If you think your interview doesn’t begin assessing until the interviewer enters the room, you are sorely mistaken. The moment you walk in the door, you are being assessed, and mistakes you make now can cost you a job offer, even if the interview itself goes well.
In order to give yourself the highest chance for success, avoid these pre-interview blunders.
Not Arriving at the Right Time
While most people know that arriving late is a major faux pas, arriving too early can also be a mistake. You may think that checking in 30 minutes early shows eagerness and punctuality, but it can actually be interpreted as rude.
Not only may you be sitting in the reception area for an extended amount of time, if the interviewer is informed of your arrival, not only are they dealing with the stress of their jobs and (possibly) other interviews, now they may feel pressured to move faster because of your presence, and equating your presence with stress is not a great way to make a first impression.
To be safe, look at coming in approximately 10 minutes prior to your scheduled arrival time, even if you have to wait in the parking lot to make that happen. 10 minutes demonstrates punctuality, but it doesn’t add the pressure associated with an extremely early arrival.
And Speaking of Walking In…
The moment you open the door, you are open to scrutiny. Often, a receptionist will be asked for their opinion regarding how you presented yourself, which means a slipup here can have consequences.
Make sure you are presentable prior to coming in through the door. In cases where there is access to a bathroom before you enter the reception area, such as in a multitenant building, take a moment to make sure your clothes are straight and that you generally look well put together. If that isn’t an option, take the time to look in a mirror in your car to do a quick review.
If bad weather is on the horizon, come prepared with mechanisms to ensure you stay as dry as reasonably possible, and that any copies of your resume stay dry, too. An umbrella and a file folder can go a long way.
Additionally, make sure all of your interactions are polite and professional. Take the time to say “please” and “thank you” when appropriate. Smile, and act as though you are happy to be there. Remember, they are doing you a favor by speaking with you, not the other way around.
Avoid Negative Internal Dialogue
While most people are nervous before an interview, allowing negative self-talk to overcome your other thoughts will only make you feel less confident. Instead, consider focusing on a positive mantra or other simple statement that makes you feel more confident. A simple, “I’ve got this!” can be surprisingly affective.