Pachter's Pointers:
Business Etiquette Tips & Career Suggestions


Interviewing? Here’s What To Do The Night Before

One man arrived 30 minutes late for his interview. He had programmed his GPS too quickly the night before, and had entered the street address as “Drive” instead of “Place.”

Another woman was nervous the night before her interview, so she had a few drinks. She was hung over during her early interview the following morning.

Neither of these applicants received job offers. Obviously, their candidacy was hurt by their bungling activities the night before their interviews. Don’t sabotage yourself. Follow these night-before suggestions so you will shine during your job interview.

1. Get directions to the interview site. Be certain of the location. You don’t want to get lost. Not only will your stress level increase, but you could arrive late. If driving, don’t rely solely on your GPS. Double-check your route on Google maps or MapQuest. Have a full tank of gas, and anticipate traffic. Do a dry run, if possible. And plan to arrive a little early.

2. Revisit the company’s website and social media sites. You should have researched the company already, but spend just a few moments checking again. Find out if there have been any significant developments. Has the company launched a new product? Acquired a new company? Achieved a significant following on a social media site? Knowing up-to-date information demonstrates an interest in the company.

3. Prepare for small talk. Usually, an interview will start with some small talk, in which you should participate. In addition to discussing what you have found on the company website, be familiar with what’s going on in the world/nation/community. Watch the evening news on TV, or read news sites on the web. (Avoid discussing sex, politics or religion.)

4. Know what you will wear. Don’t wait until the morning of the interview to decide on your outfit. Try on your clothes the night before. Make sure that they fit, and are clean and pressed. (It is a good idea to keep your interview clothes ready, as interviews can be scheduled on short notice.)

5. Review the stories/examples that you will use when answering questions. You should have practiced answering questions previously, but spend a little time reviewing what you plan to say.

6. Have your materials ready. Plan to take extra copies of your resume or examples of your work. Keep them in a nice leather portfolio, and carry a good pen.

7. Know what questions you will ask. Towards the end of an interview you will usually be asked if you have any questions. Make sure you have some questions ready, as this demonstrates your interest in the position. You can adapt the following to suit your situation: What initial training is there for the position? What brought you to this company? What would you consider key successes for this job?

8. Have a stress-free evening. Stay away from alcohol, and avoid quarreling with family or friends. Get a good night’s rest. You want to function at your best, and having enough sleep will allow you to be at the top of your game.

And, on the day of the interview:

9. Know what caffeine does to your body. If you like and need the jolt that caffeine provides, drink your morning coffee. If caffeine makes you jumpy, avoid it.

10. Give yourself a pep talk. On the way to the interview, you should prepare mentally. Tell yourself positive things. I suggest saying something like, “I can do this. I can handle this.”

Additional information can be found in my book, The Essentials of Business Etiquette: How to Greet, Eat and Tweet Your Way to Success (McGraw Hill).

Pachter & Associates provides seminars and coaching on business etiquette and communication for organizations worldwide. Contact Joyce Hoff at 856-751-6141 or for more information.


  1. Anonymous2/05/2013

    From A Reader:
    Barbara, these are the basic -- and excellent -- suggestions for anyone preparing for an interview or any important meeting. Arriving early is good advice and I would advise no later than 20 minutes early to allow for a visit to the restroom to freshen up and compose yourself, and remove outerwear (if it's winter).

    In addition to selecting your outfit for the interview the night before, also be sure to lay everything out that you will need to take in the morning, or better yet, have everthing packed and ready to go. The less you have to worry about in the morning the clearer your head will be.

    Leave early to allow for unexpected traffic, train delays, dearth of taxis, etc.

    A former boss once told me that preparation is the key to success, and he was right on the money!

    1. Anonymous11/05/2014

      Set alarm
      Get things ready the night before
      Iron your clothes
      Buy equipment
      Get a bag ready
      Research the company
      Practice questions
      Sort out transport
      Re-read CV and Application form
      Evidence on work
      Body language

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