Be at your best on interview day
Once interview day comes, balance your time between preparation and relaxation. Trust what you’ve completed so far and take care of everything else that helps you to shine. Sleep, nutrition, fitness, time outside, and mindfulness exercises are all examples of activities that support a good interview because they help your mental sharpness and temper the nervousness that will naturally arrive.
✅ There are many articles out there with advice for handling the day of your interview with confidence and ease, but please don’t spend your time becoming an expert in -reading- about interview preparation. Instead, take these steps to be at your best on interview day.
Before The Interview
Review this advice for interview preparation for a holistic view of interview preparation
- learn to interview
- Get organized
- Prepare specifics for each interview
✅ Ensure you have your interview materials easily accessible for your interview. Consider having paper copies for easy access if you’re using your screen to interact. This includes:
- job description & additional materials provided by the company (sometimes they reference these)
- application documents like resume, cover letter, question responses
- preparation notes
- portfolio items to share if a visual helps the story
- pen/blank paper to jot things down
✅ Whenever possible, arrange a healthy and low-stress day. This means:
- You get a good night’s sleep. It will probably serve you better than one more interview cram session.
- You prioritize your regular workout, mindfulness practices, nourishing meals, and a paced schedule.
- You’ve arranged a quiet moment to groom and dress at your best. Shower up, and if you don’t have an iron use these tips .
- You arrive early and relaxed, having left time for travel or technical delays without rush.
Another way your body affects your performance is through breath . Let it be your friend throughout the interview. Try some of the exercises below to see if any will help you perform under pressure. This article has additional suggestions for calming your interview nerves.
✅ Breathing from the belly with slow exhales is a good way to settle yourself before each interview, whether walking to a location or waiting for your interviewer to login.
✅ If you find your mind racing, approach each question as a 1-2-3 process. 1 – listen to the question as it is being asked, try not to consider your response until they complete. 2 – wait at least one breath before answering, which gives you time to think. 3 – answer the question.
✅ If you get nervous, wiggle your toes. That cuts off the fight or flight reaction brought on by stressful interviews or questions and is a technique recommended by a recruiter.
✅ If you get off track with a question, stop and breathe to reset. Saying something like “I lost track of what I where I was going with that, I’d like to take a moment” will allow you to regroup. In addition to a purposeful slow breath, you can ground your feet and change posture to feel solid before returning to your thoughts and revisiting the question. If it helps, ask them to repeat it before starting again.
✅ If it helps, you can mention to your interviewer that you’re a bit nervous because you want to do well. They expect you to have some nerves and verbalizing it sometimes just what you need to acknowledge and move forward. Practice what you might say if you’d like this option.
During the Interview
It sounds simple, but remember this is an important day for being good to yourself and others. Here are a few little things that matter:
✅ Show kindness to everyone you interact with. Expect small talk and engage with people throughout the interviews.
✅ Avoid complaining about past experiences or people.
✅ Ask for what you need. If the sound is bad mention it, or if you need a restroom break or some water during a series of interviews, make the request.
✅ Embrace inevitable mistakes, and see what you can do to recover from them. Sometimes this means taking a moment in the interview (or after!) to request a pause to say what you now think is a better response or action.
✅ To counteract the effects of nervousness, during a break or just before you begin, take a minute or two to shake out your arms and legs or do some stretches to get the blood pumping and body loose. Physically warming up is what people who prepare for high-stakes scenarios do. A twitch, leg shake, higher voice, shallow breath, sweat, and voice wobble are all associated with the tightening that nervousness provokes.
Practice closing the interview so that you remember three important steps each time.
✅ Thank them. Show appreciation for their time and attention. If there was a meaningful moment, you can mention it as a highlight from the interview.
✅ Ask the interviewers for how you can follow-up with them and contact information at the end of each interview. You can use the contact information to send a thank you note.
✅ At the end of the interview, ask for the timeline and when you can expect to have an update on the process. Knowing the timeline helps you follow-up respectively.
After the Interview
Now you know what’s next and can keep in touch. Before you go to bed, write a thank you note to each of your interviewers. This message can include a request for feedback on your performance.
✅ Record what went well during the interview and what you would like to improve. Note any questions that were asked if you think they might be asked in a future interview. Use this information to improve for future interviews with this organization or others.
✅ Adjust your interview practice based on what you’re learning and feedback you get from interviewers.