Going on an interview is usually not something most people ever get used to. Meeting new people, having to prove yourself, and having to give answers to questions you may not be prepared for can be nerve-racking and stressful.
There are several ways to make it easier and more effective, which might give you an edge when it comes to landing that job. Also, see Dress for Success.
Here are 7 ways you can ease the stress of that next interview.
Prepare ahead of time
Know the company you are interviewing with. Start by researching and try and gather as much information about open the position. Understanding key information about the company and the position will help eliminate surprises or questions that come up.
The more you know, the more you will impress your interviewer. You can do research by going through their website, social media pages and any other information you can bring up with a simple web search.
Practice your communication
Read up on common interview questions that you can gather with a web search. Your interviewer is like doing or has done the same thing! Know in advance how you will answer questions like, “Tell us about yourself and why you’re interested in this position?”, or “Where do you want to see yourself in 3 years?” This is your chance to impress with some positive and confident responses. Also, practice your communication skills. You can do this in front of a mirror, or with a friend or family member.
Positivity not negativity
When engaging in an interview, stay positive. We all have experienced a bad job, or bad boss in our past. There is no reason to bring up these negatives. Focus on the positives of your skills, your experience, and what you learned even though challenging jobs or people you’ve worked with. Never bash a former employer, and don’t make excuses as to why you are not working there. Be honest without getting into gritty details.
Timeliness and punctuality
Be on time for the interview. On-time means early! 5 or 10 minutes is sufficient. Don’t show up 20 minutes early, that looks as bad as showing up late. It shows you don’t respect other's time. If necessary, drive by the place of the interview ahead of time, or make sure you have clear directions and a map location.
Adjust for traffic, give yourself time to go to the restroom before you arrive. While you’re there, wash your hands, check your clothing, and take a moment to breathe and prepare one last time.
Peace and calm
The goal of preparation is to make sure you are ready for the interview. Part of this preparation is calming yourself before you arrive, and remaining calm during the interview. Your body language says a lot about you so don’t appear anxious or nervous.
Make sure your handshake or greeting is appropriate and not overbearing. Maintain eye contact and listen. Wait for the interviewer to complete their question and try not to speak over them. If a question is asked that you don’t understand or didn’t hear correctly, ask them to repeat it. Be at peace, it's not the end of the world!
Rapport with your interviewer
Your interviewer is the first step in getting to the second or third step. You don’t need to be their best friend, but building a connection can go a long way towards that next step. Be friendly and positive, be sure to remember their name and repeat it occasionally during the interview. Ask them to repeat it if they forget and write it down if you tend to forget names (many people do!).
It's all about making that personal connection with your interviewer. People tend to hire people they like and that will fit into the company culture.
Follow-up after the interview
After the interview, follow-up with a note, either by email or a postcard, both are acceptable. Be sure to express your interest in filling any gaps or answer any unanswered questions you may have faced during the interview.
A recent survey reports that 80% of hiring managers said it was helpful or somewhat helpful to receive a thank-you note after an interview.2
Not every job will be a good fit for everyone, but chances will be improved by taking the extra time and making the effort to be prepared before you go on that next interview.