When you have an interview with a client or recruitment agency, it's common practice to prepare yourself by researching the client and preparing questions. But how much thought do you put into preparing logistically for the interview? Preparation with these tips will guarantee a great start to your next interview:
Try on your suit the night before and make sure your entire outfit is clean, pressed and smells nice. [Aside: If you notice a stain last minute, try this simple trick. Use hand sanitizer directly on the stain. Rub in a liberal amount with your fingers or a clean cloth (don't use a napkin, the fibers will detach and spread around creating a big mess) and watch the stain vanish. What about the wet mark? Don't sweat it. The alcohol evaporates quickly and leaves no trace behind.]
Your outfit should scream "professional". You want to look sharp. Make sure your shoes are clean -- better yet, grab a quick shoe shine. Avoid wearing heavy perfume or cologne. It can be distracting especially if the Hiring Manager is allergic.
Access maps.google.ca and plan the route you are going to take. Factor in in 5-10 minute traffic buffer and another 5-10 minute parking buffer, or better yet, figure out where you are going to park in advance.
Check the weathernetwork.com and make sure you are prepared for Mother Nature.
Bring a notebook and a pen! (In fact bring two pens, just in case one blows up or runs out of ink.)
Leave your briefcase or portfolio at home. The only time you need the briefcase is when you are actually working and the only time you need a portfolio is if you are in Design.
Get to the interview 5-10 minutes early (max.) and take the extra time to review the research info in your notebook while you wait. If you find yourself at the location way too early, go for a nice walk, and then head in at the 10 minute mark.
Put your cell phone on silent if you can't turn it off and avoid non-business related activities in the waiting room. Remember that this is the first time most Hiring Managers will meet you and it's important you give the first impression that you mean business, not pleasure.
Logistics aren't always the first thing we think about when preparing for an interview, but a well laid plan will ensure an excellent impression. Many of us have learned that the hard way. Do you have any stories about successful interviews because you were prepared? Vice-versa, what about interviews where you overlooked an important logistic?