Interviewing Tips

It is not just you. Everyone hates interviews and everyone gets nervous. It’s not just you, it is all of us. So, the question is not “how do we get past the nervousness,” it is, “how can I put on the best performance despite my nervousness.”

A job interview is indeed a performance and one that can make a huge change in your life. So, make sure that performance is convincing and sincere. No one is comfortable or relaxed in interviews, despite their appearance. They may look calm but on the inside they are shaking and filled with self- doubt. They are performing well for their audience of interviewers.

Interviews are unavoidable and crucial to your success in the job world, so let’s look at some very basic tips that can make a huge difference in your next job interview.

You Can Do it

This is the truth, whether you believe it or not. You will get through the interview and go on with life. I have never heard of
someone dying because of the stress of an interview, so take a breath and be prepared to be uncomfortable for a few minutes.

People often have this unrealistic expectation that they should not be nervous. This is nonsense. It is perfectly natural to be nervous; the trick is to minimize the outward expression of those nerves and appear calm and collected. It does not matter a whiff if you are shy and reserved, you have to do it and you will survive. So acknowledge that simple reality and move on. Give yourself permission to be nervous.

Prior to the Interview

Go online and research interview questions and your answers. Remember, trying to memorize a script that isn’t the real you is a recipe for disaster. Answer questions honestly and directly. When rehearsing an interview throw out the stock answers that the interviewer has heard hundreds of times. For instance, as an answer to a question about your greatest weakness, don’t respond with the stock answer “I am too much of a perfectionist.”  This is old and tired and unauthentic. Tell the truth “Sometimes my workplace is a mess, but I am working on this.”

Prior to leaving your home, make sure you are organized and that all necessary papers are in order in a separate, organized package or envelope. Next double check your appearance. This is critical because when you walk into an interview you only have about 30 seconds to make an impression. Most jobs are lost in the first 1-2 minutes of an interview because a person is bumbling with unorganized papers and looking disheveled and not confident. You can control these things, so take a few minutes and prepare.

Another quick tip is to remember the interviewer is also nervous and working. Their job depends on them hiring the right people so they have a lot on the line. Interviewers are just like you and I and they want to see you succeed. 

During the Interview

One of the key ways to create an impression of confidence (remember we are acting here) is to keep strong, appropriate eye contact. People who are confident with their knowledge maintain eye contact for a few seconds at a time, look away and then return to contact. They don’t avoid a gaze nor do they hold the eye contact for too long.

A second key in the interview is to watch the way you sit. You want to be relaxed but not casual. You want to sit up, but not be stiff.  Try to be comfortable. One trick is to match the posture of the interviewer. If she has her back against the chair, lean back. If she is leaning with elbows on the table, cross your hands on the table. This is done because people are most comfortable around others who are similar to them. So make the interviewer comfortable by approximating their body positioning.

Finally, be yourself, don’t try to be professional. People are hiring you and if you are fortunate to land the job, if you were not real in the interview, you will be discovered as a phony very soon. So relax, trust your instincts and crack a joke if that is who you are. You probably don’t want to work at a place that wouldn’t hire the real you, so let them see who you are.
Take these tips, and practice. Call us at the PDRC and we will happily set up mock interview sessions for you. This is a very valuable service that we provide because it will allow you to get comfortable in an interview situation where it doesn’t count. Make your mistakes with us and put on your best performance in front of the potential employer.