Best Practices: The Day of an Interview

Overcoming Interview Inertia, Creating Interview Momentum

Everywhere you look there is advice about how to interview.  There is advice from how to dress–to what to say or not to say–to how to follow up.  The large majority of the advice is worthwhile, but there is a point in the process that I don’t see given much attention.  I wanted to share some advice on what to do the day of an interview.  How can a candidate can overcome Interview Inertia and then create and maintain Interview Momentum?


Guest or Host?

Think about how differently you act in these two similar situations.  The first, imagine you are a guest at a dinner party where there are many other guests.  You know about 3-5 people in the busy room.  Even the most outgoing people would tend to gravitate to the few familiar faces they already know.  Perhaps you would too.

The second, imagine yourself now hosting a dinner party with many guests.  The majority of the guests you know, but there are also a large number of people you haven’t yet met.  As the host of the dinner party, you are going to be more inclined to be social, jovial, and welcoming.

Even in these similar situations, the same person may dawn two different personalities.  My advice is to present the dinner-party-host version of yourself on an interview.


Interview Momentum

Now, the dinner-party-host version of yourself isn’t just turned on with a flip of a switch.  We need to warm up and build up to that heightened level.  Some will need more runway than others.  An interviewing pitfall is going into an interview without creating enough social momentum.

Here are some ideas about how to create Interview Momentum:

  • Sing or whistle while you’re getting ready that morning.
  • Strike up a conversation with a stranger.
  • Ask engaging questions to the car service driver.
  • Make small talk with the receptionist while you’re waiting.
  • Go out of your way to be thoughtful to a stranger.
  • Smile as much as possible.

By doing the above things or acting in accord with the outlined ideas, you’ll get the ball rolling…you’ll overcome interview inertia.

When the manager comes into the lobby to greet you, they will instantly recognize your positive energy. This bodes well for a well-received first impression. The energy that was created in the first part of the day will give you lasting momentum through the interview.

Candidates who fail to build momentum leading up to the interview may feel that they have too much interview inertia to overcome the second they meet the manager. Savvy interviewers have social momentum already generated, and they are hitting their interviewing stride from the very beginning.  

I hope this information is unique and helpful as you look to create and maintain Interview Momentum.   I’d welcome your thoughts about the topic as well.

About the Author