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Your Job Interview Started in the Parking LotYour LinkedIn profile is perfect. You applied for the position. You passed the initial screening and phone interviews. You have a good rapport with the recruiter and were invited to an in-person interview with the boss. You have studied the company website and know the products.

Things are looking pretty good for getting that job of your dreams. Just don’t screw it up.

T-minus 1 Day: You make sure to print resume and any samples that play up your “rock star” status. You pick up your suit from the dry-cleaner and get a haircut. At dinner, you skip the extra spicy Buffalo wings with garlic dip and you made sure to get a good night’s sleep.

You are read. Primed and pumped up.

T-minus Zero Days: You start the day on time and get in some brief exercise to get your blood flowing. You have perfect hygiene and preparation (making sure not to nick yourself shaving). You’ve dressed immaculately and leave with enough time to arrive 10 minutes early; following the route you drove the day before to know exactly where to go. You arrive 15 minutes early and pull into a parking spot. You are under budget and ahead of schedule and feeling pretty good about yourself.

What you don’t realize is that…

Your job interview just started!

Somewhere in a corner office or conference room overlooking the parking lot is a group of managers, directors, and executives discussing serious business and how to grow the company. A few of these managers have a seat facing the parking lot.

Here’s what they see:

They see an unwashed car pull up and the occupant sitting inside for 5 minutes – checking their hair and teeth, sending text messages, and looking casual as they have a conversation on their cell phone. The car owner slowly gets out of their car and gathers a few things from the back seat and then saunters towards the building.

Before you’ve even talked to someone, you have one strike against you.

You failed the first impression part of the interview before ever making it into the building.

Here’s how to properly arrive at a job interview:

Clean your car. My dad always says, “Clean is the best color.” Next, arrive with purpose. Get out of your car with good posture and walk confidently to the building. Once inside, you are waiting where you may meet a future co-worker, boss, or make a new friend. Be prepared to give a great first impression. The rest you’ve practiced. You’ll smile with those clean teeth and ask intelligent engaging questions of those you meet. You’ve got this!

There likely isn’t a red carpet to remind you that the arrival is important, but don’t forget that your job interview always starts in the parking lot!

Photo credit: bit.ly/T5oXtb

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