Careers advice

What to do on the day of your interview

It’s all about getting yourself in the best possible mindset.

Crunch time – it’s job interview day.

If this is your first one, or the first in a while, you’re probably feeling a tad nervous. Good. A few nerves can help you focus, and that’s exactly what you need.

However, it’s important you don’t let your nerves get the better of you. To help with this, we’ve created this quick checklist of what to do on the day of your interview. It’s designed to build on your earlier preparations, give you a few routines to reduce stress, and make sure you’ve got everything you need.

What to do on the day of your interview

1. Give yourself plenty of time

Okay, so technically this is the night before your interview, but set alarms to give yourself plenty of time to get ready. The last thing you want to be doing is running around manically – this will raise your stress levels, and increase your chances of forgetting something crucial.

Think about everything you’ll need to do before heading out of the door, and set your alarms accordingly. We recommend building in a buffer in case the iron decides that today is the day to burn your preferred outfit.

Plan the day of your job interview carefully, and build in a margin for error.

2. Eat and drink something

While the butterflies in your stomach might make you think twice about breakfast, don’t skip it entirely.

You’ll need your energy to project the best version of yourself in the interview, and a rumbling stomach can be very distracting. Water is important too – because, well, we need it to live.

3. Check your route (and the weather)

As you’re getting ready, check your route. While you’ve probably already worked out how you’ll get to the interview, it’s worth checking that nothing has changed – running into roadworks isn’t what you want.

It’s also worth ensuring you’re not going to be treated to a sudden downpour if walking is your plan.

4. Work out what to wear

If you haven’t already decided what you’re going to wear, make the call early in the day – especially if you’re the indecisive type.

We’d also recommend having a backup in mind in case your morning cup of coffee misses your mouth.

5. Get some fresh air

There’s plenty of research demonstrating the benefits of fresh air for reducing stress and anxiety. If you’re really feeling the pre-interview nerves, a walk around a local park can help you compose yourself, clear your head and focus on the task in hand.

6. Turn your phone off

Before you walk into the building, turn your phone off. It’s nice for your family or friends to ring and ask for an update, but not if they do it during the interview itself.

Turn your phone off before walking through the door.

What to take with you on the day of the interview

1. Copies of your CV and cover letter

While the interviewer will have a copy of your CV and cover letter, it can be helpful to have one to refer to yourself.

2. Pen and paper

You shouldn’t be scribbling notes throughout your interview, eye contact and engaged body language are very important. However, jotting down some key info is fine, and shows you’re taking the interview seriously.

You can also use your notepad as a place to keep the questions you’re going to ask the interviewer. This part of the interview isn’t a memory test, and reading questions from your notepad shows you’ve prepared and thought ahead.

3. Any tasks you’ve been asked to complete

It’s common for NZ interview processes to involve tasks for interviewees to complete. While there’s a good chance you’ll submit these via email, we recommend taking hard copies too – better safe than sorry!

4. Work samples

Of course, if you’ve been specifically asked for samples of past work you should bring them. However, we’d advise bringing examples anyway – anything that allows the hiring manager to gain a better picture of you can only be a good thing.

How early should you walk into an interview?

The age old question – how early is too early?

Aim to arrive at the office 15 minutes before the interview is due to start. This gives you a cushion against unexpected delays to your journey.

From here, we recommend going to the reception five minutes before the scheduled time. This shows you’re keen, but not overeager.