Advice

6 things you should do when traveling for a job interview

You scored that big, out-of-town interview! Now, you just have to take a plane, train or a car to get there. Here are six things to do when you have to go to an unfamiliar place for an interview.

Know exactly where you’re going in advance

It’s definitely smart to go to your interview location beforehand — especially if you get to the area at least a day before. You’ll be glad you did. This will save you some of the stress that comes with heading to a new location on an already high-stakes day.

Just don’t forget to leave with much more time than you need on the day of the actual interview. You never know what the traffic conditions will actually be like at that time of day.

Find a breakfast spot and a convenience store

You might not have time for a sit-down breakfast — white tablecloth and all — on the morning of your interview. Chances are you’ll want to head to a local Starbucks or another coffee shop for a quick bite and a drink, so make sure you find a place to pick up something if you don’t have a lot of time to eat before meeting your potential employer.

But what if you spill coffee or a little bit of breakfast on your shirt at breakfast? It’d be good to know where to pick up some stain remover. While you’re at a convenience store nearby, you can also pick up a few snacks and water, which will come in handy if you have a day full of interview sessions or panels.

Have comfortable clothing options — and a portable charger

If you plan on wearing heels to the interview, it can’t hurt to have a more comfortable pair of shoes in your bag, just in case. You don’t want to show up to the interview and already be in pain from wearing them on the way there. Or, you could just invest in shoes that are better for walking, but still interview-appropriate.

Also, bring along a portable cell phone charger in case you don’t end up near an outlet anytime.

Find out who will be interviewing you beforehand

Ask the employer to let you who you’ll be meeting with, whether it’s a recruiter, manager, or someone else from the team with the position you applied for. You’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way, and maybe even more of an idea how the questions will be framed.

This might even help ease your fear of the unknown.

Make sure you know all about the company

This is standard — you should be prepared for every job interview, whether or not it’s in your neck of the woods — but if you get ahead on your research before you leave for your trip, you’ll probably feel a lot better once you get there.

This way, you can just add to what you know before interview time rolls around.

Come with questions for the interviewer

Did you see something that caught your eye on the company website, like an initiative you think you’d might like to get involved in, or recent research they carried out? Ask about it. You never know where it might lead.

You’ll also prove that you are interested in the company, and that you can already see yourself fitting into the culture there.

Jane Burnett is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at jburnett@theladders.com.

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