So, you have impressed with your CV and been called to interview. Congratulations!
This next step is often seen the scariest, but you can use your nervous energy to help you perform on the day.
Do your prep
- Prepare answers to common interview questions and expected competency questions. Write them down on separate pieces of paper and pop them in a box or record them and load ‘em into iTunes. Then pick them out and set it to random and practise answering.
- Say it aloud: This is important because you have to get used to hearing yourself express these ideas and answers, otherwise you may surprise yourself or stumble.
- Research background information about the company, the advertised role and your interviewer. You can find most of this online on Google and Linked In. Think of three questions to ask during the interview.
These may seem pretty straightforward but it’s worth thinking about them in advance. Write a list and follow, in case you start getting overwhelmed by the ‘Big Day’.
- Have an early night or a quiet night in, if possible
- Have a travel route and mode of transport planned
- Have an outfit planned
- Have a decent breakfast so you’re energised and not embarrassed by rumbly tummy syndrome
Feel the fear!
The majority of candidates get pretty nervous prior to an interview, there’s a lot riding on it after all. It’s a good thing! It shows that something important is about to happen.
Try and channel nervousness by remembering that your interviewer may be more nervous than you! This is especially true of a panel interview, where inexperienced staff may be pulled in and may be afraid of fluffing their lines or losing face in front of colleagues.
No one will mark you down for being nervous in an interview. It even shows a certain amount of respect. You’re more likely to make a poor impression by appearing complacent or superior.
It’s good to have a couple of techniques to hand if you feel nerves getting in the way of your performance.
In the waiting room, forget about cramming notes about the job description, it’s too late for that and you’ll just stress yourself. Instead, think of a happy memory or someone you love.
The pressure point in the middle of your hand relaxes the mind and eases anxiety, press it gently then release and press more deeply, breathe in to your belly and release tension. This technique is subtle enough to use throughout the interview.
If all else fails ...breathe. So many of us forget to do this when nerves takeover. Breathe out a negative and breathe in a positive.
Focus on body language
Remember, the interview starts the minute you step through the door so be courteous to everyone you meet on the premises. Body language counts more than what you say! So pay attention to the following:
- Smile! This immediately warms the atmosphere and the positive endorphins that smiling releases will calm you too.
- Have eye contact with your interviewer(s). This makes a connection, shows you are confident and engaged with the interviewer and is a crucial part of forming a relationship with them.
- Nod your head from time to time to show your understand or agree with points your interviewer is making.
- Smiling, eye contact and head nodding is the most influential body language, according to research from Goldsmiths University. But don’t slouch and have a firm handshake when the interviewer offers their hand.