Do this 15 minutes before your interview starts.

Chris Benson, Unsplash

In my last article, I mentioned that your interview begins as soon as you walk through the door. So, I’m going to touch on a few things you should be conscious of in the precious minutes leading up to your interview.

After conducting countless interviews over the last few years I’ve seen a lot of people do this excellently, and others, not so much. Here, you’ll find out exactly what you should be doing during this time.

You walk in the door.

Hopefully, this is roughly 15 minutes before the interview starts. This is always a safe amount of time to arrive before your interview. Any later, and you risk stressing yourself, worrying whether you’ll make it on time. Any more than 15 minutes and you risk causing inconvenience to your interviewer.

Yes, I’ve had people turn up an hour before their interview. And it does suggest time-management could be an issue. By all means, please make sure you arrive in plenty of time. But if you’re any earlier than 15 minutes, stop at a coffee shop or take the scenic route to the office.

As soon as you walk in, be aware of everything you’re doing and saying. Treat the front of house staff like you would your interviewer.

First impressions start before you’ve even said a word. Make sure the first thing they see is a smile and open body-language. This makes you seem friendly and easy to converse with. If you’ve had a miserable journey and/or it’s raining, try to put this to the back of your mind.

We’re always drawn to the people who are able to smile through adversity – be that person.

Next, you say “Hello, how are you?”

Forgive me for stating the obvious, please. But it’s a lot more common than you might think. The amount of times I’ve started an interview, or even a conversation with someone, and they haven’t added the “how are you?” part. If someone’s asked you this and you haven’t returned it in favour, it causes a very weird, disjointed beginning to the conversation.

Being on the introverted side, myself – if you’re shy, this is something I can totally empathise with. But please, push past it and ask the question.

Once you’ve signed in, taken your seat and are waiting for your interviewer to arrive.

You just sit there on your phone, right?

Wrong.

99% of people do this. And I would highly recommend against it. We live in a day and age where we naturally gravitate to our phones if we’re in an awkward situation. Personally, I like to err on the side of caution and avoid any possible association with this description. Looking down, hunched over your phone gives you a very closed-off appearance – you don’t want your interviewers’ first thoughts to be “oh, they look a bit uncomfortable.”

Imagine your interviewer coming in to greet you, and you haven’t noticed them until they’re standing over you. Why? Because you were too busy laughing at a meme.

Not a good look.

Be aware of your surroundings. Take it all in. This could be your new workplace. If you have the confidence, make conversation with the front of house staff.

You could even flick through the literature in the reception. But please, don’t be on your phone. And you definitely shouldn’t be doing any of your interview preparation at this point.

The last thing to remember, is to keep that smile active (without it getting creepy) and your body language open. You’ve completed the first impression with the front of house staff, but the first impression with your interviewer is about to begin.

Be ready for their arrival.

I hope that helped.

Thoughts/feedback/questions welcome.

Ash

I’ve got a video version on YouTube, check it out!

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