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The Job Blog

7 Tips for Keeping Calm at Interview

For many, the job interview is the most terrifying and nerve-wracking element of the entire job search process. Undoubtedly, beyond that initial adrenaline rush, nerves add little benefit to your interview technique and presentation. Candidates, who are typically extremely composed, professionally-presented and excellent communicators can often be overcome by the dreaded shaky voice and sweaty palm.

Try keeping the following tips in mind during your next job interview, and your skills, experience, and personality will do the talking:

1. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.

As the old adage goes; prior preparation prevents poor performance.

My biggest piece of advice to any candidate prior the interview is always; research the organization. Know their products and services, what they do, and who their competitors are. Hiring companies want to know that you don’t want to work for just any organization, you want to work for their organization. And, of course, knowledge is power. The more you know, the more confident you’ll be in responding to interview questions.

2. Plan.

Being prepared also includes what you can organize ahead of time.

The fewer details you have to worry about on the day, the better! Don’t add to your stress by unnecessarily leaving things to the last minute. Plan you outfit, iron your shirt, and familiarize yourself with the interview location and how you will get there ahead of time.

3. Rehearse.

I don’t advocate memorizing answers and scripting what you are going to say in interview. However, I absolutely recommend thinking about certain points (specific to the position and how you can add value to it) that you would like to convey and how you can include them / guide the conversation to highlight them. This will go a long way to ensuring you do yourself justice at interview.

4. Think friend, not foe.

Remember; you have been invited to interview because generally, based on your paper application, the Hiring Manager anticipates you may be a good fit for the position. The interviewer isn’t trying to catch you out. In fact, most often they are willing you to succeed.

I typically visualize the interview scenario to be similar to how an exam is graded; The examiner is looking to give you marks, rather that starting at 100% and docking points for every mistake you’ve made. They are on your team. Think of the interviewer in the same manner.

In the same breath, I should say – Don’t make it difficult for the interviewer to “give you marks”, help them along by giving solid examples when answering competency based questions, by talking through your experience fluidly and knowing why you would be a good fit for the position when asked.

5. Focus on your strengths and your purpose.

Anxiety can be a cruel mistress; planting seeds of doubt and negatively affecting your self-confidence.

My advice; focus on your positives, your strengths and what you can bring to the position that makes you the best candidate for the job. Ask yourself, if you were to get the job, what are the reasons why?

Nothing cuts through panic, like purpose. So, know yours. And, make sure the interviewer is in no doubt of it by the end of the meeting either.

6. Take your time.

It’s not uncommon to be thrown a curve ball in interview and have a question that catches you a little (or a lot) off guard. Especially for more senior level roles. But, that’s okay. Again, remember; the interviewer isn’t trying to catch you out. Employers aren’t looking for perfect. But, they do tend to look for flexibility and resilience. So, take your time. Allow yourself the opportunity to process the question, before you launch into an answer. In any event, these “curve-ball” questions tend to have no right or wrong answer. Typically, the hiring manager is just looking to see how you handle yourself in such situations, how you adjust and how you move things forward.

7. There are other jobs. There will be more jobs.

When wrapped up in an interview process as a candidate, it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees. A lot of job seekers will put too much pressure on themselves, as if the job they are interviewing for is the only one in the world. Similarly, candidates will affiliate the prospect of rejection as a reflection of their professional worth (or lack thereof). This simply isn’t the case.

Where you haven’t been selected for a position, do try and trust that the interviewer ultimately knows the position and the organization better than you do. REMEMBER, the interview process is a two-way street. It is an exploratory journey on both sides. And, where you have not been selected, it is probably because the position was not the right job for you and a better fit is yet to come.

Good luck :-)