Most everyone is a bit nervous just prior to a job interview. The problem arises when your nervousness becomes a liability to an effective interview. So, what can you do about it? Saying “just relax” and doing it are two separate things.
Below are some practices that others have found useful. Try them out to see which ones work for you. Pre-interview jitters can be conquered with concentration and practice. And don’t be intimidated if you come in second as a candidate a few times. Since the economy has rebounded, more jobs have opened up. However, internal candidates have been moving up the career ladder creating a higher hurdle for external candidates.
There is one element where you may have the upper hand over all candidates, internal or external. Hiring managers will favor candidates who have already successfully achieved the results that they are looking for in the open position. Most internal candidates have not attained that level of performance. If you have that experience from which to market your accomplishments, you will most likely be a finalist candidate.
Here are some confidence building exercises:
- The night before, practice answering questions you believe will be asked. Since interviewers normally have not met you, they know little about you except what is written on your resume. The key questions will be about your experiences on prior jobs: What did you do, how did you do it, and what were the results.
- During these practice sessions record your answers, then during playback refine your answers until you are satisfied the answer is the best possible way to respond to the interviewer’s question.
- Research the industry, company, competitors, product lines, history, financials and anything else that will help you understand the issues and potential opportunities, to recognize the best way to respond to interview questions.
- Take the position description for the open job. Make a list of all the skills, experiences or results you have achieved that may parallel the responsibilities on the position description. Your chances of becoming a finalist candidate may depend on the parallels between what you have done and what the hiring manager is looking for to fill the job
- Warm up your voice just before interviewing. Usually a lower, calm voice is more soothing and reassuring than a high squeaking voice.
- Think about positive thoughts before going into the interview. A wonderful family vacation, an award you received, praise from an executive about a project, and so on.
- Make sure you haven’t recently woken up from a nap, feel a bit groggy and not as sharp as usual. Vitality will provide you with higher energy and a quicker mind
- And last but not least, practice smiling. Sounds simple, but some people frown during an interview. Both a smile or a frown will come through to the hiring manager and affect your interview success.
Preparation is the key to reducing the pre-interview shakes and make a success of the interview itself.
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