Never say never because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.Michael Jordan
It is natural to feel anxious before a job interview. Someone is about to scrutinize your knowledge, appearance, mannerisms, what you say, and how you say it. If they like you, it could mean a job offer, a sweet salary, and the corner office. And if they don’t like you, you soon might find yourself in a miserable position. I may be exaggerating, but it is exactly the kind of thing you’re thinking when you’re stressing out about a job interview or a sales presentation.
Unfortunately, that pre-interview anxiety can really sabotage your performance on the big day. Having said that, I would like to mention some key factors which you should keep in mind before going for an interview. These factors will not only channelize the positive energy within you but will also motivate you to look towards the future and challenges in a different way.
One has to understand that braveness is not the absence of fear but rather the strength to keep on going forward despite the fear.
Everything you want is on the other side of your fear.
Prepare well because preparation is the key.
A certain amount of anxiety in a stressful situation is healthy but the problem arises when that little bit of nervousness becomes a debilitating case of anxiety. This happens when you are not well prepared for your day. Preparation and being well-read is the key to being calm, confident and in command of your subject. Probably instead of being nervous, you will look forward to the interview in a positive way.
Know your opponent and their strengths. Nothing frustrates a hiring manager more than when they sit down to interview someone for a job and he or she has no knowledge about their company.
It is a waste of time for the hiring manager and the interviewee. No matter how impressive their resumes look, if applicants know nothing about the company it shows that they did not take the time to go above and beyond to try and set themselves apart from other applicants.
Let me tell you a few facts about why it is important to know about the organization that you are interviewing for before your interview:
- It demonstrates your enthusiasm for the career field, and more importantly, the organization
- It allows you to be able to articulate to your interviewer how your skills, knowledge, and values match those of the organization and industry.
- It helps determine if it is an organization at which you would want to devote the next few years of your work life.
- It can help you answer the question, “Why do you want to work for us?”
- It provides you with the foundation for asking thoughtful questions during the interview.
Discover and develop your reasoning.
Ask yourself important questions like “WHY” while preparing for the topics. It is important to discover your reasoning skills and work on improving them. You might have the answer to a straightforward question but what if you get cross-questioned? It is better to grasp something with reasonable evidence so that you can have the confidence to support your answers. Most of the interviews that I have attended or taken, I have always looked at a candidate’s reasoning ability and their eagerness to learn and grow. Often you are asked a question — out of the blue — that you will not be able to answer because you have not gone deep into the details. Later on, you might think and guess what! you will discover later on that, you know the answer to the question because you analyzed and thought about it.
Don’t be afraid to say NO for something you don’t know.
Don’t try to be an expert on everything. It is less embarrassing to honestly say, ‘I don’t know,’ than it is to blunder your way through a topic. Understand that interviews are frequently stressful situations and that you may not remember something and while the two are related, see if you can verbalize the correct “I can’t remember right now” instead of the generic “I don’t know”.
Obviously, there are many shades to this – If you are expected to know something and you really don’t know it, it is best to be open about it; After all, you don’t want to be handed some responsibility that you are totally unprepared to handle. On the other hand, there are jobs that will make you stretch and take you to places that you have not been before. It also depends if the question is related to the main competency required for the job or if it is about one of the many attributes related to the role. Since I have been an interviewee and an interviewer as well, my personal recommendation would be to accept your ignorance about the topic gracefully and try to show eagerness to learn about it rather than to beat around the bush, hoping to avoid the embarrassment of saying “I do not know”.
Go with an open mind to learn but ask questions if you are not convinced.
Open-mindedness is very important when you are dealing with an interview. Even if you are the overachiever, know your stuff really well and feel that the interviewer is not talking up to the point then also you should be capable of being a good listener. You can always challenge their viewpoint but with sufficient evidence to support. Also, you need to watch your tone because it might happen that interviewer is trying to puzzle you and see if you are able to catch the mistake and point it out.
Get ready even if it is not face-to-face. It will help in setting the tone for your interview.
Although job-related skills and experience rank high in importance in whether or not you land the position, during the initial hiring process they have less power than most of us think. That’s because the first thing we notice about someone is their appearance, and more specifically, the way they are dressed. When you’re thinking about what to wear, choose an outfit that is customary to your industry. Proper attire for an interview will create a halo effect, meaning your interviewer will see you in a positive light and forgive any minor gaffes you may make. Having said that, I would like to stress on the importance of dressing up and getting ready for a telephonic interview as well because it will set the tone for the interview and you will find yourself more confident and attentive.
Sometimes you just have to give yourself the pep talk like, “hello you badass, amazing human being, don’t be afraid, you’re doing great.. keep going.
Give yourself a pep talk when ready.
We all have moments when we need that extra boost of confidence—and we need it in a hurry. Whether you’re preparing for an upcoming performance review or entering the elevator for an interview with your dream company, it Is normal to feel a little overwhelmed and anxious. And, while you can repeat your own mantras until you’re blue in the face, there’s only so many times you can say “I think I can” and still believe it. Ultimately it is only you who knows the level of preparation you have done, the skill set that you possess and the intensity of anxiousness that you have. Once you are done with all your hard work now comes the most important part – the pep talk. You have the potential, knowledge and the drive to ace the interview so there is no need to pay attention to the discomfort that you may face. Rather give yourself a pep talk and think that you are meant to be experiencing this discomfort so that you become aware, at a profound level; what you are made of and the things that don’t resonate with you. Think of it as a muscle that’s tearing and burning. That’s the only way it can grow back stronger. There is no way you can anticipate everything so trust the process.
Last but not the least: don’t give-in to desperation.
No matter how desperately you want the job, remember that it is just one opportunity. Your entire future is not dependent on landing that particular job. You don’t even know that much about the position yet. Sure, it looks good on paper, but it’s not your only option. No matter what happens, the interview will be a learning experience that will make you a better job candidate and savvier professional in the long run.
Focus on projecting confidence and putting all of that preparation (see above) to use. You cannot control the employer’s decision-making process, but you can control how you present yourself in the interview.
Keep in mind that you are there because they liked your résumé or the impression you made in the screening interview. That’s a compelling reason for you to be upbeat on the day of the interview.
Finally, always remember that you have performed at the best of your capacity.
If you cannot make it then proceed further and learn from your mistakes because there might be a position which will be more relevant to your experience and skill set. Give yourself credit for getting an interview – only a small percentage of people get this far in the process. Give yourself credit for going out there and putting yourself on the line, even though it is painful for you. Give yourself permission to not get job offers. Believe that an offer will come through when it is the right offer – the right fit for the company and for you. Take the control back and reject the feeling of fear.
When you have done everything to prepare for the interview, and you are satisfied that you can present yourself in the best light possible, the next step is for you to let it go. You can learn something from each interview.
Until next time,