by Courtney Baron, Head Editor, INALJ Georgia
Interview Day Hacks
Give yourself a buffer.
Give yourself a buffer before the interview. If the interview takes place at a location you’ve never been before, but is within a commuting distance, I suggest checking out the site ahead of time. This will ensure you don’t get lost, can accurately estimate how long it will take you to arrive, and you will feel more confident knowing exactly where to go. If you are invited to an interview during a workday, it’s usually better to take the whole day off, if possible. This will ensure work emergencies don’t come up that could potentially throw off your game or even prevent you from making the interview. I like to arrive to the library at least one hour in advance. You don’t want to check in that early, but it will give you time to relax, review notes, and mentally prepare for the interview. Make sure you have some water and a light snack and use the bathroom ahead of time! Grumbly tummies and *ahem* sudden bathroom needs will distract you.
Look good to feel your best.
The hiring committee’s decision on whether or not you are the right person for the job shouldn’t be based on your appearance. However, taking some time to look your best will make you feel more confident.
No matter which gender you identify as, I suggest regularly getting haircuts and keeping trimmed and neat nails. These are small details that can make a big difference. I talk with my hands a lot so I don’t want chipped and weeks old nail polish on my nails. I just file and put on a glossy nail strengthener.
Ladies – If there you have a signature or preferred look or style, then by all means, be yourself and dress as normal! I like a natural and simple makeup routine. In case you are curious, here is my go-to look: Urban Decay Naked Basics palette (WOS on the lid with Naked 2 and Faint on the crease) for eyeshadow and a little mascara, Benefit Benetint on the lips (tints are awesome because you will avoid any embarrassing lipstick on the teeth or smeared on your face moments) with some lip balm, and a touch of blush to add a hint of color to the cheeks. A brightening concealer and eye cream are a must if you couldn’t sleep the night before due to nerves (it happens!).
Gents – If you are in need, don’t forget to shave! A stubble free face or neat beard looks and feels fresher.
I highly recommend testing out your interview outfit beforehand. I wore my last interview outfit the very day before at work (yes, I washed it!) and I’m glad I did – I had a long string hanging down my dress. Little things like that can look careless or – worse – cause awkward moments if your outfit is see-through, catches on something, etc.!
To wear controversial piercing and show off tattoos or not? I say go for it. I have a nose ring – a hoop that can only be removed professionally – and I keep it in at all times. I figure, if it’s a problem, then they will let me know, and if it prevents me from getting a job, then the culture isn’t a good fit anyway. At my last job interview, a member of the committee had facial piercings and it clearly wasn’t a big deal!
Put your interview materials together.
I like to keep a clipboard with my résumé, cover letter, references, job description, questions to ask, notes, and other information about the company with me. This makes it easy to keep everything in one place and reference before the interview starts. I also make sure to have a fresh pad of paper plus a pen to take notes during the interview. Make sure to bring business cards, just in case they ask!
Don’t neglect your mental health.
You have to take care of yourself in order to succeed during an interview. I recommend taking the time to exercise, meditate, do breathing exercises, and/or go for a walk to clear your hand and relieve nerves. If you are doing a phone interview and can talk from your home, light a candle and set up a tranquil space! It really helps set a positive mood.
I really think it’s the little things that can make a difference between a so-so interview and a potential job offer. Good luck job hunting!