Nerves and interviews go together like a horse and carriage. If you didn’t feel just a little bit stressed, it would beg the question “do you really care if you get the job or not?” Believe it or not, the butterflies in the stomach, the racing heart, the uncontrollable perspiration and the feeling that you would like to throw up are actually good for you. Yes, God does move in very mysterious ways. But these symptoms of your nervous system working overtime, actually sharpen all our senses, our concentration, and focus our minds ready to give the very best in battle. So everyone needs nerves to a certain extent – but it is when they are too extreme, they can have the opposite effect and turn an interview into an absolute nightmare.
Luckily, this is something you can control. As well as preparing for the questions you are likely to be asked you need to also consider the whole interview scenario and your place within it.
Your Interviewers Want to See You Succeed
As much as we think of an interview as a sadistic torture chamber run by a heartless power-mad official who wants you to squirm, the fact is, your interviewers want you for the next job and will do everything (if they have any sense) to prove it. You wouldn’t be there otherwise. Put yourself in their position. Vacancies in the company disrupt teams and put processes at risk, filling vacancies are horribly time consuming and they are very expensive. They want you to show them the skills and experiences they are looking for. So don’t feel you have to be some kind of super-human. It is not a weakness to say “Can I just think about that question?”; to pause and think before you answer; to drink the water they have provided; to admit that you are nervous. Interviews cause stress and they know it and want to help you with it – bring that tension into the open with a little humour and it will help bond interviewee and interviewer.
Understand Your Fears
We are all unique and we all get stressed for different reasons. It is those unique fears you need to hone down on and try to understand why they are present. For instance, if you had a bad experience with a panel interview before, it may send your stress levels through the roof to know the interview is presented on the same basis. To cope with the current situation, you need to move forward from the previous experience by identifying what previously caused such a headache. When you are honest with yourself you can start building techniques to calm your nerves and meet the challenge.
Nine times out of ten interviewees are worried that they will be asked a question that they do not know the answer to, but still fail to put the work in beforehand. You will never know what you are going to be asked and there are no exact answers but you can get a good outline of the questions which will be fired your way by looking at the job description and the Job requirements. What kind of personality, experience and qualifications are they looking for? For instance, if they are looking for a good team worker how can you show this is in your work experiences? Prepare little vigneetes or anecdotes to prove you are made of the right stuff.
Plan How You Will Get to The Interview
There is nothing worse than getting up on the morning of the interview and realising you do not know how to get there, you have got to set the sat nav up, you are not sure which tie to wear with your new suit, you are unsure where you will park and you haven’t got time for breakfast. Carefully plan the logistics of getting to the interview in advance so you will not be burdened with the stress that blots out all the good work you have done the night before.
A Balance of Power
If you go into any situation with the mind-set of a “people-pleaser” then you are looking forward to a bad result. Don’t forget this is as much about whether you want the job they are offering as the interviewers checking you are the right person for the job. This new job if you get it will, no doubt, be a big change in your life – make sure they deserve your talents. Do your research beforehand about the company and what they stand for. This in turn will also help you with feeling more relaxed in the interview room. It is less like meeting a stranger and you look more astute and passionate for the job if you have done research on the company prior to the interview.
Practice, Practice, Practice
How can you rehearse when you don’t know what you are going to be asked? The point is you don’t want to sound as if you are reading from a script. This will sound false. But you do want to make sure you cover the salient points outlined in the job description. Rehearse how you will bring those factors into your presentation – memorise those points so they are in your mind. Get used to hearing the sound of your own voice and get feedback from your friend/colleague who you are doing the role play with.
Get There Early
If you get there in good time for the interview it will show you are organised and committed to the job in hand. Some interviewers actually use the receptionist to check out how you behave when you enter the building. It also gives you time to relax and gather your thoughts. To ensure good timing do a mock run to the location of the interview taking into account traffic at different times, parking areas and last minute hitches.
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