We all love a good interview, don’t we? Actually, no. Some people positively hate them. Whether you’re sat before one or a panel, interviews can be stressful.
A dry mouth, sudden amnesia and sweaty palms are all emotions you can experience as interview nerves get the better of you. Despite the advice, you may find out there, there is no panacea for interview jitters but practice. Going to the interview is the only way to the job you want, and the only way to get better at them. So, roll up your sleeves, and let’s face and conquer your hatred of interviews with these handy tips.
No. 1 Practice interviewing
Why are you feeling nervous ahead of your interview? It’s likely because you really want the job. What if you perform badly? What if you don’t get the job? The stakes are high so you’re feeling nervous. But interviews really are one of those things that you get better at, and more comfortable with, the more you do it.
So, tackling your nerves by arranging interviews for jobs that you don’t feel so strongly about can be a good idea. You get the interview practice without feeling panicked over the outcome.
No. 2 Breathe before and during your interview
Using relaxation techniques can help you to overcome nervousness, beat stress and perform better at your job interview. Controlling the way you breathe can be extremely effective. You’ll feel the benefits quickly, too. Try this: breathe in to a count of four and out to a count three. Do this before and during the interview. Be warned. Breathing too quickly can have the opposite effect, so remember: sl-ow-ly.
No. 3 Prepare before your interview
If you’re unprepared or late for your interview this will only add to your nervousness. So, plan well ahead. Research train and bus timetables and factor in extra travel time in case of delays. Decide what you’re going to wear no later than the night before. Make sure your clothing is clean and ironed and shoes polished. Keep to hand anything you need to take along with you, such as a copy of your CV, certificates, letters of recommendations, or portfolio of work you want to show.
Key takeaway: If you hate interviews, allocate extra time for your preparation. The more confident you are in your interview technique the less daunting the experience will be.
No. 4 Fake interview confidence until you become interview confident
Acting confident can actually help you feel more confident. Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk shows that when people feel powerful and confident they adopt positions that take up more space.
A bit like the winning athlete shoots his or her arms up in the air upon crossing the finishing line. People who lack confidence do the opposite: they make themselves small. In Amy’s research, interview candidates who adopted postures that mimic positions of power actually changed the way they felt inside.
These candidates then came across more positively during their interviews. Of course, you can’t adopt the same posture as Usain Bolt during an interview, but you can do the following: First, before the interview, find a private space (like in the gents or ladies) and adopt your winning position there. Yes, you may feel silly but just do it.
Raise your hands high in the air above your heads and smile. Next, while waiting to be called into the interview room, don’t slouch. Sit upright. And finally, during the interview, smile, hold your head high and uncross your arms.
No. 5 Anticipate and practice common interview questions
Common interview questions include: ‘Tell me about yourself’, ‘Why do you want this job?’, ‘What can you bring to the position?’, and ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’ There are others (which you can easily find by searching online) but this is a good place to begin. Familiarise yourself with them and then try writing out your answers over and over until you retain them in your mind. You can also try recording your answers and listening back to them.
No. 6 Imagine yourself doing great at the interview
People who hate interviews often feel so because they’re not comfortable being the centre of attention with one or more people asking them questions. Several things are going through their minds while they’re trying hard to focus. It can feel like you’re being interrogated or judged. You can help yourself by imagining yourself in the interview room. See yourself smiling, sitting in your power posture, and replying to the interview questions with confidence. Imagine yourself feeling calm. The more vivid the better. Your brain will retain this memory and help you to perform in a similar way during the real interview.