and seriousness to a recruiter. Try to lay out your clothes the night before to give yourself plenty of time to run to the dry cleaners, whip out a stain remover, or use a steamer if necessary. This extra step should help you get focused and also cut out additional stress the following morning.
2. Study up
Researching the company that you’re applying to, as well as researching your interviewers, is a key to acing your interview. It should give you valuable insights into the position you’re applying for, provide material to personalize your responses, and lower your stress levels by humanizing the interviewers. A quick search of recent news surrounding the company and industry is quick and easy but will sink in overnight and be easier to recall tomorrow. Be sure to also check out the company’s website to get a better idea of their brand’s messaging and intent. Then, compile your findings into a cheat sheet to review in the morning over breakfast.
3. Prepare questions
Asking thoughtful questions at the end of your interview is a great way to impress your potential employers but isn’t always easy to do on the spot. Use your research to come up with two to three informed questions about the position or company ahead of time to commit them to memory. Just keep in mind the questions you should never ask, like anything about salary, benefits, or work hours. Instead, consider asking about the daily responsibilities of the job, or what success looks like in the position. However, it’s important to always listen to the interviewer’s answers so you can interact with them in real-time and learn more about the role.
4. Print materials
Be sure to print off any materials you’ll need for the interview the night before to avoid the seemingly inevitable printer or internet issues on the day of. Print enough copies of your resume for the number of interviewers, plus some just in case. It’s also a good idea to print off a small sample of your work, if applicable. Research, writing samples, reports, or art portfolios that show off your relevant skills are a great way to prove your potential and set you apart from the other applicants. Consider sealing copies of your resume with the other materials in a professional booklet to leave behind after your interview.
5. Prepare a healthy breakfast
Depending on the time of your interview, you’ll want to make sure your breakfast is full of fuel and healthy ingredients to keep your mind focused. Greens, fresh fruits and whole grains all contain the nutrients that can give you the mental and physical boost needed to ace the interview but can take a while to prepare. Try to do as much of the prep for your breakfast the night before so you have less to worry about in the morning. A jar of overnight oats and berries or a green protein smoothie can be easily prepared the night before and still go a long way in long-term energy and mental prowess.
6. Get plenty of sleep
Sleep, or lack thereof, can make or break your interview the following morning. Good-quality rest restores your brain power, improves your problem-solving and creativity skills, and boosts your memory. It’s these mental tools that are at the center of a successful interview, helping you think better on your feet and give the answers that best represent your ability. Make sure you’re doing what you can the night before to get the sleep you’ll need; dark curtains, noise-cancelling headphones, and a mattress that adapts to your sleeping position are all a part of getting a good night’s sleep and moving past anxious thoughts that might keep you up.
Christopher is an advocate and researcher for mental health, working to encourage others to look after their own wellness in order to be more productive and effective in the workplace.
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