Pop quiz, hotshot: it’s the night before your big job interview. What should you be doing to get yourself ready?
Know where you’re going.
This is probably the most important thing you can do before your job interview. Nothing sends your brain into panic mode (and gets the interview off on the wrong foot) like feeling lost and worrying you’re going to be late. The night before, make sure you’ve got a planned route ready to go in Google Maps, or Waze, or whatever your favorite navigation app is. If you’re going to be using public transportation, check the schedules and look for notifications about planned changes, updated timetables, etc. If you’re driving, look for signs of construction or traffic delays. That way you can plan to leave earlier if necessary.
Get your paperwork together.
You should bring a copy of your resume, as well as any notes you want to bring with you. If they’re assembled the night before and placed with your bag or your keys, you’re less likely to forget to bring something important.
Assemble the interview outfit.
If you have a go-to interview outfit that is clean, pressed, and ready to go, you’re ahead of the game. If you’re not sure yet what you’re going to wear—well, it’s a little late, but you’ve still got time. Take 15 minutes to review your suit or outfit and your shoes, and make sure that a) everything is clean, and b) there are no hanging threads or wrinkles.
Rehearse your body language.
If you have a trusted audience (a significant other, a family member, a friend), run through your best handshake-and-smile routine. Have the other person ask you a few test run questions, and ask the other person to note any posture or demeanor issues—bonus points if you get the person to engage in some generic small talk/banter to get you ready for that as well.
Even if you don’t have a trusted audience, you can still prep—you’ve got a mirror, right? You can practice your easy interview smile and your “ask me about my accomplishments” sitting posture. Believe it or not, just putting some thought into where you put your hands or how you cross your legs can help you feel more at ease the next day.
Rehearse your talking points.
Sure, the interviewer is going to have your resume in front of them, but neither of you wants you to just run verbatim through the document. Come up with specific, real-world examples for the points on your resume and be prepared to talk about them. You probably already did some practice questions, but take the time to review the points you really want to hit in the interview.
Do a last sweep for information about the company.
Visit the company’s website and social media profiles to see what’s going on at the company in real time. It can give you background information to use during your interview (“Ah yes, I saw that you just had an intriguing breakthrough in widget production last week!”). But it can also save you from making an awkward mistake (“Good thing your own CEO hasn’t been indicted for insider trading. What? Oh, I didn’t see that news last night.”)
Set your alarm.
I’m setting this as a separate to-do because it’s so important if you have a morning interview. You want to make sure you have time to get ready in the morning, without being late for the interview. So if you have to be up at a specific time to allow timely prep and travel, set your alarm. Set two alarms. (I believe in not messing around here, especially if you’re not a morning person.)
Get plenty of sleep.
I know, it’s a cliché, but it’s true. More sleep leads to better cognitive function, and you want to be at your very best. Sure, coffee can help, but not nearly as much as genuine rest. Go to bed as early as you can.
And at every step of your night-before prep, don’t forget to be positive about the whole thing. You’ve got this, and every proactive thing you do the night before will make your interview even better.