Night Before The Interview Checklist

For even the most extroverted among us, interviews can be nerve-racking. You have to speak publicly about your work history, submit yourself to the judgement of others, and run the risk of failure and embarrassment. Added to these common anxiety triggers are the myriad of unexpected problems that may arise between now and the interview proper.

interview checklist

Fortunately, you can take steps to significantly reduce the risk that those problems will emerge. Want to give future you a leg up? Here is your night-before an interview checklist.

1. Lay Out Your Outfit

Waking to discover your favorite shirt in the wash starts the day off all wrong. Avoid this fate, and lay out your outfit the night before. Make sure everything is freshly clean and hung in a way that prevents wrinkles. Doing this will ensure you don’t make a rash sartorial decision tomorrow.

2. Plan Your Pre-Interview Meal

Plan your pre-interview meal and save yourself a decision on the big day. Your meal of choice should be light but refuel you. A fruit parfait and small cup of coffee makes for an excellent breakfast, and you could do worse than a salad and iced tea for lunch.

If you pack this meal, prepare it the night before. If you’re eating out, plan for a restaurant with short wait times to keep you on schedule.

3. Prep Your Gear

Prepping your interview bag ahead of time is essential. The morning time crunch all but guarantees you’ll forget something, but packing the night before allows you to take careful inventory.

Your gear should include:

  • A pen (plus a backup pen)
  • A notebook
  • Your cheat sheet (see below)
  • Copies of your resume
  • A stain-remover pen
  • Breath mints (not gum)
  • Deodorant
  • Touch-up makeup (if that’s your thing)

You’ll want those extra resume copies in case the interviewer comes unprepared or invites someone else to sit in. Having those copies on hand will present you as prepared and resourceful. If you have a portfolio of related work, bring a copy of that too.

4. Review And Practice

Research the company and your interviewer. Visit the company website, of course, but remember to check out professional websites such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor. You should also review common interview questions and practice your responses. Check out our ultimate guide to job interview questions to get started.

5. Create Your Cheat Sheet

Create a cheat sheet based on your research. It should contain the interviewer’s name and title, facts about the company, information from the job listing, and questions to ask at the end of the interview. It should also include the company’s address and interviewer’s contact information.

The goal is to have all the information you need at hand so you can feel prepared for the interview to come. In truth, there’s nothing cheating about it.

6. Know The Route

Plan your route and know roughly how long it will take. If possible, do a test run the day before to find out if you’ll have to pay for parking, deal with security, or have a long walk from the parking garage to the office.

7. Set Your Alarm

Triple-check that your alarm is set properly. When deciding on a wake-up time, be sure to give yourself seven to eight hours of sleep. Studies have shown a good night’s sleep improves memory, mental clarity, and thinking skills—all of which will increase your chances of having a positive experience.

8. Prepare For The Unexpected

The goal of this night-before checklist is to limit difficult decisions and reduce the chances the unexpected will happen—both of which result in delays, frustration, and mental fatigue. By avoiding them, you’ll maintain your ability to perform at your best during the interview, and the knowledge that you’ve done your best to prepare will, in turn, give you the confidence to ace the interview.

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