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Preparing for an Interview: Mind, Body, and Spirit

By: Nicole Durocher

Published On: April 7, 2022

 

 

We all know the feeling; sitting in the lobby or waiting in the zoom meeting room, suddenly riddled with anxiety, unable to shake the feeling that you aren’t prepared for this interview. Preparation means different things to different people, so we have compiled a list of general guidelines that should help you exude confidence while you interview. Preparation also depends on how much time you have. Some of these suggestions require a bit more time. If you don’t have much notice, see our graphic below for the basics.

7 days before:  

  1. When you find out you have an interview (well done you) ask the person you are communicating with what the interview style will be. Is it a panel? Will there be any skill-testing? If possible, find out the names of the people who will be interviewing you. You will feel more comfortable putting faces to names if you have already looked them up.
  2. A piece of advice we’ve received is to test your route (on the same day, at the same time, if possible). Whether you are taking the bus, a cab, or driving and finding parking yourself, it’s better to have a real sense of how much time to allocate on the day of your interview.
  3. Figure out what you are going to wear. The safest choice is casual business attire unless you have a clear idea of the dress code. Neutral colours, clean and pressed fabric, simple and classic is always a good bet. Ask your most fashion-conscious friend to help you if you’re feeling uncertain. If you have a suit in the closet that needs a bit of care, take it to the dry cleaners with plenty of notice. Do your shoes work with the outfit? If you need to upgrade either the shoes or your suit, it’s a good investment. If you need a haircut, it's better not to leave that until the day before.

5 days before:  

  1. Research! You have applied for this job, and gotten an interview, congratulations! Presumably you know why you are interested in the position, but it doesn’t hurt to write out (mind-map anyone?) why you would be a good fit. Find out as much as you can about the prospective employer’s history, their core values and company culture. If you know and trust someone who works there, reach out to them with your questions. Have a list of questions for the interview. 
  2. Thoroughly read and re-read the position details. Sometimes we get excited about the parts of a job that are a good fit, and gloss over the aspects we might not be as comfortable with. If you have time to read up on things you aren’t familiar with, that’s great. If you can watch some tutorials about software you haven’t worked with yet, that will help you when you explain that you are willing to learn.  
  3. Print out your CV and Cover Letter. Ask a friend to play the role of interviewer. If it helps, download a list of common interview questions to use as prompts. You might not feel comfortable going over your work experience the first time, but with some practice, the answers will start to flow. Pay attention to your body language as you answer — crossed arms for example can signify defensiveness, while straight posture demonstrates confidence, etc. It sounds very cliché, but after you’ve run it through a few times with your friend, practice in the mirror, or record your answers into the voice notes app on your phone. The most basic question is some version of ‘Tell me about yourself…’, which we are all qualified to do! It’s a matter of getting comfortable telling your own story. 
  4. The Student Success Coordinator at Ashton College will perform a mock interview with any student, past or current. Schedule yours to rehearse and receive feedback prior to your interview!  

 

 

 

The day before: 

  1. Print out 3 copies of relevant documents. Resume, CV, cover letter, if you have a portfolio or a reference list. I know it sounds antiquated, like we’re suggesting you go on horseback to the interview, but yes printed documents can be a lifesaver! You don’t know for sure how many people will be interviewing you; perhaps your resume hasn’t been shared with everyone or the relevant people didn’t have time to print your beautiful CV. We’ve all spilled coffee on important papers enough times to know that last-minute printing can throw you off your game. Some careers, like those in design, marketing or administration, require a familiarity with printed material so demonstrating your ease with digital and print assets can’t hurt.  
  2. Organize your bag. Keep documents upright and separate from your chargers, makeup bag, chewing gum etc. Only bring what you really need. Some people advise bringing a band-aid, stain remover pen, an extra pair of stockings, tissues… channel your inner scout. 
  3. Sleep and eat well the day before! It sounds like advice your mum would give you, and that’s because it’s good advice. Nutritious food, drink enough water, try to get out for exercise if you can, get all your grooming rituals out of the way, and then rest.  

The day of: 

  1. Today is a good day to moderate your caffeine intake. Matcha perhaps? It contains an amino acid called l-theanine, which allows your body to absorb caffeine more slowly, preventing that crash. 
  2. Allocate time to get ready with ease. If you’re into mindfulness, allowing a few minutes to clear your head while you sip that cup of tea could help set a calm tone for your day.

 

You’ve prepared, we’re proud of you. You know what you bring to the table, now go and show the world. 

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