The Interview: Simple Steps to Success


Take care of yourself

It’s the big day! I hope you were able to get a good night’s sleep, but if not, don’t fret.

  • Hydrate.
  • Get up early enough to eat a solid breakfast.
  • Prepare a protein snack if your interview is scheduled a few hours after a meal—don’t let low blood sugar affect your interview.
  • Remember: This is NOT the day to quit drinking coffee or start if you’ve never had it before, start a new exercise program, or do anything radically out of the ordinary.
  • Calmly review your answers to common interview questions. Say them aloud.
  • Check your appearance: Clothing pressed, shoes polished, teeth clean, hair brushed.
  • Smile.
  • If you drink coffee, have a small cup shortly prior to the interview.
  • Bring Breath mints. I like those mini travel toothbrushes called Wisps. (Full disclosure: I am not paid to endorse this product. I just find it convenient.)

What to bring

Bring in a folder or folio in a briefcase (but ladies, leave your purse):

  1. Company information, maybe even a print out of relevant web pages
  2. Extra resumes, cover letters, references, and a copy of the application you submitted
  3. 10-15 questions to ask the interviewers
  4. Legal pad and pen

When you arrive

The interview starts when you pull into the lot.

  • Arrive in a clean vehicle, drive professionally and park with skill.
  • Give your appearance another check.
  • Smile.
  • Time your arrival so that you walk into the building 10-12 minutes prior to the scheduled interview.
  • Introduce yourself at the front desk.
  • Give your full name and that of your interviewer, and your interview time.
  • Keep smiling.
  • Show respect.
  • While you wait, visualize confidence and success.
  • Imagine that you will enjoy a natural rapport between you and the interviewers.
  • Breathe.

When it’s time

As you go into the interview room, remember, they want to hire you! They’ve advertised for the position and they need to fill it. They’re hiring to solve a problem and they hope you will present the solution. All you have to do is show them that you will be a great fit with the company, through your skills, experience, and your character.

  • Move with poise.
  • Stay calm.
  • Smile some more.
  • Speak with confidence and conviction, and introduce yourself by stating your full name.
  • Repeat their names(s) and titles.
  • Offer a firm handshake.
  • Did I mention to smile?
  • Create eye contact (but don’t be creepy—this is relaxed).
  • Ask for business cards of everyone present, if possible, or write down their names and titles so you have them for your follow-up letters.
  • Sit when you’re invited to, or, if there’s no verbal invitation, after everyone else is seated.
  • And…you’re off! Break a leg!

So, did it work? Check the “Work it” blog regularly for more interview details, including the right answers to common interview questions.