Certain jobs rely heavily on live performance. Broadway actors. Stand-up comedians. Ballet dancers. The people who dress like princesses at Disney World. But for most of us, very few workdays involve a significant amount of showmanship. Except for job interviews.
For most of us, the job interview will be the time when we are most exposed. You are on display. You typically don’t get a second take. You have a short period of time to convince a roomful of often bored and distracted people they should agree to work with you every day for the foreseeable future. It’s like if speed dating immediately ended in a potential marriage proposal.
It’s a lot of pressure. No wonder so many people choke. It’s easy to let nerves takeover and blow your chance at a position you would otherwise be perfect for.
There are ways to minimize the risk. Here are four tips for overcoming your fear of job interviews and mastering the most nerve-wracking part of the hiring process:
Accentuate the Positives
Going into an interview, there's a tendency for insecurity to drive you toward negative thoughts. But don't wallow in self-doubt. Take steps to boost your confidence and stay focused on the positives.
Make a list of your main selling points. Repeat them to yourself ahead of the interview. This exercise will put you in a good head space -- it's a natural confidence boost to remember your positive qualities -- and it helps you practice your closing arguments.
When you head into the interview with your best qualities in mind, it’s easier to communicate those to others.
Learn to Relax
You know how it goes: Instead of looking like a calm, competent professional, you resemble a murder suspect under the hot interrogation lights. Your pulse starts racing. Sweat beads at your brow and runs down your face. Your voice quavers and your hands tremble. The very adrenaline meant to help you tackle extraordinary situations is making you tank the interview.
You need to diffuse your biological response to stress. Actively look for ways to relax. Listen to calming music ahead of the interview. Workout before heading off to the meeting to get rid of some of that nervous energy. Learn breathing exercises or simple meditation techniques.
Find something that calms you down, so you don’t show up as a sweating, quivering mess.
We don’t mean a giant lollipop or a collection of wigs. We mean notetaking supplies (paper and pen), a portfolio, copies of your resume and even a few printed pages of notes for yourself.
Not only will this make you seem more prepared, it can give you some help if you end up in a tough spot.
You can pass around your resume or your portfolio to help break the ice. Your notes can include some bullet points you want to hit, in case your mind goes blank. If you are asked a difficult question, you can pretend to write something down to buy you a few moments to think.
Prepare and Practice
We listed some professions earlier where people make their livings based on performances: actors, comedians, dancers, etc. So how do they make sure everything goes well for a performance? That's right: practice. If it works for the pros, it should work for you.
Don't go into an interview cold. Know what you want to say and anticipate what they will ask. Craft a brief summary of your background and the unique qualities you bring to the position. Practice it enough that it becomes second nature.
Similarly, prepare answers to common interview questions, especially the trickier ones. What are some of your weaknesses? Why did you leave your last job? Having answers in mind will prevent nervous stammering in the interview room.
Preparation becomes easier when you have people to help you. By teaming with a recruiter, you get the inside track on top positions, with friendly experts on hand to assist you in crafting your best message. Contact United Personnel today to find out more.