The Day of Your Interview
Episode #7 of the course How to ace any professional job interview by Ken Liu
Welcome to Lesson #7!
Today is a big day. Today is the day of your interview.
Today, you finally get a chance to put all of your research and preparation into practice.
No matter how much you think you’ve prepared, you’re going to be excited and nervous at the same time. It’s a typical reaction. If you don’t have any emotions going into a big interview, you might wonder if you are genuinely interested in the job.
You get a very narrow window of opportunity to make a good first impression. When you meet your interviewer, show them that you care about how you look. No matter which company or position you’re interviewing for, you need to look good. Even if you’re a programmer who will work alone at home in your pajamas, don’t go into your interview looking like a slob.
Whichever way you slice it, first impressions matter.
If you’re a man, it’s a good idea to get a haircut a couple of days before the interview. I tend to keep my hair short, so if I don’t get a haircut every couple of weeks, my hair starts to look sloppy.
And make sure you shave also. If you keep a beard, get it trimmed. Again, even if you don’t think you need to, go ahead and do it anyway. A fresh, clean shave will not only make you look good, but it will also make you feel good.
As we discussed in Lesson #3, you should prepare your outfit in advance. Scrambling for an outfit should be the last thing on your mind today.
Your clothes should be ironed (or dry cleaned). Your shoes should be shined. Any jewelry or accessories you wear should complement your outfit, not take center stage.
It’s a good idea to try on your outfit a day or two before, just to get a feel for how it fits you and how it looks on you. If you need to make any changes, you would still have a bit of time to do so.
Avoid making any wardrobe changes today. You’ve already got enough going on. Don’t waste any precious time.
I get it. You want to smell good. But trust me when I tell you that besides putting on some deodorant, you do not want to spray any cologne or perfume on you. Not even a little bit.
You want to be fragrance-free.
The reason is simple. Some people (me included) are allergic to fragrances or don’t like the way they smell.
I get a headache as soon as I walk into a department store’s fragrance section, and I roll down the windows immediately if I sit in a car with an air freshener.
If your interviewer smells a strong fragrance on you during your interview, it will distract them. Don’t take this chance.
Putting on fragrance is a no-win situation for you. It won’t help your chances but it can certainly hurt you.
Food and Drinks
This point might seem obvious but it’s worth stating.
Don’t have a big meal or drink a lot of liquids today. You don’t want to risk your stomach to betray you in the middle of your interview.
Have a small meal and some water so you’re not hungry or thirsty, and save the feast as a reward afterward.
As we have stressed multiple times throughout this course, your interview starts way before you meet your interviewer. Small details matter.
Now that you’ve done everything you could to prepare for your interview, you can walk into it with confidence, ready to tackle what’s ahead.
Tomorrow, we will talk about the moment you walk into your interview.
Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
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