Congratulations – you finally landed the big meeting. The only thing standing between you and the job of your dreams is a successful interview. If the thought makes you a little queasy, you might be feeling the pressure of facing a meeting that has to go right. Even if you have all the right qualifications for the job, stress can sabotage your poise and cost you opportunities. Here are some tips for relieving stress before an interview.
First, make sure you are comfortable with the logistics. Use an online mapping service to confirm the location of your meeting and get directions. Think about traffic patterns during the time of day you’ll be traveling, and make sure you plan for plenty of time to get to your destination – nothing is more stressful than running late. You might also take a test drive to your location before the interview. Look for possible parking spots; if you don’t see any, call the company and ask the receptionist where you might park the day of your interview. If you’ll be facing street parking, make sure you have a supply of quarters with you for meters.
You can also take action to make sure that you are at your best as you prepare for the interview. Try on the clothes you plan to wear the day before the meeting – including shoes. If there is anything that doesn’t fit or is uncomfortable, you can fix it early. Be sure to iron your outfit the evening before; if there is a missing button or other repair needed, you won’t have to deal with it at the last minute. Check your shoes for shine and your hose for runs. These seem like small details the night before, but they can be very stressful at the last minute on the morning of your meeting. The more prepared you are, the better you’ll sleep.
Speaking of sleep, do everything you can to get close to eight hours the night before. Not only will you be more alert for your interview, you’ll also look better. Bright eyes and a relaxed smile are must-have accessories for an important meeting. If you have techniques for relaxation at your disposal, this would be a good evening to use them. Meditation, a warm bath – any nighttime ritual that helps you relax will be beneficial.
Being prepared for the interview is one of the best stress relievers. Spend some time researching the company – and the person who will be doing your interview. A Google search on the company name may turn up news on expansion plans, new products or services or relate the business to some larger industry trend. A search on the interviewer may turn up a presentation in which she talks about particular challenges in hiring or doing business. Research can help you break the ice at the beginning of your meeting or help you answer a challenging interview question. Don’t forget to review your answers to standard questions as well. Think about what you might say about your background or why you want to work for the company in light of what your research uncovered.
Finally, take a few well thought out accessories with you. Place a couple of extra copies of your resume and references in a portfolio, along with a pen. If you have a “cheat sheet” that lists your previous employers and dates, bring it along as well. You may be asked to fill out an application before the interview. Write down the name and title of the person you’ll be asking for at the front desk, so you won’t have to worry about forgetting or mispronouncing her name if you get nervous.
As you get ready for sleep the night before, visualize yourself answering questions with confidence and getting an offer. Experts believe that visualizing success is one of the ways you can influence outcomes. Practice smiling. You can make yourself feel more confident simply by arranging your face in a relaxed and confident expression. You’ll also have a positive effect on your interviewer, helping him enjoy your conversation more. Confidence and enthusiasm are contagious – and they can give you the edge over other candidates as you compete for your next position.