You’ll have received an invitation letter or email with details of your interview. Congratulations! Check it closely to make sure you know exactly what time you have to be there (you will often be asked to arrive five or ten minutes early, so make sure you take this into account if necessary). Plan your route, and think about transport options, traffic, parking or how busy public transport will be. Do you know exactly where you’re going? It might be a good idea to find the venue in advance. When will you eat? You could perhaps pop a cereal bar and a small bottle of water in your bag. Do you have to take any documents with you? Sometimes you are asked to take ID or proof of right to work – if so, find these in advance and make sure you know where they are on the day.
When you arrive at the venue on the day, there will usually be a reception desk or similar. Let them know your name and that you’re there for an interview. If it’s a large organisation there might be multiple recruitment processes running simultaneously so be prepared to mention the job title you’re interviewing for, and name of the interviewer (it should be on your letter). Don’t forget that reception staff might be asked for their informal impressions of candidates – so be unfailingly polite and professional with everyone you meet!
Consider in advance what you’re going to wear. There’s a whole section below on ‘what to wear’ – read it through and make sure you have your outfit clean and prepared ahead of the interview date.
Always make sure to check the letter of invitation carefully, particularly if there is a social element to the interview (perhaps a dinner for candidates the night before), and be guided by any instructions that are given to you.
If you can't attend
It is not always possible to attend an interview on the day stipulated in your invitation. Recruiters will understand that you have academic or family commitments which sometimes can't be changed. If you are really unable to attend the interview, contact the person who has issued the invitation as soon as possible and ask politely whether it can be rescheduled – however, remember that you will be expected to make every effort to be there if at all possible.