Whether you have been on three hundred interviews in your lifetime, five, or zero… the thought of being interviewed can make your stomach turn. Why? Why do interviews make us so nervous?
Unfortunately, the interview process is daunting. Being judged by a person (or people) because of how you answer questions about yourself, your experience, and your goals can be very intimidating. How can you fight the urge to crawl into a ball and beg for the process to be over? How can you resist asking your interviewer to just let you have the job because you “promise they will not regret hiring” you? How will you avoid from throwing up because your stomach is doing flips with each question you have to answer?
I cannot promise that you won’t throw up, because I am not in control of your body. However, I can provide you with tips to consider when embarking on the journey to becoming an employed citizen in this world!
- Take a deep breath. This seems obvious, I know. But, when I interviewed for the first time (I believe I was in 8th grade), I was not taking deep, calm, breaths. I know that is why I did not get the results I expected. By essentially hyperventilating and not taking deep breaths, I did not allow myself to think clearly. Breath in (1, 2, 3)…. breath out (1, 2, 3)… and repeat.
- PREPARE! Again, another obvious tip, but I refuse to post this blog without being upfront and, sometimes, obvious. Prepare, prepare prepare. I know that interviews can come up out of the blue, but prepare for as long as you are able. How do you prepare? Here are the top 3 things I do to prepare for a big interview. (1) Review your resume. (2) Answer practice interview questions, particularly questions that require you to cite your experience such as “Give an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle the conflict?” (3) Take the time to learn about the company. Do not go into an interview with zero knowledge of the particular business/company for whom you are interviewing. Seriously, this is huge. Two of the most common interview questions are, “What do you know about our company?” and “Why do you want to work here?”
Research. I kind of said this in tip two, but I want to reiterate the importance of research prior to an interview. I do not mean just researching the company. That should be a given. You should also research the position for which you are interviewing, the typical salary for that position and in your location, how others feel about the company, and if others interviewed for this same position. Glassdoor is THE best for learning more about a company, salaries, previous/current employee’s opinions of the company, and interview tips.
- Remember: You are interviewing the employer, too. I think this is my favorite tip of all. We often forget that we have every right to judge the interviewer and their company, as well. There is a reason why they ask if you have any questions at the end of an interview. ASK QUESTIONS. It is common for interviewers to answer the basics about the job and company, but dig a litter deeper. Don’t be afraid to stump them with a question. Personally, I appreciate when people ask me questions that require me to think or seek an answer. Clearly they are thinking outside the box. Be the person that yearns for more. Some questions you can come armed with are: (1) Can you explain the organization’s culture? (2) What do you enjoy most about working for this company? (3) How has this position evolved over time? (4) What are three qualities your management team looks for in an employee?
- When you can, stand. If you are in a waiting area, try to stand. This is especially helpful for phone interviews. I am RARELY sitting during a phone interview. I will either stand or pace around the room. Sometimes I dance around. It keeps me loosey goosey. I feel more relaxed and powerful by standing/pacing/dancing. Obviously, doing laps around your interviewer’s office is not likely to happen. So, stand prior to the interview in a waiting area, or sit up tall with a smile on your face. Look confident, feel confident.
- Handshakes ARE important. I will keep this tip short. How you shake the hands of your interviewers says a lot. If you are sitting prior to the interviewer entering the room, stand when greeting them. Have a firm shake (but do not cut off circulation). Look them directly in the eyes. SMILE. Don’t be afraid to smile. It is so exciting that you have made it to the interview process. Let them know you are happy to be there and remind them that their time is valued. That can be done with respect and a smile.
Well, those are some of the many tips I keep under my sleeve. I have plenty more and could go on for days… but I am already over 800 words. With that being said, I will end with this: Do the best you can on an interview. Sometimes you can interview perfectly and still not get the job. Be proud that you made it as far as you did. Some people don’t even get a call. If you aren’t a good fit for one company, a good interview may encourage them to share you with another. You can do it!