When you’re going in for a job interview, there is always so much to consider and prepare for. What should I wear? How should I greet them? What are the questions I want to ask them? Which piece of previous employment do I want them to focus on during the interview? And, of course, if they sneeze, do I say bless you?
One important piece of preparation than gets overlooked all too often, though, is nutrition.
We all want to be perfectly prepared for our interviews, and the first thing to do to set ourselves up for success is by eating and drinking well before the interview and getting our nutrition right. How you do this can depend on the individual, but it’s important for us all to think about, plan, and prepare.
Nutrition can be the difference between you sitting focused, alert and fully able to concentrate on your interviewer’s questions, and sitting tired, distracted, and struggling to get your thoughts out in an eloquent way. Not to mention, the last thing you want in an interview is to interrupt your potential employer with a rumbling stomach [lol].
The first thing to consider is the time of the day your interview will be, because that will decide if breakfast or lunch will be your final meal before the interview and will determine when exactly you should eat. Generally, you’d like to try and eat at least an hour before your interview, so you don’t feel full of just eating when you go in. For me though, the most important thing for your final meal before an interview, don’t rush it! Eating too fast, feeling stressed about finishing in time, and then rushing to the interview immediately after your meal is a sure-fire way to get indigestion, and spend the entirety of your interview feeling nauseous.
When planning your day around your interview, always make sure you give yourself plenty of time to relax and enjoy your meal. Then, you can go about your day without rushing, and give your food time to settle in your stomach before arriving at the interview.
Another piece of advice when it comes to eating before your interview, which may seem obvious, don’t spill any food on your outfit! For this reason, I always recommend bringing a backup change of outfit for a food stain emergency, such as a second shirt, tie or dress. Remember, you could be the most intelligent, qualified and likable candidate they’ve ever interviewed, but if you turn up with a mustard stain on your tie, that’s what they’re going to remember.
The vital part of nutrition is always going to be what you eat and drink, though, and it’s something to consider carefully in preparation for the day. When it comes to interviews, there are a few traps that you can easily fall into with nutrition. The first instinct many people fall into is to do something completely different.
While it is important to make sure you’re eating healthily, changing your diet drastically from your usual routine is only going to upset your body and digestion just in time for your interview. The same goes for coffee. If you don’t drink as much as you usually do, you’ll feel tired and lethargic. If you think you need to drink more than usual for a caffeine boost, though, you’re going to be too cramped up and you’ll be bouncing in your chair. Stick closely to your routine, if it gives you enough energy and nutrition daily.
Beyond this, however, a good balanced diet will have slow release carbohydrates, such as oats or whole wheat, natural sugars from fruit, and digestion relieving bacteria from yogurt, preferably natural Greek yogurt.
Finally, the last consideration is water. Instinct will tell you to drink lots to stay hydrated but drinking a lot more than usual will leave you needing the bathroom during your interview. One good option most don’t think of is bringing a bottle of water into the interview with you. This lets you hydrate and relieve your dry mouth while you talk, but you won’t be left needing the bathroom until you’ve left. Yay!
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