No matter how experienced you might be, I guarantee, at the very least, you’ll be slightly nervous when you interview for a new job.
To get past this natural phenomenon, the best advice I can give is this… Don’t want the job so much!
When people really want a certain job, their anxiousness and desires translate (in the interview) to fear & desperation. (and trust me, you don’t want to appear desperate – even if you are!) Try to remember, you are interviewing the organization at the same time! Tell yourself, “If the job is right for me, I’ll get it. Otherwise, a better fit will come along!”
Interviewers expect applicants to be nervous … it’s natural! So try not to focus or concern yourself with it. Good interviewers recognize nervousness … let them put you at ease! This will help develop a rapport between you that continuously offers a calming structure to your meeting.
The next basic advice I can give you is to be prepared. If you take the time & follow these steps, chances are you will be so ready, you’ll ease right into a job offer!
Here are 14 tips to help you through the entire interview process
- Learn about the organization. Perhaps research their web site or search for recent articles about the organization on the web that would involve the work you’d be doing.
- Know where to go, where to park, how to get to where the interview is taking place.
- Anticipate questions and think about answers. Why are you interested in this job? Why should we hire you? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Invariably, you’ll have to field something along those lines. The Internet is full of sites that include common interview questions.
- Have a couple of your own questions at the ready. Remember: you are being evaluated even when you aren’t directly responding to questions. Sometimes, the questions you ask tell an interviewer a lot about you. It’s generally best to ask questions specific to the organization and the position, ones that show you have done your homework and have a sincere interest in the job. Try to avoid questions about dress codes, lunch hours, and the like—you don’t want to come across as being more interested in working conditions than work. And don’t take over the interview with an endless series of questions.
- Be prompt, of course. Allow yourself plenty of time, so you can compose yourself before the interview. Arrive a little early, but if you get to the interview site far ahead of schedule, take a walk around the building, relax in the cafeteria, or otherwise kill some time before showing up for the interview. (If an interview is scheduled for 10 a.m. and you arrive at 9, for example, interviewers have to either adjust their schedule or leave you sitting for an hour, something they don’t like to do.)
- Wait for your interviewer to show you where to sit.
- Have your belongings neatly arranged so they can be set on the floor next to you or on your lap.
- Look at your interviewer when either of you is speaking. If you are being interviewed by a panel, share your eye contact.
- Listen carefully to the interviewer’s questions and think before you answer.
- Try to be positive about your past work experience—emphasize the good aspects of the job and what you were able to learn from it. Speaking poorly of other employers will not make a good impression on your prospective one.
- Be honest in your application and in your interview answers, but put your best foot forward. If they ask you to discuss a weakness, don’t say something like “I have so many, I’m not sure which one to pick.” Don’t rattle off a long list. You should be prepared to discuss at least one weakness, however. Nobody’s perfect, after all, and an inability to identify a weakness will call into question your self-awareness.
- Show that you are confident you can do the job well and enthusiastic about the opportunity.
- At the end of the interview, feel free to ask when you may expect to hear from the employer. If you have not heard from the employer within that allotted timeframe, it is entirely appropriate to contact the employer to reiterate your interest in the position. As with most good ideas, you can overdo this as well—don’t follow up so often you become a pest.
- Consider writing a thank-you note within 48 hours after an interview. While it is not necessary, it is a nice touch, as long as it is well done. (It wouldn’t be a good idea to guess at the spelling of the interviewer’s name, for example.)
Many resources are available to assist with the interview process. If you want to learn more, research the Internet, check out your local library, or visit a bookstore.
It’s kind of like anything in life…when you want it too much, you lose the power and it’s difficult to succeed. Dating, negotiating, jobs, etc
Yes, except this is about control rather than power. Thanks for the comment!
DORIS, THIS IS GREAT ADVICE…I GET SO NERVOUS!!!! TO BE HONEST I’LL BE GLAD WHEN I FIND A JOB BECAUSE INTERVIEWS ARE TOUTURE, DUE TO MY NERVES. @ STEVE YOU ARE RIGHT ON!!!
Thanks for the tips. I met former Secretary of State George Schultz the other day and when I first read the title of this piece it reminded me of something he said: “Don’t want the job too much”. He was talking about principles, ethics and integrity – that is, we have to know what we will not compromise and be willing to walk away from attractive opportunities.
I have also found that having my own questions helps me change the tone of an interview and control my nerves. I usually pose a question that is work related along the lines of ” I was working on a project and X happened. What would your response be if I brought that information to your attention?”
I had one interviewer tell me that it was my job to answer questions, not ask them when I posed such a question. I promptly told them the interview was over, to move on to the next applicant, and that they did not meet my own requirements. I actually got a call from them later asking for another interview, and apologizing for the rudeness in the first interview.
After something like that happens, interviews get a lot less stressful.
I like your moxy, Doug! You did the right thing by deciding that organziation was probably not going to meet your expectations for a good job fit! I find it interesting that the employer decided to call you back too! I hope you gave great thought to whether it was worth your time! Job seekers would learn a good lesson from your experience!
Thanks Doris! I did take the second interview, and was later contacted by them to offer me a job, but I had already accepted another job that I interviewed for around the time of the first interview.
One other thing I recommend for people who are really nervous about interviews, and really need to get one or a dozen, is to practice interviewing with someone who knows how to interview. I actually got better after a few interview cycles, and now I have nearly zero stress when I do need to do an interview.
Another way to get better at interviewing is to take a public speaking class. The nerves an interviewee feels are almost the same as for public speaking, and reducing the stress in one has an equivalent effect for the other activity. Toastmasters is also a good place to practice public speaking if there are no public speaking classes available. I took my public speaking course at a local community college and found it added to my confidence in many ways.
One of those was addressing the Commissioner of Customs Raymond Kelley in a meeting, and another was speaking with Sen. Diane Feinstein when she visited my workplace. Without the training I had in public speaking, I would have been a blubbering idiot. With that training, I was able to gain their respect in both instances.