There is a lot of conflicting advice on preparing for and conducting yourself during an interview, making it difficult to know where to begin. Remember that, like creating an excellent omelet, driving a car, or giving a presentation, the ability to participate confidently in job interviews is a talent that can be mastered. If you want to ace your following interview, try these five suggestions.
Learn the material, but don’t obsess over it.
I went into an interview for a Project Manager position at a medical logistics company many years ago with little background knowledge of the company or the industry. It’s good that I didn’t apply for the job because I knew I wouldn’t get it. It would be best if you were well-versed in the company’s offerings, market standing, potential, etc. Do research the company before your interview, but don’t go crazy. Knowing your subject isn’t as simple as reciting memorized material. If you go into an interview prepared to spout facts and numbers, you risk seeming overly rehearsed or stilted, so it’s also a good idea to figure out how to reply to some possible questions. You don’t need to be word perfect, you don’t need to know everything, and you don’t need to have a slick answer for every question, but you should know what you’re talking about and give room to think on your feet. The interviewer may also test your ability to think quickly by asking a question that seems entirely out of left field. Don’t stress out if that happens to you. Buy some time by pretending you didn’t expect or repeat the question. Then fire impulsively.
Relax about it
First, whether this is your first or third interview, always remember that they are interested in talking to you because they think you would be a good fit for the position. The good news is that. Naturally, it’s simple to get caught up in the excitement of the interview and let your guard down. Recently, a friend told me she has more anxiety with each subsequent discussion. Keeping your attention on the problem and the drama will serve to attract more drama, which is the last thing you need right now. It’s normal to feel some anxiety before an interview, though. When you’re anxious before an interview, you step up your game and show off your enthusiasm and energy in a way impossible if you weren’t on edge. I have two ideas for you. How would you approach the interview if nothing was at stake for you? What would change if you knew that no matter what they decided, it had nothing to do with you or your abilities? Revising your outlook on the interview and the potential downsides might have a profound effect. Second, try documenting the steps you would take to induce anxiety or fear in another person. Just how does one set that emotion in motion? What are you telling yourself that’s contributing to that expansion of emotion? Is there anything you do to make matters worse? You’ll see more clearly what you’re doing wrong if you write it out step by step. Then you may develop a counter-how-to guide that flips the script on each suggestion for a different outcome.
Realize that communication in an interview goes both ways.
Office Team, a recruitment firm, found that 49% of workers and 59% of HR directors erred in assessing applicants’ cultural fit and job suitability, respectively. That’s why the interview needs to go both ways. It’s a way to determine if the position and the company are a good fit for you and if you’re the best person for the job. It’s not enough for the interviewer to merely get the data they need; you, too, must collect relevant data for yourself. You and the interviewer are vested in discovering whether you are a good fit for the position and the company. Therefore, there is no ‘upper hand,’ and it’s a fair fight.
Promote yourself without shame.
The purpose of an interview is to convince the interviewer that you are the best candidate for the job. You’re done if you don’t realize that or don’t do it properly. If you’ve forgotten who you are, what you’re capable of, and what your abilities are, the first step is to remember them. Then you can give your interviewers the information they need about your accomplishments by citing specific examples. Two interviewees in a room together equal two liars, or so the adage goes. I wouldn’t go that far because trying to trick someone with a lie during an interview is like asking a cow to quack like a duck. What’s the deal, though? Feel free to take a creative license here. Boost your ego a little. Imagine you had a little more weight on your shoulders than you have. Justify your work by making it sound more impressive than it was. These questions are standard fares in any interview, so don’t worry about giving the wrong impression. If you’re selling yourself well at an interview, that’s all it means.
Relax and have fun.
I’ve done a lot of job interviews in the past, and one thing that has always stood out to me is when an applicant is having a good time, both during the interview and in general. I enjoy discussions because I get to employ some things I enjoy doing, with one notable exception (one interviewer who had a significant chip on their shoulder and was determined to make it a miserable experience; I doubt anyone got that job). I get to know new people, have fun chatting with them, and maybe even make them laugh by talking about myself (come on, we all like to brag about ourselves occasionally). That’s more crucial to me than appearing “professional,” which often involves molding yourself into an image you imagine your future employer prefers (more on “professionalism” in a later piece). That’s why taking advantage of the things you’re good at and care about is crucial. You won’t obtain the job if you come across as miserable or uninterested in the interview. No brainer. Being enthusiastic about your work and location will be immediately noticeable. A discussion does not reflect who you are or what you can do. It’s not the end of the world if you have to go on an interview. Please take part in it, have fun with it, and be yourself.
Regarding Steve Errey
Steve Errey wrote the Truly Confident Living Home Study Course. He has hundreds of international clientele and has been featured as an authority in periodicals on both sides of the Atlantic and on television and radio. Before, he worked as an e-Business project manager, traveling the world to assist companies in fulfilling the potential of the Internet. He lost his job (when the Internet bubble burst), fell into depression, and had to set up a payment plan to deal with his mounting debt. The novel Steve is working on is his first.
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