Keeping Your Cool Before An Interview
You’ve created a strong résumé, one that gets results. And it’s gotten you an interview. Congrats! Now that you have your foot in the door, perhaps you’re feeling nervous about interviewing. No need to fear–there are several things you can do to help yourself stay calm before a job interview.
If you are someone who tends to get worked up at the thought of sitting across the desk from a potential employer, keep your cool by starting to prepare early. Ever hear the old saying “practice makes perfect?” This definitely applies to interviewing.To start your practice, do a quick internet search and find as many frequently asked interview questions as you can. Print or write some questions down and practice answering them. You can practice in the mirror, with a friend or family member, or even write out answers to the questions.
Practicing beforehand can help work out answers, many which will be easier to recall when you’re in the actual interview. As well, this helps you work out how you want to phrase your answers, so that you know that you’re saying exactly what you mean to say.Even if the questions you are asked in your interview aren’t exactly the same as those you practiced, chances are there will be overlap between them. You will have gathered your thoughts in advance, and you can feel less anxious about the quality and strength of your answers. After you do this, resist the urge to tinker and to obsess over the answers. Put them aside and let them rest, skimming them again right before your interview.
Research and Prepare
Furthermore, researching the company you are interviewing with, and formulating a few questions about that company, can help relieve stress. This not only gives you a productive task to focus on, but will familiarize you with the company and its values. Remember, interviewing is a sorting process, and both you and your potential employer are looking for a good fit.Be careful not to craft too many questions that are only focused on you, such as “when will I be eligible for a raise?” Instead, use your research to probe about specific aspects of the company, such as the corporate culture, corporate philanthropies, new products or services, and the like. Your thoughtful questions should encourage dialogue and conversation, and will both put you at ease and help you learn about the company in a more meaningful way.
So that you can reduce stress the morning of your interview, be sure to lay out your clothes the night before, and take extra care that they are clean and pressed. A seasoned executive once revealed his favorite interview tip: he always shined his shoes the night before any interview, from his first entry level position to every executive appointment. “It’s the kind of detail that shows I really wanted the position,” he explained. “And, it kept my hands and mind busy the night before.” Making thoughtful and deliberate preparations reduces stress and can make you feel more confident.
Print a copy of your resume to bring with you, which you can glance over before you walk in. It is always a good practice to have an extra résumé on hand when you interview, just in case you are asked for a copy. Even if you don’t use it, you’ll feel supported by having a copy.
After getting a good night’s rest, have a healthy breakfast in the morning. Try listening to music that gives you confidence or pep, or that relaxes you. And don’t forget to breathe! A few deep inhales, especially before you enter your interview, can help slow your heart rate, and make you feel less nervous.
Once you are in the interview, take your time answering questions, and just be yourself. Remember, the interview, at its essence, is a conversation. Don’t rush, and resist the urge to fill every silence.
Interviewing can be a nerve-wracking process, but remember that no single interview will make or break your career. Many professionals interview with several companies before finding the right fit, so take pressure off by coming to each interview with the mindset that it is a chance to hone your skills. If it happens to be the right fit, all the better.