Whether you’re going into your first or 100th Big 4 interview, there are some simple things you can do to improve your state of mind, confidence, and energy levels before the interview fun begins. Implement our tried-and-true big 4 interview tips for your next interview and you’ll be on the partner track in no time:
Don’t drive to your big 4 interviews!
If your interview is on the other side of campus or a nearby city that you’re planning on driving to, don’t! Everyone hates parking, looking for meters, losing your car in a garage somewhere, getting lost, etc. Instead, take a cab / Uber / Lyft, or take your city’s public transportation. It reduces stress because you’re not worried about everything mentioned above, and you have brain space to do whatever works for you. With this extra time, spend it rehearsing some of your potential answers or listening to some jams to help clear your head.
Show up early, but not too early.
Everyone has a different style here, but I always liked being at least 30 minutes early to the general vicinity of my interview. With this time, I prefer finding a Starbucks nearby to do a quick mental reset and doing something like reviewing my resume/practicing answers. Plus, I sometimes would read up on the latest news to have more ammo for office small talk. From there, I’d walk over so that I arrived at the interview site approximately 10 minutes early. Ten minutes should be plenty of time to check in and get to whatever room I needed to be in, but not so early where you’re awkwardly sitting around for half the day.
Do SOMETHING active in the morning
No need to run a casual pre-interview marathon, but if you can get a few jumping jacks or a quick gym session in, it can do wonders. Studies show that 15-20 minutes of anaerobic or aerobic activity helps to improve your focus. It gets your blood flowing, helps clear your head, ups your confidence, and gives you a boost of energy that won’t leave you shaking with caffeine jitters.
Be kind to everyone you talk to in the office
It’s honestly super common sense, but I know from hearing my seniors, managers, and partners discuss potential interviewees, that candidates do come in for their interview with less-than-ideal manners. So, smile and thank the admin assistant that is checking you into the interview. Be gracious and friendly to everyone you come in contact with at the interview site, because you never know what will get back to the team that’s making the hiring decision.
Interact with the other interview candidates
So, when you arrive and are in the waiting room with other interviewees, make some small-talk. Yes, they may, in theory, be your competition for the job, but they may also be your future colleagues. Think about this from the point of view of the interviewers: if they see you as someone who can walk in cold and hold an engaging conversation with strangers, that speaks to your ability to interact with clients and colleagues down the road.
Look good, feel good, interview well
It’s game time – before you head into the waiting room, take a quick trip to the bathroom and take one last look in the mirror. Did some of your last cup of coffee miss your mouth and catch your shirt? (Bonus tip: always keep a Tide-to-Go pen in your bag.) Check to make sure everything is tucked in, your tie is on point, and your shoes aren’t showing any dirt clumps. It’s common sense stuff, but with the pre-interview adrenaline rush, it’s often easy to overlook.