Thursday, December 10, 2015

Overcoming interview jitters

Written by: Tatiyana Cure, Executive Recruiter, CFS New York

Some pre-interview anxiety is healthy and can actually help sharpen your focus, but you need to keep those jitters under control to have a successful interview. I have compiled a list of steps to guide you in this process:
Give yourself credit
Think about the numbers: applicants vs. interviews. You got the interview, and that’s more than the majority of applicants can say. Pat yourself on the back!

Be prepared
Don’t just skim over the job description. Research the company, the department, and the role. If you are working with a recruiter, ask about the short-term goals and expectations of someone in this role. Know how to answer, “What do you bring to the table?” so that it’s tailored to the company.

If you are not working with a recruiter, go through the job description point-by-point and ensure your experience matches with each of the responsibilities and qualifications. Be prepared with specific examples, and monetize them as much as you can. What did you do to save your company money? Did you assist in increasing revenue? Know how you are going to answer those typical behavioral and situational interview questions because you never want to be stumped. You cannot be over-prepared!

Practice makes perfect
It’s not enough to only think about your answers; you need to organize your thoughts. Write them down and practice what you are going to say. It’s best if you can participate in a mock interview with an impartial person who can provide feedback. If that’s not an option, I suggest videotaping yourself practicing your answer. The best sports players review their performance to improve, and you can do the same.

Sleep well
I realize that most people toss and turn the night before and interview, so my suggestion is to plan on getting a good night’s sleep for 2 nights leading up to the interview.

Avoid decision fatigue
What are you going to have for breakfast? What are you going to wear? What do you bring to the interview? Those are the easiest and most unnecessary decisions you can avoid the day of the interview. When I have an important meeting to prepare for, I always have a bowl of cereal that morning. My husband wears a white button-down shirt every time he prepares for a meeting. Knowing these things in advance eliminates having to make those decisions that day. Prepare your bag the night before with one more copy of your resume that you anticipate needing, a pad, a pen, your wallet, metro card, and anything else you may need that way you won’t have to think about it in the morning!

Eliminate travel anxiety
If you are able to take the day off, do it. Avoid the stress about traveling from one office to another, potentially having to change attire, and shifting mindset from work to interview. Relying on public transportation is stressful enough, so don’t cut it close with the timing. Get to where you need to be early! If you are too early, walk around the block and explore the area where you may potentially be working.

Utilize calming techniques
Yoga, meditation, stretching, and even Pilates all teach breathing techniques. These are also helpful in calming nerves. I like to sit for a full 120 seconds before my interview (either outside or in the waiting room) with my eyes closed repeating the mantra: “I create success from within.” I suggest repeating a mantra and focusing on it. If you are unable to do that, you can also listen to music that will either clear your head or pump you up for the interview.

Avoid negative thinking
There’s a reason why people tend to interview better when they’re already employed. They’re not thinking, “If I don’t get this job, I will continue to be unemployed and won’t be able to pay my bills.” Instead of thinking negative thoughts, focus on success. Prior to the interview, picture yourself being hired and working at your target company.

Don’t fear rejection
Typically a hiring manager will interview 3-7 candidates and extend 1 offer. Aside from possessing the right technical skills, there are many aspects that you cannot control like chemistry with the interviewer, internal candidates who are typically viewed more favorably, and candidates from direct competitors. You cannot fear rejection! Use this as a learning experience and perfect your interview skills.

Eliminate post-interview stress
Most people end the interview saying, “Thank you for meeting with me and I look forward to hearing from you soon.” They then wait by the phone for 2 weeks hoping to get some news from the interview. Why not know where you stand before leaving? Ask if there’s anything that would prevent you from moving forward and what the next steps are in the hiring process.

Want more information on interviews? Please comment below! Looking for a job? You can contact one of our recruiters here.

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