13 last-minute interview tips to impress an employer

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Hiring managers and recruiters often call in promising applicants for a rapid interview at the last minute. They usually consider such candidates an excellent fit for the company but want to learn more about them, their qualifications and their expertise before making the hiring decision. If you're called in for a last-minute interview, there's still plenty you can do to prepare in the hours or minutes leading up to the meeting which can improve your chances of getting the role. In this article, we discuss 13 tips to help you prepare for your last-minute interview.

13 last-minute interview tips

Here are 13 last-minute interview tips to help you prepare for an interview:

1. Take a deep breath

Last-minute interviews can range occur anywhere between 24 hours to even 30 minutes from the time you're notified, giving applicants limited time for prepping. Since you haven't had time to prepare, it's normal to feel overwhelmed and anxious, which only worsens the situation. An easy way to get rid of these nerves is by taking a deep breath. Close your eyes and let your mind and body calm down. Remind yourself why you applied for the job to boost your confidence. If you can, meditate for five minutes to help ease your worries, concerns and thoughts.

2. Research the company

Researching the company before your last-minute interview is vital to learn more about its culture and employees. It also helps you prepare thoughtful and detailed questions to ask the recruiter during the interview, showing you took the time to do some due diligence. Read the company's website to get a basic sense of the employer's brand and what they're all about. The about section is the fastest way to learn as much as possible, but be sure to go over other important pages if you have the time.

Related: How to research a company for an interview

3. Do industry research

Another way to learn more information and show you cared enough to conduct due diligence is by researching the industry. Look at current market trends and competitors to identify what you can talk about during the interview. Finding out such information can lead to insightful conversations with the interviewer that might make you a potential employee for the company.

4. Review the job description

In an interview, hiring managers expect candidates to explain why they're a good fit for the role and company. One way to show this is by matching your skills and expertise to the job's description. Use five or 10 minutes to read over the original job description. Take note of commonly used phrases and keywords, such as 'excellent communicator' and 'team leader', and reference them regularly when speaking and answering questions. The goal is to know the most crucial expectations of the position and demonstrate how you can meet and even exceed these expectations.

5. Look at the company's social media accounts

Companies and organisations typically rely heavily on social media to connect and engage with their target markets and remain competitive. Take advantage of this by scrolling through their social media accounts to better understand the kinds of messaging and news they share. This gives you some ideas for questions to ask your interviewer while giving you insight into what they consider a priority. Be sure to note any recent events or happenings involving the company too.

6. Read your CV or cover letter one last time

Hiring managers find confident candidates attractive as they usually know what they're talking about, speak clearly and present themselves professionally. If you want to boost your confidence, read your CV or cover letter one last time before your interview. It refreshes your memory of how you presented yourself on paper, ensuring you can answer questions correctly during the interview. For instance, if an interviewer asks why you mentioned a certain skill or field of expertise, you can clarify quickly. Reading over your CV also helps you fill in any gaps during the last-minute interview.

7. Dress appropriately

When researching the company, look at what current employees wear to the office and then dress up in a similar manner or a little better than that. You can easily find employee pictures on the company's social media site or website. If you can't find any photos, simply dress professionally by wearing formal attire. You're more likely to make a good first impression and win the job when you dress correctly.

8. Prepare your stories

When hiring managers ask questions, they want in-depth answers that tell them more about who you are as an individual and professional. Giving close-ended answers, such as 'yes' and 'no', decreases your likelihood of landing the job. Prepare stories to commonly asked interview questions to showcase your skills, abilities and expertise in the field or role. It's essential to keep your stories concise to maintain the interviewer's interest. Keep your story relevant to the question asked and be precise, only providing vital information that highlights your expertise.

Example: In my last job, I worked as part of a team to prepare a marketing campaign for the company. I was the team leader, and my duties were to assign tasks and guide everyone throughout the different phases of the project. We were able to work effortlessly together, and there was no conflict during my time as their leader.

Related: Interview question: 'Tell me about yourself'

9. Arrive at the interview early

Arriving at an interview early helps calm your nerves and gives you time to settle in before meeting the interviewer. Simply because it's a last-minute interview doesn't mean you can arrive right when it's about to start. You're more likely to be uneasy, which can translate to how you answer questions and your body language and facial expressions.

Try and arrive at the interview earlier than the set time, depending on the time limit of your last-minute interview. For instance, if it's one hour, arrive 30 minutes earlier, and if it's 30 minutes, arrive at least five to 10 minutes earlier. This gives you time to wind down and focus solely on your interview coming up.

10. Script out the 'Tell me about yourself' answer

This is one question you can expect your interviewer to ask, allowing you to prep beforehand to boost your confidence. Write down what you can say to help you stand out and show the hiring manager you're the ideal fit for the role. Be sure to highlight your strengths and mention what you bring to the table when hired for the position. Avoid memorising your answer, as you're more likely to fumble over your words if the interviewer frames the question differently. Write down critical information in bullet points to use as a reference during the last-minute interview.

11. Find something unique

Most hiring managers don't usually hire the most qualified candidates for a role, but the most memorable. This makes finding something unique about yourself vital to creating a positive impression, ensuring your interviewer remembers you. Think about what transferable skills and qualifications you have that match the job description or fit the role. You can also consider interpersonal skills that make you an exceptional colleague and team player in the workplace environment. Anything unique that makes you stand out increases your chances of getting hired.

12. Prepare questions to ask

Hiring managers adore candidates who ask thoughtful questions at the end of the interview. It shows their commitment to learning more about the job position and company and their dedication to conducting research. Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer regarding the role. Limit your questions to a few that give you insight into the company and eliminate your worries and concerns. Some common interview questions you can ask include:

  • 'Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of this role?'

  • 'What are you looking for in a candidate?'

  • 'How would you describe a typical day in this position?'

  • 'Are there opportunities for training and progression within the role or company?'

  • 'Where is the company headed in the next five years?'

  • 'What is the working culture of the organisation?'

  • 'What are the biggest challenges working in this role or company?'

  • 'What skills are the team missing that you're looking for in an ideal candidate?'

Related: Questions to ask at an interview

13. Have an exit strategy

Think about how to make your exit when your last-minute interview is over. This step is crucial in making a good impression and allows you to make your final pitch. Ensure your exit strategy expresses your interest in the role. For example:

  • 'When can I expect to hear back from you?'

  • 'When are you making a decision for this role?'

Explore more articles