I’m sitting in a Starbucks now, and it is obvious by the dialogue of the two people sitting across from me that one person is interviewing the other. The guy being interviewed is tapping his foot in sheer nervousness and is babbling through his responses, unable to answer the questions he is being asked effectively. I want to get up and give him a hug and tell him to calm down. It will be okay. If he could just calm himself down, I think he’d be able to effectively focus and answer the questions. Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation being interviewed or interviewing someone?
For even the most confident job applicant, a job interview can be one of the most stressful experiences. Because it is not something we do often, interviews put us out of our comfort zone.
To be able to present yourself in the best way for your next interview, here are some tips:
- Practice, Practice, Practice. Set up the video camera on your phone, tablet or computer and video tape yourself answering common interview questions. Better yet, have someone else ask you the questions and seek their feedback about ways you can improve upon your responses. You can find some sample interview questions as well as how to prepare for behavioral based interviews on our tools page.
- Eliminate unnecessary stressors. Things like running late, your outfit not fitting, not having copies of your resume, etc. are all things that can be avoided if you proactively prepare. Do a drive by of where you are going to for the interview around the time of day you are scheduled to go and see how long it will take you to get there, then plan accordingly. If you’re doing a phone or Skype interview, make sure your technology works the day before and that the background where you plan to sit is appropriate. Try on your outfit beforehand to make sure it fits and is pressed. Eliminate all that you can that could possibly cause unnecessary stress the day of the interview.
- Remember, an interview is just a conversation between people. Having the awareness that the interviewer(s) are people too and just want to talk to you about your skills and how they align with the needs of the company can combat the stress of the situation more than anything. The interviewer doesn’t want you to fail; he or she just wants to find the right person for the role. By putting yourself in their shoes, you will be better able to answer their questions with a demeanor that presents confidence in the situation.
What about a job interview causes you the most stress?