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What to Do in the Waiting Room Before Your Interview

The on-campus interviewing waiting room is your initial face-to-face connection point with your potential employer. Use this waiting room area as the preparation location for your interview. Always, always, always arrive at least ten to fifteen minutes early. This will give you the time necessary to do a quick final review before the actual interview. Get a drink of water on the way there, to avoid cotton mouth syndrome.

When you arrive at the waiting room, check in with whomever is managing the interview scheduling. If you do not already know the name of the interviewer, find out and write it down. If you have not been given a time schedule, ask how long the interview is scheduled to take, so you know how much time is reserved. Ask if there is anyone on the schedule before you. If not, or if that person canceled, be prepared for a potential early start. This can work strongly to your advantage, since it gives both you and the interviewer additional time. While waiting for the interviewer, take out your resume and review it one last time. Know it front to back. Visualize and mentally rehearse some of the standard answers. Think through some of your compelling stories and examples to utilize in your behavioral answers.

The Anticipation Technique

As you wait for the interviewer to greet you in the waiting room, prepare to make your very best initial impression. Choose a seat that is facing the door or hallway where the interviewer(s) will approach. There may be several companies interviewing concurrently for a variety of different positions, so there may be several other anxious students seated in the waiting area. Be constantly conscious of the entryway, and when you see an interviewer approaching, make immediate eye contact and smile. Anticipate each interviewer as if s/he is the one who will be interviewing you.

The interviewer will normally walk into the waiting room and announce the name of the next interviewee, or possibly check with the receptionist. Even though you may end up making eye contact with several interviewers from other companies who will be interviewing someone else, treat each one as if they are your interviewer. By anticipating this initial contact, you will be sharp and alert when you do make your connection. And their first impression of you will be of someone who has a high level of anticipation and readiness.

The interviewer may be drinking coffee or water and sometimes will ask you if you want some. Refuse the offer. You will need your hands and mouth free to accomplish the task at hand. They are merely being polite. And avoid candy and gum, or you may be marked off the list even before you enter the interviewing room.

What to Bring to Your On-Campus Interview

Yourself, your 9" x 12" writing portfolio, two copies of your resume, copies of your top three letters of recommendation, any employer information you have gathered, and a portfolio filled with show-and-tell information you may want to use (and it better be outstanding, or leave it home). Nothing more, nothing less. And do not take notes unless you are specifically asked to take an action that you need to record for memory. Remember who is interviewing whom.

Read more:

How to Build Rapport with On-Campus Recruiters