Eleven things to do 15 minutes before an interview

Have you been preparing for an upcoming interview and the time has finally come? Here’s what you can do with the final 15 minutes before the interview starts.

Are you preparing for an upcoming interview? When the day actually comes, you may feel like there is nothing else you can do to prepare. However, even with 15 minutes left until your interview, the following steps can help to make sure you’re really ready!

  1. Stay calm. When you become stressed, your body releases stress hormones. Staying calm before and during an interview allows you to listen better and stay focused on how to best respond to questions.
  2. Arrive early, but don’t go inside. Few things can shake you more than running late to an interview, so always arrive early. However, be sure to wait in your car or a nearby café, as being too early can place unnecessary pressure on your interviewer and start the meeting off on the wrong foot. It is recommended to go inside the building not more than 10 minutes early.
  3. Be friendly to all receptionists and security guards. When you do walk into the office's waiting room, remember to be nice to the receptionist, security guards or whoever greets you.
  4. Decide on one or two things you want to be remembered for. Is it your communications skills? Project management skills? Knowledge?
  5. Stop rehearsing. You don’t want to use this time to over-prepare or rehearse responses, which can make your conversation seem scripted and non-authentic.
  6. Breathe. This will help with the first tip, which is to remain calm.
  7. Focus on your posture. Sit in a power pose while waiting to go in for your job interview.
  8. Don't check your voicemail, email or social media accounts. You may hear or read something that will get you worked up or upset. This will distract you and throw you off your game, which is one of the worst things that can happen.
  9. Briefly review your notes, but don’t do any additional research. You should be done researching, preparing and rehearsing but if you made any notes for yourself, this is a good time to briefly look them over.
  10. Look in a mirror. Duck into a nearby restroom or clothing store to check yourself out in the mirror. This is also a great time to wash your hands and make sure your fingernails are clean and your palms are dry.
  11. Think happy thoughts. This may sound cliché, but thinking of pleasant things that make you smile and feel good will help put you in the right state of mind going into the interview.

Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development has a program entitled, “Interviews for Success.” This program helps youth to prepare for interviews, including these steps on what to do when arriving for an interview. For more information on workforce preparation topics, visit the Michigan 4-H career exploration website.

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