Personal Preparation for Interviews: Avoid Confidence Crashers


This article is a preview of our upcoming book, “Interview with Purpose,” which will be available later this month. In the book, we cover many aspects of interview preparation, including research, personal preparation, skills gap analysis, and how to practice for interview questions. This excerpt is about personal preparation, such as how to avoid personal and wardrobe mishaps that can crash your confidence and affect your performance.

Sometimes we forget about the little things that can impact an interview. It might be something we forget to bring, such as a working pen. It might be an unexpected coughing attack. Would you hike a mountain without bringing water and proper supplies? Here are a few suggestions. This personal preparation allows you to focus on your interview performance.

Meeting Ready

Pack your portfolio with paper and two working pens (or use an electronic tablet), and ten hardcopy resumes. Avoid taking notes on your phone because it may look like you are bored and checking your Twitter feed. It’s better to use a pen and portfolio or an electronic tablet, like an iPad.

Weather Wise

Check the report; bring an umbrella and coat if needed. Stop by the restroom to polish your shoes if you encounter mud along the way. You want to walk into the room looking fresh and ready to step into your new job.

Take Care

Stress, allergies, hunger, and dry mouth can hinder your interview success, so pack these items: lozenges, mints, over-the-counter headache remedies, water bottle, and a non-crumbling energy bar. Never eat at the interview, but it is good to have on hand just prior to the meeting.

Looking the Part

You likely know the apparel to wear to an interview, including impeccably tailored suit, polished shoes, and a crisp shirt or a fashionable suit and blouse with closed-toe shoes. All your confidence can erode with one mishap. Be ready for a torn hem by packing double-sided tape in your satchel. There are stain pens (such as Tide To-Go) that are quick and easy to use. Pack powder and lip stick, if you would feel more confident with a touch-up before the interview.

It seems like basic information, and it is. However, I know many candidates who under-performed because they were self-conscious about a growling stomach or they felt under-confident when they realized they had a small coffee stain on their blouse. If you are thinking about those little things, your mind is not on the interview

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