How Not To Mess Up In-Person Interviews (Before They Even Start)

You apply for a job, have a phone interview then learn that you advanced to the in-person interview! Yay!  

You are now feeling:

  • Nervous but excited

  • Ill-prepared

  • Like you need to go on LinkedIn stalker mode


These feelings are totally normal! However, those feelings can also lead you to digging your own hole.

Here’s how not to mess it up before it even starts:


Make the time and day work.

In-person interviews typically involve several people competing for a role over a certain time period that work well for the team that is evaluating the candidates. The team doesn’t care that you have a prior commitment (unless of course it’s truly serious and urgent). To interviewers, you will make the time and day work if you really want the job.


Proofread your emails 3x.

I received an email from a candidate where the subject read “Looking Forward To Our Coversation” a few days before the in-person interview. I get that this person was eager but spelling mistakes are careless and do not leave a good impression - and I hadn’t even met this person yet. To be honest, I wouldn’t have even emailed that as a subject line. Don’t back pedal when you’ve made it this far!


Don’t start emailing your phone interviewer/HR/hiring manager excessively about details of the interview.

If they haven’t divulged greater detail, it’s intentional. It also annoys the interviewer and makes you look desperate. Typically, the team evaluating you isn’t even allowed to share greater detail as to not disadvantage other candidates. Find other contacts in similar roles/fields to gauge what the in-person interview questions will be like and always be prepared with multiple anecdotes for the behavioral ones. (This pertains to non-logistical questions)


Don’t add your interviewers on LinkedIn until after the interview.

I know sounds counterintuitive but if you want to know their background, come up with genuinely curious questions in the Q&A part of your interview. You can still “stalk” them without having to add them. The adding them after part shows that you want to maintain a network and is where you can show some gratitude for their time regardless of how it turns out!


There’s prepared and then there’s rehearsed.

Interviewers want to see preparation but they seek authenticity and being overly rehearsed completely goes against that - they lose sight of who you are when you sound like a robot.