If you Google the phrase things to do before your interview, you’ll get plenty of hits. However, not nearly the same amount of attention is paid to advising jobseekers what not to do before an interview.  Think about it: the things you do (or don’t do) leading up to the interview set the stage for the interview itself. If you want to be in a good mental state and make a great impression, here are three things to avoid.

1. Don’t prepare last minute

At this point, you should have done all your research on the company and you should have a good idea of questions you may be asked and how to respond appropriately. At a minimum, you should know when the company was founded, what its mission statement is, and have an answer ready when the interviewer hits you with, “What’s your biggest weakness?”. Don’t stress yourself out by trying to cram additional information into your brain on the day of the interview. The best thing you can do is relax and get into a calm frame of mind. Breathing exercises are a great way to take the edge off.

2. Don’t arrive more than 15 minutes early

This one may seem counter-intuitive since standard interview advice includes the phrase “early is on time and on time is late.” It’s important to arrive early but try not to get to your interview more than 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Career coach Rita Friedman admonishes that arriving too early, “…can come across as an imposition, as if you are expecting the interviewer to drop whatever he or she is doing to attend to you.” If you just feel better getting to your interview extra early, hang out in the main lobby or at a nearby coffee shop before heading up to your interview.

3. Don’t be rude to the receptionist 

When you think of who has the power to decide whether you get hired or not, the receptionist probably doesn’t come to mind. What you may not know is that many hiring managers ask the receptionist what their first impression of candidates is, and they take that into account when making a hiring decision. According to one receptionist, “A part of my job is to watch you when you first walk through the door, and believe me when I say recruiters always ask my opinion of you after you’ve left, to see how you normally behave.” Follow the golden rule by treating everyone as you’d want to be treated, whether or not you think they play a role in the hiring process.

Preparing for a job interview can be tough. Knowing what not to do can sometimes be just as vital to your success as knowing what to do. The most important thing to avoid is stress. Anxiety can affect your short-term memory and make normal tasks difficult to do. So relax – you’ve been preparing for this interview for a while. Just believe in yourself and take these tips to heart – you’ll crush it!

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