Tips for the Day of the Job Interview! (Interviews: Part III)
When it comes to the day of an interview, what do you feel--nervous or excited?
Physiologically, the responses to either emotion are very similar: your heart rate increases, your breathing speeds up--it could even get shallow, and you may experience a burst of adrenaline and energy that makes you feel like you can’t sit still!
The problem is, we as a society get a bit too worried when we feel this way--these totally natural reactions that we get to “going on stage.” A certain amount of anxiety is actually normal!
In the last post I shared about interviews, I talked about how I wanted to learn to play the piano as an adult.
Our instructor would tell us before our recitals [yep--that’s right, I (adult Ryan) performed at beginners piano recitals, and incase you are wondering--I rocked them!] feeling nervous is totally normal.
She said that feeling nervous or excited--they are incredibly similar feelings, and because we feel them, it means we haven’t lost our “art.” We haven't stopped caring.
She also added this important caveat: if you ever do stop feeling nervous--THAT is when you should be worried! That’s when you know you have stopped caring.
When it comes to job interviews, I’ve seen people put so much pressure on themselves to “perform.” So much pressure on themselves to “get it right” or perfect.
They believe that a lot rides on ONE interview! Even to the point of tears.
That’s right, I’ve experienced what it is like to have someone burst into tears when an interview was finally over--all because of how much stress and pressure they had put on themselves to “do it right!”
Do you believe that the universe is a friendly place? [*][*] Albert Einstein is quoted as having said that “the most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” [*]
With so much awful that goes on in the world around us, it can be really difficult to believe in abundance, but if there is only one thing you remember from today’s post, I want it to be this--stop labeling everything as a “good” or “bad” outcome.
The more you can let go of attachment to a certain outcome, the more capable you will be of embracing that if you do your best (you prepare thoroughly, you present yourself to the best of your ability) you should ALWAYS feel satisfied that the right door will be ready to open, in the right place, at the right time.
Does this mean that doors will never shut (or slam) in your face?!
Not at all, but it does remove the pressure of thinking that you have control over the things you really don’t. It frees you up to enjoy an interview instead of trying to convince another person of anything.
See, I’ve seen the research on these things, and if they really like someone within the first 90 seconds of meeting them, they are highly likely to hire that person. You can’t control that, all you can do is be your best version of yourself.
So here are a few tips that can be the icing on the cake for taking the nerves off of a situation that you actually don’t control, my friends!
1. Dress to impress
What you choose to wear to a job interview actually speaks more loudly about you than anything you can say. If you took the time to iron your shirt (or not) they will notice. If your nail polish is chipped--they’ll see it when you shake hands. If you have thread hanging out of a hem--it will be apparent.
Polish yourself! Shoes included!
I have a friend that coaches people on this professionally (I’ll get her to help with a future article!). She tells me that most individuals could look significantly better for an interview than they do.
She says that many women try and wear clothing that is a certain size, purely because they wish they had the same shape they did in high school. What would actually make them look significantly better is wearing something that is designed for their current shape.
She says many men avoid paying the money to get their suit tailored and fit to their measurements and end up either drowning at the shoulders or showing off their wrists and ankles.
Since me and my friend can’t be there to go over everything with you, here is a link to an article you may find helpful: Wall Street Journal: How to Dress for a Job Interview.
2. Be early and make good use of the time before an interview
It is important to realize that a job interview begins before you ever walk into the interview room.
Many job seekers believe that the only people they need to create an impression with are their interviewers in the next room.
This faulty assumption doesn’t take into account that the people at the front desk’s opinion may hold just as much weight with the boss as the other individuals she’s invited to help interview you.
Employers like to see you arrive for an interview at least ten minutes early.
If the interviews are running ahead of schedule, they will be grateful that you are already there and ready to go. If they are running on schedule or behind, this gives you an opportunity to respectfully interact with the people and surroundings at the company.
This time is not to be taken for granted! If you feel too nervous to interact with the front office secretary or manager, at the very least, make sure your phone is on silent mode and put away, and practice good posture and smiling while you sit and wait.
Personally, I’d use the time to go to the bathroom to hold a Power Pose (a few different postures that Harvard Psychologists discovered make you feel less nervous and more confident before going into an interview).
Doing these small things will create a good first impression with everyone that you interact with that day at the company. Just one more thing that will help set you apart!
3. Treat an interview like a formal conversation
How would you describe the energy of your last interview? Did you feel like you were on stage to perform?
If you found yourself feeling like you were in a pageant (or mild interrogation), this tip is for you.
I’ve found that people who approach job interviews as more of a formal conversation come across the most natural and down to earth.
Frequently, people view interviews as a setting where they are expected to perform. Because of this belief, they will speak in a way opposite to what they would in normal conversation. They will repeat the question they were just asked (similar to what many people do when asked a question on a stage). Additionally, they respond in a way that they believe the person asking the question “expects” them to respond.
While yes, it is important to be on your best behavior, it is better to think of an interview as more of a formal conversation than a Q & A session.
Feeling fluid and at ease is an artform. As you change your belief about what a job interview is, you will find yourself naturally feeling and responding more this way.
4. Use the job interview to determine if the company is a fit for you
Job interviews are a little like blind dates--you have no idea what you are going to get!
Because reading a job description is very two-dimensional, it is important to realize that the interview is your opportunity to find out if they are a fit for you--not just you for them.
Job seekers should feel at liberty to ask the kinds of questions they desire answers to, WHILE in an initial interview.
Though things like negotiation of salary are best done after receiving a job offer, questions about travel expectations, work-life balance, what type of self-direction/autonomy you would have in doing your job, and deeper understanding of what the day-to-day tasks would look like--are more than appropriate in an interview.
Ultimately, asking these kinds of questions upfront in an interview will save you a significant amount of time in your process of finding the right job for you.
Well my friends, I hope that this post (and the two before it) have helped create a paradigm shift for you about interviewing--what is expected of you, and how you can prepare to knock ‘em dead when it comes to the things YOU actually have control over.
Let me know how I can assist. Wishing you a killer interview experience! Remember--you’ve got this!
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