1. Set out all of your clothes and materials the night before. This means making sure your outfit is ironed, everything is clean and you have several copies of your resume in a nice folder. What other materials do you need? ID, Social Security Card, copy of your diploma? Double check that you have all of these in your bag the night before. Include contact information for the person or people you are interviewing with in your folder with your resume. And a pen! Two pens! And make sure it isn’t red when you thought it was a blue pen, because that makes you look dumb. Not like that’s ever happened to me.
2. Look up and print out directions to the location. Give yourself 10-15 minutes longer than Google Maps or Hopstop says it will take. Even if you think you know where it is, print out directions anyway. There is nothing that will get you more flustered than realizing 5 minutes before you’re supposed to be there that you’ve walked 5 blocks in the wrong direction.
3. Spend some time the night before researching the agency. Write down your questions and put them in the same folder as your resume. Even if they are answered during the interview, when they ask if you have any questions you can look at your list and say, “Oh it looks like you answered most of mine.” It shows that you did the research ahead of time.
4. Make sure you have breakfast or lunch before you go. At the very least pack a granola bar or banana to eat on the way. You want to make sure you’re at your sharpest, and that means that you’re not spending the whole interview thinking about the location of the nearest Subway you can hit up on the way home. If you have room in your bag, throw in a bottle of water. Nothing worse than dry mouth when you’re trying to sound professional.
5. Breathe. I take a minute before I enter the building or in the elevator to take some deep breaths: in through the nose, out through the mouth. I think I have a tendency to sound flustered in interviews, even if I don’t think that I feel particularly antsy. I find that taking a few deep breaths helps me center myself so I can walk in feeling calm and confident.
Bonus tips: I have been told by staffing agencies to make sure that I am not wearing anything flashy in terms of jewelry and not to wear perfume. Keep your nail polish a low key color (I use light pink) and your makeup on the neutral side. Good luck!