The five minute pre-interview toolkit

If you're heading for a job interview, you don't want to be preparing right up to the last minute and worrying about what might be asked.

But the chances are you could face a short wait before you step into that interview room. Here are a handful of things that you could still do in this time to help improve the impression you make.

Phone checking

You phone going off in the middle of an interview is a big no no. Take a second to ensure it's on silent or, better still, turned off. That way, you won't run the risk that a ringtone will spoil the flow mid interview and embarrass you in from on someone you're trying to impress.

Smooth your hair

Before you turn your phone off though, you may want to do a quick hair check. This is just a way to help ensure you won't be walking into the room looking more windswept than you'd like to be. Take a quick snap with your phone's camera and neaten any stray hairs you can see before you go into the interview. 

A sip of water

You may feel the need to take a sip of water or two before you enter the room. Sometimes, nerves can make our voices feel constrained and not as confident as we would like, which can make gulping down water tempting. Though it's wise to rehydrate if you feel you have a dry mouth, don't waste a lot of worry on this – you may find that simply relaxing a little is a better cure for feeling your voice isn't where it should be.


The most important thing is not to fill the time with too many little jobs, though. If you find yourself sat waiting for your interviewer, your main focus should be on using the time to relax.

Often, finding the place an interview is held can be stressful. You may even be out of breath after the journey. It's great to have the chance to regain yourself. So, if you have a moment, simply sit and admire the surroundings, trying to find calm, so that you appear as poised as possible when the interview starts.

Deep breathing may be able to help here. Try to slow the pace of your breaths so that you're calming down and not at risk of hyperventilating. Take an interest in the things around you – in some circumstances this might be your first chance to see an environment you will be working in, for example. This will also help take your mind off the impending interview!

Meanwhile, greet everyone who acknowledges you – not just the person who you will be chatting with – in an appropriate and friendly way. In some circumstances, these will end up being your colleagues, after all! 

Berkeley Scott is a specialist hospitality recruitment agency.