Crunch time: Waiting for your Interview to Start

March 3rd, 2017

Hopefully by the time you arrive at your interview you’re well prepared. You’ve done your research and know about the position you’re interviewing for. You have several hard copies of your résumé printed out, (bonus points if it’s on nice paper), you’re dressed to impress, and you’ve consumed the right amount of coffee to make you alert but not jittery. The interview hasn’t officially started—but it may as well have. Don’t let your preparation be undermined by messing up this pre-interview time, be smart about what you’re doing, because eyes are on you.

Get there early, but please, not too early. Five or ten minutes before the interview start time is perfect, don’t arrive a half hour early and have a thirty-minute stare-down with the receptionist. Five minutes is on time, ten minutes is early, but more than that would be unnecessary and uncomfortable. If you’re really that early, great, sit in your car or in the café next door.

Put that phone down! I’m 23, I get it. I look through Twitter when I’m bored, too. The problem with doing it right before an interview, though, is that it closes you off from your environment. It focuses your mind on memes and casual news when you should be focusing on the interview you’re about to rock. Think positive thoughts and think over the talking points you prepared.

Another problem with being on your phone during this time is what it does to your body language. A candidate leaning over their phone, scrolling and zoned in, is closed off. Make eye contact with people that walk in the room, when your interviewer approaches, look at them right away with a smile and stand up to shake their hand. Don’t make them ask you if you’re who they think you are, because you didn’t see them behind your screen. Greet them with confidence and a smile, and importantly, without a phone in your hand.

It’s okay to accept the receptionist’s or even the interviewer’s offer for a beverage, but they’re a potential colleague or supervisor, not your barista. You’ll be talking a lot during an interview, so if you’re offered a water or coffee feel free to say politely say yes. But asking them to put in 2 Splenda packets and a splash of non-fat creamer is over the top.

The bottom line is: when it comes to interviews anything is fair game. Being unfriendly to a receptionist or seeming unable to adapt can be the thing that stands between you and the job you want. However, just as easy as this crunch time can hurt your chances, it can help them. Let these extra few minutes work for you, and soon enough you could be working for a great new company.

-Kailey Kraushaar, Communications Specialist

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