Daily Archives: August 14, 2008

Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best: Preparing for Interview Disasters

In a previous post, we talked about how Will Smith’s character in The Pursuit of Happyness, Chris Gardner, went through with a job interview despite losing his shirt. Even with his bad luck with his appearance, he still managed to wow his interviewers and land the job. Here are a few tips that focus on preparing you for potential emergencies you might come across before or during an interview.

Map Out Your Drive.
Before you head out to your interview, know where you’re going. You might have an idea of where the company is located, but you need to know the specifics like streets to avoid or where to park. Be sure to check traffic reports too. By planning out your route ahead of time, you’ll know how long the drive is and other details like if you need change for a meter. The potential of a parking ticket or getting towed in the back of your mind can keep you from being focused during an interview. On your actual drive to the interview, make sure you have your cell phone and the company phone number with you. In case of any accidents or delays, you’ll be able to contact the interviewer and inform them of your situation.

Don’t Leave Home with an Empty Wallet.
Make sure you have a few dollars or change for a parking meter in your wallet before you leave for the interview. You never know if the interview might be over coffee or lunch. Having a few dollars will spare you any embarrassment.

Carry an Extra Set of Clothes.
To avoid an experience like Chris Gardner’s ruined shirt, it’s always wise to have an extra tie, shirt, or pants in your car. Hopefully your shirt won’t get destroyed like Gardner’s was, but if you’re offered coffee and spill it in the waiting room, you’ll be ready with an extra shirt. For any popped buttons, carry an emergency sewing kit. And, an instant stain remover can help with the little smudges you may unexpectedly encounter.

Making a good first impression at an interview involves more than just a smile. It involves lots of research and preparation for the unexpected. By predicting what can go wrong, you can be focused on displaying your integrity and professionalism to the interviewer.