Today's post comes from Jennifer Hughes, a freelance writer and digital content specialist from right here in Portland, OR. You'll be seeing more of Jennifer around here in 2015. Enjoy!
Congratulations, you son-of-a-gun.
You landed your dream-job interview. I bet you are thrilled to pieces, excited beyond words! Us too, we couldn’t be happier for you!
What’s that you say?
Ohhhhh. You’re nervous. Scared, um, pantsless. You were initially thrilled about the interview, but now that your brain has relayed the message to your conscious, you are starting to freak out a tiny little bit about the interview.
(Okay, more than a tiny little bit.)
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Pump the brakes! Let’s take a deep breath, there you go…Relax, deep breaths, calm down. You have done the hard work. The interview? You got this.
The most important thing to do here is limber up and get ready.
In the words of Scar, BE PREPARRRRRED! (Surely, you have seen The Lion King, no?)
1. Get Ready to Rumble
Prior to your interview, you should get to know the company inside and out. Take some time to look at the the organization's website and social media platforms and familiarize yourself with its mission, its leadership team, and its employees. Head on over to LinkedIn and do some more information-gathering. Ask questions. Get a feel for the position for which you’re being interviewed. Study the organizational culture. Try and get the down-low on how the day-to-day works around the joint, before you get there.
Having this breadth of knowledge not only prepares you for any questions that might arise, feeling like you're "in the know" will help increase your confidence before you even walk through the door.
2. Rally People for Mock Interviews
Doing a mock interview doesn't just give you opportunity to practice responses to potential questions (which alone can do wonders for your interview), it will also allow you to get feedback on how others experience you in conversation. Are you holding eye contact for just the right amount of time? (Too much = creeper. Too little = disengaged)
Do you come across as passionate, engaged and interested through the conversation? And, importantly -- Do you have some weak spots that you want to work on before the meeting?
Need questions to share with your interviewer? Check out the Top 50 Interview Questions or take a look on Glassdoor.com to see if others who have interviewed at the same company have shared actual interview questions.
The night before the interview has arrived, and by now, you’ve done all you can to prepare. Pour yourself a glass of wine (or antioxidant rich cherry juice), pop in your favorite DVD, and let go of any tension that is barging its ugly head into your business. Take your mind off the interview, laugh at a sitcom’s corny jokes, and go to bed early; a good night’s sleep is mandatory.
This step is also important as it will help reduce the chance that you're overprepared for the interview (see #2 here). You want to show up calm, rested and ready - not like an overtired robot who simply spouts out hyper-memorized lines.
4. Take your Time
Sometimes, even when you’ve done all of the above steps, your nerves still linger. That’s okay. Sometimes, being a little nervous is a good thing. It means you care. Accept that you are nervous, and then give yourself reminders throughout the interview to stay calm and confident. During an interview, it’s easy to talk too fast or to too much. Remind yourself to slow down and be succinct. If you don’t know an answer right away, pause. There is no need to fill in the silence with filler-words. If you catch yourself speed-talking, slow down.
You've made it this far. Commit yourself to showing those nerves who's the boss around here, and take this thing the distance.
Need help? We offer mock interviews as part of our Consulting services. A one-hour session will typically be just the right amount of time to strategize and take a run-through. Got a story to share about how you've tackled pre-interview jitters? Share 'em with us below!
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons (Lotus Carroll)